Blood pressure

Blood pressure is the force or strength of blood against your artery walls when the heart contracts.

Blood pressure is the force or strength of blood against your artery walls when the heart contracts. A certain amount of pressure is needed to ensure blood is flowing around the body to give it the energy and oxygen it needs.

However the pressure can increase if the blood meets resistance in the arteries and this additional high pressure causes damage to the artery walls. When pressure is persistently high it results in the development of high blood pressure or hypertension, which may lead to heart attacks or strokes. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a sign that the heart and blood vessels are being overworked.

Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers:

  1. The systolic pressure is the pressure on the arteries when the heart is beating. The systolic reading records blood pressure at its highest as the heart squeezes out the blood from the heart.
  2. The diastolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart relaxes between beats. When the heart relaxes this allows the blood to flow back into the heart and this is the diastolic pressure.

Blood pressure is expressed as the systolic pressure over the diastolic pressure. Generally a healthy blood pressure is considered to be 120/80 mmHg. A consistent blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher is considered high blood pressure.

The following lifestyle modifications can help to lower your blood pressure:

  • Weight loss – a 10% weight reduction can reduce your blood pressure by 10-20mmHg. Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for the development of high blood pressure. If you BMI is 32 you are three times more likely to develop high blood pressure.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Stop smoking
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.
  • Increase your vegetable intake and follow a low glycaemic diet.
  • Increase physical activity levels.
  • Reduce stress levels.
  • Reduce salt intake.
  • Look other for other risk factors (high cholesterol, diabetes)

It is known that being overweight or obese can lead to increased blood pressure so here at Orsmond Clinics we have a number of weight loss diets which would help you lose weight and reduce your blood pressure. A reduction of as little as 10% of excess weight can lower blood pressure. Maintaining a balanced diet is also important for reducing blood pressure so therefore we also offer various low GI diets to help people achieve this.