What is Blood Pressure and How to Manage it

According to research, around half of the US adult population has high blood pressure. Of these, only around a quarter know how to keep it under control!

What is Blood Pressure and How to Manage it

Blood pressure is one of those things doctors often ask about, but few of us actually know the answer, or even what it really means or why it matters.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at blood pressure, break down why it matters, and discuss how to keep it in check.

What is Blood Pressure?

First of all, let's get clear on what blood pressure is in the first place. In simple terms, it’s the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. It’s measured in two numbers, like 120/80, representing the pressure of the pump and the pressure of the break before the next one, respectively.

There’s a lot that can affect your blood pressure reading, which you can learn more about here. However, what you really need to know is that your blood pressure can have a significant impact on your health.

Why Blood Pressure Matters

So, now you know that blood pressure can impact your health, you must be wondering how.

High blood pressure can be very damaging to your body, impacting your heart, kidneys, and even your brain. The trouble here is that high blood pressure (also called hypertension) is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it usually presents no symptoms.

Unchecked high blood pressure can lead to strokes, heart failure, kidney disease, aneurysms, and more, so it’s crucial to be aware.

Factors Affecting Blood Pressure

Being aware of the importance of your blood pressure is the first step. The next step is making sure you know what affects it, so that you’ll have a clear grip on how to make sure it’s in a healthy state.

There are a few factors that are completely out of your control. For example, high blood pressure can be hereditary and it might run in your family! Blood pressure can also differ depending on your age, gender, and race.

However, your blood pressure is largely determined by lifestyle factors that you’re in complete control of. People are more at risk of high blood pressure when they smoke, eat too much salt, don’t exercise, and are overweight.

How to Manage Blood Pressure

Based on these contributing factors, it’s relatively easy to assume what measures you can take to manage your blood pressure and maintain a healthy level.

If you’re overweight, the first step you need to take is to come up with a healthy and sustainable plan to drop a few pounds. Practicing portion control and implementing daily movement will help you manage your weight.

Alongside reducing your food intake, you should also try to eat healthily and minimize sodium and alcohol in your diet, as these can be major contributing factors. If you smoke, try to quit any tobacco products you’re using.

Finally, make an effort to prioritize sleep and reduce stress, as these can also impact your blood pressure negatively.

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