High blood pressure (BP) is a common health problem, but is usually not fully understood. Our blood pressure can have such a large impact on our health, and that is why it is so important to get it checked, and to keep it within a healthy range.
Our circulatory system consists of the heart, arteries and veins of the body. As our heart beats, it acts to pump blood throughout the body, so our tissues receive a supply of oxygen and nutrients. Our arteries carry blood away from the heart to our muscles and organs, and veins carry blood back towards the heart once they have supplied the tissues with blood.
Blood pressure is a measure of the pressure that the blood has within the arteries. An ideal BP is 120/80mmHg. The top number of the reading (120) represents the pressure when the heart contracts and forces blood through the arteries. The bottom number (80) represents the pressure in the arteries as the heart relaxes and refills with blood.
When is blood pressure considered high?
Blood pressure is considered to be high if it is over 140/90mmHg on three consecutive readings. The higher our BP is, the more load there is on our heart and our circulatory system. If high BP goes undiagnosed or is not brought under control, it may lead to heart disease or stroke.
Some lifestyle factors that may predispose someone to having high BP can include:
- Overweight and obesity
- High intake of fatty foods and alcohol
- Family history of high BP or heart disease.
If a case of high BP is detected early and is not yet severe, lifestyle changes may be the main course of treatment. A well balanced diet and regular exercise are important in maintaining a healthy circulatory system. In more severe cases, medication may be prescribed to lower BP.
Having a healthy circulatory system is important in more ways than you might think. When we have an acute injury or strain, in order for our body to heal that injury as quickly as possible, there needs to be a good blood supply to the area. Therefore, the circulatory system is important for healing of musculoskeletal problems.
If you have any questions about how blood pressure relates to your overall health, ask your practitioner next time you are in to see us.
Heart Foundation. What is normal blood pressure. Retrieved 23 July 2019 from https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/know-your-risks/blood-pressure/is-my-blood-pressure-normal