Blood pressure refers to the pressure created by the circulating blood against blood vessels, mainly on the arteries, as it flows through our circulatory system after every heartbeat. This is expressed in systole – the contraction of heart muscles as it pumps oxygenated blood into the circulation, and diastole – the relaxation of heart muscles as it fills up again with blood in preparation for the next contraction.
Blood Pressure Readings
A normal BP reading has a systolic pressure of 120 and diastolic pressure of 80, written as 120/80 mmHg. Let us examine the following BP readings: mine at 125/80 mmHg, and a male friend’s: 130/90 mmHg. Over the last two years I follow a ketogenic diet, the occasional glass of wine, and does cardio for an hour every weekend. My friend does not particularly follow a diet plan, does weekend beers with his buddies, and runs once or twice a month but quit smoking five years ago. Normal BP ranges differ according to race, gender, and level of activity. But according to the American Heart Association (2017), a BP taken at rest ranging consistently of 120-129 systolic is already at risk of developing hypertension, while a reading of 130-139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic is a poor range and is considered Stage 1 Hypertension.
In both cases, following a healthy lifestyle is recommended, with regular exercise, stress management and following a healthy diet at the forefront, to maintain BP levels at a good range. Constant monitoring and keeping abreast of factors that affects our BP will help us tailor our activity levels to make sure our heart is at its peak health.
American Heart Association (2017). Understanding Blood Pressure Readings.
Silva, J. C. (2018). What Are Diastole and Systole in Blood Pressure. Medical News Today.
Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321447.php
WebMD (2017). Know Your Blood Pressure Numbers. WebMD Medical Reference.