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Knowing Your Ideal Blood Pressure

One of the most common and frequent medical tests performed is to measure blood pressure readings; but how can you know what the ideal blood pressure reading is for you? 

Each person is different.  Our family history can dictate the type of blood pressure we experience; some families may tend to have higher blood pressure readings, while others traditionally run lower.  Then we need to take into consideration our own individual state of being.  Are you physically fit?  Do you stick to a healthy diet?  Do you smoke?  These are all situations which affect our blood pressure.

Blood pressure is most often measured by using a blood pressure cuff; a piece of material wrapped around your upper arm above the elbow and then inflated with air to constrict around your arm.  The air is then released from the cuff.  A gauge attached to the cuff provides two readings to the medical professional; the first is the pressure inside blood vessels during a heart beat, and the second is the pressure inside blood vessels between heart beats.  Those two numbers are written in the same fashion as a fraction; the number derived from the first reading is placed on top of the line with the second placed underneath. 

There is a number that doctors associate with an ideal blood pressure that would apply to most individuals, and that number is 120/80.  Numbers that go above this standard can be indicators of high blood pressure.  One blood pressure test is taken as a baseline; subsequent blood pressure tests are compared to that baseline to determine what an ideal blood pressure reading would be for that individual. 

Every day, our body goes through a series of changes that affect our blood pressure.  A stressful situation at work can take the ideal blood pressure you had going into work and skyrocket that number exponentially.  This is a normal process that the body is equipped to handle under most circumstances, and illustrates how blood pressure can fluctuate.

Maintaining your ideal blood pressure should be a goal that you set for your well being.  Steps that everyone should take toward this end are:

**Avoid sodium:   no more than 1 teaspoon per day
**Quit smoking
**Maintain a healthy weight:   even 20 lbs overweight could put you at risk
**Limit alcoholic beverages:   over one drink per day could put you at risk
**Exercise:   your heart needs stimulation and it can help shed excess pounds
**Eat healthy:   Plenty of fruits and vegetables, high in fiber, low in fat, cholesterol and sodium

We all know a healthy body doesn’t happen by accident.  Keeping ourselves healthy means being aware of how our bodies work.  Making it a point to know your ideal blood pressure will help you to keep your body healthy and maintain a healthy life.



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