What is the Normal Blood Pressure?

Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120/80.

Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls. Each time the heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries, resulting in the highest blood pressure as the heart contracts.

Normal blood pressure is recorded by two measured numbers: The higher number is called the systolic pressure and refers to the pressure inside the artery when the heart contracts and pumps blood through the body.

The lower number is called the diastolic pressure and refers to the pressure inside the artery when the heart is at rest and is filling with blood. Both the systolic and diastolic pressures are recorded as "mm Hg" (millimetres of mercury). This recording represents how high the mercury column is raised by the pressure of the blood.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, directly increases the risk of coronary heart disease (heart attack) and stroke (brain attack). With high blood pressure, the arteries may have an increased resistance against the flow of blood, causing the heart to pump harder to circulate the blood.

When is the Reading Considered HIGH?

Any pressure above 120/80 is potentially problematic.

Hypertension is ranked in stages...

High blood pressure for adults is defined as:

  • 140 mmHg or greater systolic pressure and 90 mmHg or greater diastolic pressure

  • In 2003, a new blood pressure category was added called prehypertension:

  • 120 mmHg – 139 mmHg systolic pressure and 80 mm Hg – 89 mm Hg diastolic pressure

  • According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the new guidelines now define normal blood pressure as 120/80:

  • Less than 120 mmHg systolic pressure and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic pressure

  • What Causes High Blood Pressure?

    Nobody really knows. However, blood pressure is a reflection of how hard your heart is pumping in your blood vessels.

    High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition that seems to be largely hereditary, although excess weight, lack of exercise, high salt intake, alcohol consumption and age can play a role. Do you know that ninety percent (90%) of people who suffer from hypertension fall into that category. The remaining ten percent (10%) are a result of other ailments, typically kidney disease, thyroid or adrenal grand problems or sleep apnea.

    What Can You Do To Lower Your Blood Pressure?:

    If it's just a bit high (your doctor will tell you) you probably nudge it down into the safe range by making a few lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Cut back on alcohol.
  • Exercise more.
  • Lose weight.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Reduce sodium (salt) intake.
  • A Little Prevention Goes a Long Way:

    Even if you have normal blood pressure, you could consider one of the simplest, most-often-overlooked strategies to prevent high blood pressure: DEEP BREATHING EXERCISES.

    Try the following technique, adapted from Chinese medicine:

    1. Take a slow deep breath through the nose, allowing the lower sections of the lungs, then the rest of the lungs, to fill with air.

    2. Exhale slowly for 10 seconds, either silently or with an audible sigh, to remind yourself that the lengthy breath has been completed.

    3. Repeat these inhale/exhale workouts four to five times a day, even if only for a few minutes at a time (at red lights in traffic or even each time the e-mail beeps, for instance).

    *The potential health benefits of deep breathing exercises include lower blood pressure, increased relaxation and heightened immune system defences, according to practitioners of Chinese medicine.

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