By: Nikki Nies
I’ve talked about blood pressure numerous times on this blog. The negative impact of high blood pressure on one’s overall health, including increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, end stage renal disease and the association with sodium intake.
However it’s come to my attention that the concept of blood pressure is not as common knowledge as I’ve believed it as. As a nutrition student, it’s become ingrained in me “120/80, 120/80”, which is the ideal standard for blood pressure. I was recently taking my blood pressure, which was 99/57 :D, and my friend who’s not a nutrition student asked if that was good?
I was surprised to hear her ask that, since it is below the recommended normal range, but her question put it in perspective the lack of “common” knowledge there is amount blood pressure. So, I apologize for this late post on the overview of blood pressure, but here’s the breakdown.
It’s been found that at least 33% of Americans have high blood pressure and that it’s an ever increasing health problem. It’s been coined as a “silent killer” as people with hypertension (HTN) can go years with hypertension asymptomatic and have a heart attack, that seems out of no where.
Systolic blood pressure is the contraction phase of the cardiac cycle, with it 140 mm Hg or higher. The diastolic blood pressure is the pressure during the relaxation phase of the cardiac cycle. It’ll have to be 90 mm Hg or higher.
Risk factors of HTN:
- Black race
- Male gender
- Persistent diastolic pressure >115 mm Hg
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Evidence of end organ damage
Adverse Prognosis with HTN
- Cardiac—cardiac enlargement, electrocardiographic signs of ischemia or left ventricular strain, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure
- Renal—retinal exudates and hemorrhages, papilledema
- Nervous System—cerebrovascular accident
The best way to have optimal blood pressure is to check one’s blood pressure regularly, exercise, moderate alcohol consumption, increase physical activity, adopt some of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet suggestions and maintain a balanced life.