One of the most important pieces of medical data about your body is your blood pressure. A key component in understanding blood pressure is the ability to read blood pressure charts. Blood pressure is analogous to the water pressure of water going through plumbing in your house or through your garden hose.
Blood pressure is measured by two different numbers – diastolic blood pressure is the pressure (measured in milligrams of mercury) between beats of your heart, and systolic blood pressure is the amount of pressure put on your arteries when your heart is contracted, forcing blood through the system.
Normal blood pressure ranges from 100 over 60 to about 120 over 80, systolic over diastolic. Dystolic blood pressure is a technical term for when your systolic blood pressure is over 100 “points” higher than your diastolic pressure. Typical causes of that include internal bleeding and similar issues, where your diastolic pressure is low.
Blood pressure below 100 over 60 constitutes low blood pressure. People with low blood pressure tend to show many of the classic signs of anemia – they have low energy, and get dizzy from sudden movements – the “head rush” syndrome is a case of low blood pressure. Low blood pressure is quite common among teenagers, especially boys. As they go through a growth spurt, their body needs to adjusts to their body’s increase need for blood pressure to circulate blood to their extremities.
The “perfect” blood pressure appears to be in the range of 115 over 75, and “normal” blood pressure is 120 over 80. High blood pressure is the diagnosis when systolic blood pressure is 140 or higher for sustained periods of time, or diastolic pressure is elevated above 90 for extended periods of time.
High blood pressure is a medical condition that, while not directly damaging to the body in and of itself, is a leading indicator of other problems. It is a common precursor for problems like kidney disease, and eventually leads to arterial breakdowns throughout the body (especially in the heart) and ultimately can cause stroke – where a blood vessel breaks in the brain denying it blood and oxygen.
To treat high blood pressure, you need accurate data about what is and is not normal for your body. Like any periodic medical measurement, it needs to be done as a time series. Get accurate information on your blood pressure charts, read them carefully, and buy a digital blood pressure cuff so you can take your own measurements and know what’s normal for you! Then, armed with good data, start taking proactive measures to manage your blood pressure.
If your blood pressure is low, take some licorice just before doing athletic activities to boost it. If it’s normal, make sure you get a good 6 to 8 hours of rest each night, and try to exercise for 30 minutes every other day to the point of getting an elevated heart rate. If it’s high, take up activities that reduce stress and talk to your doctor about dietary and lifestyle changes. Understanding blood pressure charts and taking the precautions to maintain a healthy blood pressure reading can help you live a longer, healthier life.