Blood Pressure

Blood pressure (BP) serves as a gauge for the force exerted by the heart in pumping blood throughout the body, measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). This pressure is essential for maintaining the circulation of blood within our body.

Elevated BP poses significant risks, potentially leading to various illnesses like heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Alarmingly, a third of adults in the UK have high BP, often without awareness, as the condition is notoriously symptom-free, earning it the ominous title of the ‘silent killer.’ The key to addressing this issue lies in becoming attuned to your body.

During a BP test, you encounter two numbers – systolic and diastolic:

Systolic: Represents the pressure when the heart beats, pumping blood away.

Diastolic: Signifies the pressure when the heart relaxes, allowing blood to flow towards the heart.

A textbook BP reading stands at 120/80 mmHg. High BP, or hypertension, is indicated by readings of 140/90mmHg and above.

Lowering your BP involves adjusting your lifestyle and, if necessary, incorporating medications. Here are some strategies:

Increase physical activity, especially engaging in cardiovascular and resistance training. This can positively impact body composition by reducing fat mass and increasing lean muscle mass.

Adopt a balanced diet.

Limit red meat intake to two portions weekly, opting for lean proteins like turkey, beans, and pulses.

Boost consumption of fruits and vegetables, particularly leafy greens.

Reduce salt intake.

Moderation in alcohol consumption is advised, aiming for 14 units per week with alcohol-free days incorporated.

By incorporating these lifestyle changes, you can actively contribute to managing and reducing your blood pressure, promoting overall cardiovascular health.

References

Fuchs, F.D. and Whelton, P.K., 2020. High blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Hypertension75(2), pp.285-292.

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