Hypertension is detected by checking the blood pressure (mm hg)
There are two parts to a blood pressure measurement.
- The top number is the systolic blood pressure which is the pressure produced in the arteries when the heart pumps blood into the circulation.
- The bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure and is the pressure measured when the heart relaxes.
Normal blood pressure the systolic blood pressure is less than 120 mm hg and the diastolic blood pressure is less than 80 mm hg. Previously hypertension was diagnosed with a reading 140 over 90.
The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association recently changed the guidelines for diagnosing hypertension. This means that more people may have hypertension and not even know it.
Elevated blood pressure: 120-129 over less than 80
- Stage 1 hypertension: 130-139 over 80-89
- Stage 2 hypertension: over 140 and over 90
Hypertension should be diagnosed not only with the readings obtained when you go to see your healthcare professional, but also with blood pressure readings taken outside the office such as at home or using a special machine called an ambulatory monitoring device which takes the blood pressure several times during the day.
There are several types of hypertension. The most common kind is primary hypertension.
Hypertension increases the risk for damage to the critical organs of the body such as the the heart, kidneys, brain and the peripheral circulation.If your blood pressure falls within the elevated blood pressure range or stage 1 hypertension, your healthcare professional will recommend lifestyle modification such as:
Making changes to your food intake
Too often when people hear or read ‘diet’ they think of restrictions in what they can eat. There is abundant scientific research that shows the benefits of certain foods to reverse or control conditions such as hypertension, heart disease or diabetes.
One example is the mediterranean diet.The mediterranean diet consists of whole unprocessed foods rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, oils, spices and extra virgin olive oil. There are modest amounts of poultry, fish, red meat and red wine.
Increase physical movement
Exercise not only helps with weight loss, but also the production of nitric oxide which helps to dilate the blood vessels and hence reduce the blood pressure. Exercise also increases the production of endorphins which improves the mood.
If you are overweight or obese, start a plan to gain healthy body weight.
For more information on the difference between overweight and obesity, click here.
Reduce excess alcohol intake
If you have been informed that you have an elevated blood pressure or hypertension, it may be a time to consider working with a functional health practitioner.