The Ins and Outs of Blood Pressure
In the winter, blood pressure readings are often reported to be higher than normal. Likewise, they are lower in the summer. Changes in weather patterns can also trigger changes in responses of blood vessels (source). As the transitional period between spring and summer reaches it’s peak in the coming weeks, it’s key to pay attention to one’s blood pressure so as to ensure a fun and healthy summer these next few months!
What is blood pressure?
Blood Pressure is measure of the pressure of the blood in the circulatory system, often measured for diagnosis since it is closely related to the force and rate of the heartbeat and the diameter and elasticity of the arterial walls. Blood pressure is measured with a tool called a sphygmomanometer which is comprised of an arm cuff that is inflated with a handheld pump. As the cuff deflates, a stethoscope is used to hear the blood rushing back to fill the arm - the first number recorded is the systolic blood pressure, or the maximum pressure while the heart is contracting. The second number refers to the diastolic pressure, the maximum pressure of heart at rest and dilation. It’s important to pay attention to blood pressure, as too high or too low a reading could result in damaging conditions to the body. Healthy blood pressure readings are often around 120/80, but can vary from person to person (source). Talk to your doctor about what range is healthy for your body.
What are some risks?
Hypotension: abnormally low blood pressure, is usually only recognized when other symptoms (besides a low reading) are present. These symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Lack of concentration
- Blurred Vision
Hypotension can be treated easily through a increased sodium intake, better hydration, compression, and medication (source).
Hypertension: abnormally high blood pressure. Approximately one-third adults in the united states have high blood pressure, with only half having it under control (source). Unlike hypotension which is easily recognized, hypertension can often be asymptomatic from an outward perspective, but be damaging arteries and even the heart in the process (source). Other medical problems than can arise from high blood pressure are organ damage, heart attacks, and strokes. Hypertension is treated through diet regulation, increased physical activity, stress relieving practices, and medication (source).
How to regulate blood pressure?
Though hypotension and hypertension vary in their treatments, the most highly recommended ways to keep blood pressure within a healthy range are:
- Reduced sodium diets (with increased vegetable intake)
- Lower alcohol consumption
- Reduced stress
- Limited caffeine
- No smoking
It is also encouraged that as one works to regulate their blood pressure through these methods, at home testing can help determine what is and isn’t working for one’s body. Find sphygmomanometers available at Troy Biologicals.