It’s never too early or late to improve your heart health and maintain normal blood pressure.

Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood in the arteries as it is pumped around the body by the heart. It doesn’t stay the same. It changes to meet your body’s needs and is affected by certain factors such as breathing, emotional state, exercise and sleep.

To put it simply, when the heart is transferring blood into the arteries, the blood pressure is high, and when the heart is relaxed, the blood pressure is low. Hypertension (high blood pressure) and hypotension (low blood pressure) can lead to serious health problems, so the home doctor experts at House Call Doctor recommend checking your blood pressure regularly.

Risk factors

Preventing high blood pressure starts with knowing your risk factors and lowering your risk.

Lifestyle risk factors include:

  • Smoking: smoking damages the blood vessels in your heart, brain and other parts of your body.
  • Inactivity: those who aren’t active enough have a higher risk of developing heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.
  • Unhealthy weight: being overweight can lead to many health conditions and increases your chance of heart disease.
  • Alcohol: heavy drinking or binge drinking can increase your chances of developing heart disease.
  • Unhealthy diet: ensure you opt for a “heart-healthy diet” which is low in unhealthy fats, salt and added sugar, and rich in wholegrains, fibre, vitamins, antioxidants and healthy fats.

Symptoms of high and low blood pressure

People with high blood pressure usually have no symptoms, which is why it’s important to regularly have your blood pressure checked. However, some people with very high blood pressure may experience the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Sudden effects of diseases of the arteries such as chest pain or stroke.

On the other hand, low blood pressure is a sign of good health for people who are generally very fit and have a slow pulse. For others though, low blood pressure can be an issue.

How can you lower your blood pressure?

Living a healthy, balanced lifestyle can help lower your blood pressure. Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Reduce sale intake
  • Lose weight (if overweight)
  • Reduce alcohol intake
  • Quit smoking.

How is blood pressure measured?

Blood pressure is measured using an inflatable pressure cuff that is placed around your upper arm. The measurement will be more accurate when you are relaxed and sitting. It is recorded as two numbers, the larger number indicates the pressure in the arteries as the heart pumps out blood during each beat, and the lower number indicates the pressure as the heart relaxed before the next beat.