Blood Pressure: The pressure exerted against the vessel walls as the heart pumps the blood throughout the body.
High Blood Pressure: Blood pressure at rest on two or more separate occasions that are higher than normal.
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's Guidelines (i.e. JNC-VII) for Blood Pressure Levels in Adults:
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Hypertension, Stage 1
Hypertension, Stage 2
Factors Affecting Blood Pressure:
- Heart's strength
- Heart's pumping ability
- Volume of blood
- Blood vessel (artery) condition
- Emotional state - anger, joy, level of stress, etc.
Note: It is important to remember that blood pressure can change with age, activity, and emotional stress. Blood pressure rises and falls many times a day. High blood pressure is diagnosed by having high resting blood pressure on several and/or separate occasions.
Systolic Blood Pressure: (The top number) The pressure exerted against the blood vessels when the heart is contracting or beating.
Diastolic Blood Pressure: (The bottom number) The pressure exerted against the blood vessels when the heart is between beats (i.e. when the heart is "resting").
What Happens If Blood Pressure Stays High All The Time:
- Damage to the heart, brain, kidneys and eyes
- Damage to the blood vessels which may make it easier for plaque to form in the arteries.
- Greater chance of developing coronary artery disease
- Greater chance of having a stroke
- Greater chance of developing disease in leg arteries or arteries to kidney and neck
- Greater chance of having heart failure
- Change diet:
- Less sodium
- Eat less salty snack foods, processed foods, canned soups, canned vegetables and frozen dinners
- Use herbs, spices, sodium-free salt substitutes to flavor food
- Eat foods high in potassium. These foods are typically lower in sodium. (Bananas, dates, salmon, carrots and potatoes)
- Lose weight if overweight
- Regular aerobic exercise:
- Try to get 30 minutes of activity on most days of the week
- Quit Smoking
- Take medications as prescribed
- Decrease stress