Healthy Blood Pressure: What Is It, and Why Is It Important?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 45% of adults in the United States (108 million people) have high blood pressure (or hypertension). Doctors usually refer to high blood pressure as a “silent killer” because you can have it for years and never know it.
High blood pressure cannot and should not be ignored. Left uncontrolled, it could lead to much more life-threatening conditions down the road.
Blood Pressure Basics
Simply put, blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against your artery walls.
Blood pressure is highest during a heartbeat. This is called systolic pressure.
In between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is diastolic pressure. During this time, your heart is at rest and also fills with blood (and therefore oxygen).
These two numbers make up your blood pressure reading, written as systolic over diastolic (such as 120/70).
It’s perfectly normal for your blood pressure to rise and fall throughout the day, depending on what you’re doing. But consistently high blood pressure puts constant force on your arteries. This can lead to tiny tears in the walls of your arteries.
Over time, these tears can form scar tissue, which becomes the perfect place for fat, cholesterol, and other particles (collectively called plaque) to settle. Plaque buildup narrows the arteries. When this happens, your heart has to work extra hard to push blood through.
Left undetected and untreated, high blood pressure can lead to serious problems like heart disease, heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, and peripheral artery disease, to name a few.
What Is Healthy Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is considered to be in the healthy range when the systolic (top) number is below 120 and the diastolic (bottom) number is below 80. For instance, 115/75 would be considered a healthy blood pressure.
A systolic number between 120-129 is considered slightly elevated, but not much of a concern.
Stage 1 hypertension is defined as a systolic reading between 130-139 and diastolic reading between 80-89. Stage 2 hypertension is a systolic reading that’s 140 or higher, and a diastolic reading of 90 or higher.
If your blood pressure reaches 180/120 or more, you should seek emergency care right away.
Managing Blood Pressure Naturally
By and large, hypertension is a lifestyle disease. There are some risk factors you can’t control, like genetics, age, and race (African Americans have higher risk). But for the most part, blood pressure is highly influenced by diet, exercise, sleep, stress, weight/obesity, and unhealthy habits like excessive drinking and smoking. Making important changes to these lifestyle factors can have a major impact on your blood pressure.
Of course, if your blood pressure is extremely high, medication may be your best course of action. You and your doctor can work together to come up with an appropriate treatment plan.
But if you fall in the mild-to-moderate range, lifestyle changes and certain blood-pressure supportive supplements (like Newport Natural Health's Complete Blood Pressure Support supplement) can make a real difference.
Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home
It’s also a good idea to buy a blood pressure monitor and take your blood pressure at home. Here’s why…
Most people only have their blood pressure taken at the doctor’s office. But these readings can be inaccurate. Up to 20% of the population experiences “white coat hypertension,”—a temporary elevation of blood pressure due to nerves and anxiety. This obviously poses a problem for doctors. They take high blood pressure seriously and don’t want to misdiagnose you if you don’t really have it.
Taking your blood pressure at home and keeping a log offers a much clearer picture of your blood pressure fluctuations over time. This is much more useful to your doctor than your blood pressure taken at one very specific moment in time, when you’re a little nervous or uncomfortable. It also helps your doctor make better-informed decisions about treatments, if they end up being necessary.
Here are some tips to ensure the most accurate readings at home.
- Take your blood pressure twice a day, in the morning and at night. At each reading, take two to three measurements (spaced about one minute apart) to make sure they are similar. You may want to take pressure on both arms. Some research shows that a consistent 10-point difference between arms can indicate increased risk of heart issues.
- Half an hour before measuring, avoid caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and exercise, and empty your bladder. (Better yet, quit all tobacco products if you currently use them!)
- Make sure you’re calm and relaxed. In other words, don’t take your blood pressure right after a heated exchange with your boss, or argument with your spouse.
- Uncross your legs and ankles before and during the reading.
- Position your arm properly by resting it on the table or chair arm at heart level. Place the cuff on your bare skin, not on clothing.
- If your monitor doesn’t record your readings automatically, be sure to log them, making note of the arm used.
There are countless blood pressure monitors available online and in pharmacies/big box stores. With so many choices, it can be overwhelming to pick the right one for you.
Generation Guard is a good one to consider. Not only does this easy-to-use upper arm blood pressure monitor provide highly accurate readings, it also reads your heart rate and alerts you if you have an irregular heartbeat. It also conveniently stores up to 90 blood pressure readings.
Buying a high-quality at-home blood pressure monitor is an easy and inexpensive investment in your health. Even better, Generation Guard is on sale right now, making it even more affordable! And as always, you enjoy a 100% money-back guarantee against manufacturing defects.
Take control of your health today, by taking control of your blood pressure!