Blood pressure pointers
Have you been feeling stressed lately? Maybe your boss is on your back at
work, or one of your kids is having trouble at school? Or maybe you just had a rough week.
Whatever the reason is, it could be raising your blood pressure.
Stress just happens to be one of the top risk factors for hypertension (high blood pressure).
Other risk factors include: tobacco use, unhealthy eating habits, physical inactivity,
excessive alcohol consumption, and obesity (CDC).
Elevated blood pressure can be extremely dangerous and harmful for your body. Checking
your blood pressure is one of the ways health professionals measure your body’s health.
That’s because lasting elevated blood pressure can lead to potential health problems such
as: stroke, vision loss, heart failure, heart attack, sexual dysfunction, and even kidney
Thankfully, the American Heart Association has developed blood pressure ranges to help
make people aware of which readings they should be concerned about. To understand
these ranges, you must first understand what the numbers mean.
The top number of your blood pressure reading is referred to as systolic blood pressure.
Systolic blood pressure indicates the amount of pressure your blood puts on your artery
walls while the heart is beating. The bottom number is referred to as diastolic blood
pressure and it indicates the amount of pressure your blood is putting on your heart
between heart beats (American Heart Association).
Now that we’ve went over what the numbers mean, we can go over what numbers you
should look for.
Normal blood pressure numbers read less than 120 / 80 mm Hg.
Prehypertension (pre-high blood pressure) numbers range from 120-139 / 80-89
Hypertension Stage 1 ranges from 140-159 / 90-99 mm Hg.
Hypertension Stage 2 reads 160+ / 100+ mm Hg.
Hypertensive Crisis reads 180+ / 110+ mm Hg. (This blood pressure reading
indicates emergency care is needed.)
Of course, if you think you have blood pressure problems you should contact a medical
professional. Only a medical professional can accurately diagnose you with high blood
If you’re concerned about your blood pressure, or would just like to see what range you fall
into, stop by the Grafton-Taylor County Health Department. Our nurses would be more
than happy to take your blood pressure and educate you on ways to maintain a good BP or
even lower your BP. Best of all? The blood pressure screenings are free!
For more information about blood pressure, contact one of our skilled public health nurses
at 304-265- 1288 and don’t forget to check out our new website at www.GTCHDWV.org to
learn about current programs and what we’re working on to help the community.