Know Your Blood Pressure and How to Lower it, Right Now!

Blood pressure cuff and stethoscope.

Maintaining healthy blood pressure is one thing you can do to live a long and healthy life. Lifestyle choices, including diet and exercise, are the primary ways to influence blood pressure. Unfortunately, individuals often make poor choices that negatively impact blood pressure, leading to serious health problems and death. Almost half of all Americans have high blood pressure, and many don’t even know it. In the first of a two-part series, learn what blood pressure is, how it’s measured, what is considered normal blood pressure, and why high blood pressure is called “the silent killer.” Plus, we throw in a tip on what you can do right now to lower your blood pressure. 

Blood Pressure explained

Blood pressure is blood pushing against the walls of your arteries.  Your arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of the body.  Blood pressure rises and falls throughout the day and is measured using two numbers.  The first number, sometimes referred to as the “top number,” is the systolic blood pressure.  The systolic number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The second number, sometimes called the “bottom number,” is the diastolic blood pressure.  The diastolic number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.  Combined, blood pressure is expressed as “the systolic number over the diastolic number.”   According to the Centers for Disease Control, normal or healthy blood pressure is 120/80 (120 over 80) or less. 

There are many places to get your blood pressure checked.  Aside from your doctor’s office, many drug and grocery stores offer free readings. You can also get a home measurement device, so there is no excuse not to know your numbers.

The Dangers of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is when your blood pressure is higher than normal.  140/80 is considered high blood pressure.  The higher your levels, the more risk you have for heart disease, heart attack, vision loss, kidney disease, and stroke.

High Blood Pressure by the Numbers
Adults in the US with High Blood Pressure45%
Men in the US with High Blood Pressure47%
Women in the US with High Blood Pressure43%
Non-Hispanic African Americans in the US with High Blood Pressure54%
Non-Hispanic Caucasian Americans in the US with High Blood Pressure46%
Non-Hispanic Asian Americans in the US with High Blood Pressure39%
Hispanic Americans in the US with High Blood Pressure36%
Source: US Centers for Disease Control

Low Blood Pressure Issues

Elderly couple sitting on a bench near a white brick storefront.
Posture Low Pressure can put the elderly at risk of injury.

Low blood pressure can also cause health issues, including dizziness, fainting, blurred vision, fatigue, and depression.  Blood pressure less than 90/60 is considered to be low.  There are two types of low blood pressure, chronic and postural.  According to WebMD, Chronic low blood pressure with no symptoms is rarely serious. On the other hand, postural low blood pressure occurs in people 65 and older. Posture low pressure is a sudden drop in blood pressure when a person rises over a lying down or sitting position.  It creates sudden dizziness and increases the risk of falls and injury.  When rising from a lying position, we recommend starting with a sitting position and holding it 30 seconds before standing up.  

The Silent Killer

High blood pressure is called the “silent killer.” That’s because high blood pressure usually has no warning signs or symptoms. It can damage the body for years before symptoms develop, then a person suffers a fatal stroke or heart attack. Therefore, many people don’t know they have it until it’s too late.

However, there could be symptoms like severe headaches, nosebleed, confusion, chest pain, pounding in the chest, neck, or ear.  A hypertensive emergency can lead to a heart attack or stroke, so if you have any of these symptoms, take action.  It’s vital to know your blood pressure numbers.

How to Lower Your Blood Pressure, RIGHT NOW!

Ditch the salt, keep the pepper.

On the positive side, you can directly impact your blood pressure through dietary and lifestyle choices. One thing you can do today is to stop adding salt to your food. Lose the salt shaker. It’s just that simple.  According to the American Heart Association, if you reduce your sodium intake to less than ¾ teaspoon per day, you could get a 25 percent decrease in your blood pressure.

That might seem easy. An average intake of 1,500 mg of sodium per day is a little more than ½ teaspoon.  But there is so much sodium in many of the foods we eat that it quickly adds up. In my next article, you will learn how to effectively cut salt from your diet through better food and lifestyle choices.  For now, stop adding salt to the food you eat, and you will be on the right path to lower blood pressure.

In our Next Article

Blood pressure is a critical measure of health and wellness. Knowing and managing your blood pressure is important to living a long and healthy life. The best news is that everyone can have normal blood pressure if they make the right lifestyle choices. In our next blog, we will take a more in-depth look at the risk factors and what you can do to lower blood pressure. In the meantime, lose the salt shaker and read past articles on health and wellness from Naturally. . . You.  Check our website for high-quality, full-spectrum CBD products and services to help live a long, healthy life, naturally. 

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