A simple and quick way to know your blood pressure is to take blood pressure readings and understand the numbers in order to know how to control your blood pressure. In this article, we’ll be discussing how to understand blood pressure readings and what they mean.
What is mm Hg in measuring blood pressure?
The term “mm Hg” is equivalent to “Millimeters(mm) of Mercury(Hg)”. Mercury was used in the first accurate pressure gauges and is still used today in medicine as the standard unit of measurement for pressure.
Blood pressure numbers
- Systolic blood pressure(first number) – Indicates the pressure of the blood against the walls of the arteries when your heart beats.
- Diastolic blood pressure(second number) – Indicates how much pressure your blood is putting on the walls of your arteries when your heart is resting between beats.
For people over 50, systolic blood pressure (the first number) is the main risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to increased incidence of large arteries, long-term plaque buildup, and heart and blood vessel disease. However, either an elevated systolic or elevated diastolic reading can be used to diagnose hypertension.
Blood pressure values below 120/80 mm Hg are considered to be within the normal range. If your results fall into this category, stick to heart-healthy habits like eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly.
Elevated blood pressure means that readings are consistently in the range of 120-129 systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic. People with elevated blood pressure may develop high blood pressure unless steps are taken to manage the condition.
Stage 1 Hypertension
Stage 1 hypertension was defined as blood pressure consistently within the range of 130-139 systolic or 80-89 mmHg diastolic. During this stage of high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe lifestyle changes and may consider adding blood pressure medication based on your risk of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases (ASCVD) such as heart disease or stroke.
Stage 2 Hypertension
Hypertension stage 2 is when blood pressure remains in the 140/90 mm Hg range or higher at all times. During this stage of high blood pressure, doctors may prescribe a combination of blood pressure medication and lifestyle changes.
How to control your blood pressure?
Moderate activity, such as brisk walking or swimming, can lower high blood pressure. Set a goal so you can safely exercise at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) per week. If you have any untreated medical conditions, please consult your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Get enough sleep
Treating sleep apnea and getting a good night’s sleep can help lower blood pressure. Tell your doctor if you are told that you are snoring while sleeping or it sounds like you are not breathing. This can be a sign of a problem called sleep apnea.
Eat a balanced meal
Having a regular amount of vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, dairy, and oils is important. A proper diet plan can help lower and regulate blood pressure.
Drink less alcohol
Drinking alcohol can affect your blood pressure. For those who drink alcohol, no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.