How to Understand Normal Blood Pressure

November 12, 2012

How to Understand Normal Blood Pressure

Much has been written about blood pressure and how high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, heart attack, stroke and kidney disease. The condition can be so serious that death occurs. Then we hear that if you have low or very low blood pressure then medical help is required immediately because something wrong is happening to your body which can lead to death if it goes untreated.

However very little is written about normal blood pressure, how it makes us feel and how is it measured and how to maintain it. The method of measuring blood pressure is to compare two numbers. The first one is systolic pressure and the second one is diastolic pressure. Systolic is a measure of the pressure on the artery walls when the body is active, for example working or doing exercise, whereas diastolic measures the pressure when the body is resting.

The first thing to note is that normal blood pressure is a range, not just one set of readings. It can vary depending on age, time of day the reading is taken or what foods you have just eaten. One blood pressure measurement taken in isolation should not be considered as a true indication of anyone’s blood pressure. To give a true indication of blood pressure, readings should be taken at different times throughout the day for a number of days. This produces the average blood pressure which is far more representative of a person’s true condition.

The reason for taking numerous readings before confirming blood pressure is because everyone’s blood pressure varies throughout the day and depends on what has been eaten, what activities are being carried out and frame of mind, is the person stressed or calm? All of these factors influence whether the reading will be in the low, normal or high blood pressure range or not. Depending on what has been eaten or what activity has been undertaken affects the blood pressure readings and they can go from high to low in the same person on the same day. This is normal, our blood pressure is designed to vary depending upon circumstances.

Another important factor is that doctor’s have varying views of the normal blood pressure limits. If someone’s reading is considered borderline by one doctor it may be that another doctor feels that there is not a problem. Conversely they may prescribe medication whereas the first doctor believes that doing more exercise and a bit of healthy eating will do the trick.

The circadian rhythm also has an input on blood pressure. At certain times you are more likely to have normal blood pressure. This is because the circadian rhythm causes changes in blood pressure throughout the 24 hour period. Normally the highest blood pressure is recorded around noon while the lowest can be expected at about 4 am. This means that two different readings would be normal, for example 150/95 at one point and then 130/85. So one reading indicates high and the other shows normal blood pressure.

Many people go to the doctor or clinic and get a high blood pressure reading, and yet they have normal blood pressure most of the time. It’s because they are anxious and tense in this environment. Everything is a bit formal and there is an uncertainty as to what will be discovered and so the blood pressure rises. If these patients were to test their blood after leaving the doctor’s surgery they would probably find that they have normal blood pressure.

Most people are the experts concerning their own bodies; they understand the stresses and strains of everyday living and understand the body’s responses. Being aware of this ensures that when taking blood pressure the effects of food, sleep, state of mind and stress are all considered.

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