Nurse Deanna Carlson describes how blood pressure plays a role in overall health.
Visit Deanna Carlson, R.N., BSN, on the web at St. Joseph Hospital Women’s Heart Center in Orange, CA
Deanna Carlson: What I try to tell my patients is the top number, which is your systolic number, needs to be 120 or less and that’s the amount of pressure against the wall, the artery wall. So whatever I am hearing - that’s the amount of pressure that I am contracting on to the artery … which is your brachial artery …
The bottom number is the diastolic which needs to be 80 or less and that’s the resting phase, that’s when I don’t hear it any longer. That’s resting. If you do have high blood pressure you need to 1.) see your physician and follow up. He’ll probably say, “Is this a one-time occurrence”, or probably will make you go home, in general, for a week or two, three times a day and then report back with him if it is continuous to be high meaning greater than 140/90 and consistently then he’ll probably give you medication.
But things that you can do without prescription are diet and exercise, losing a little bit of weight would be a great enhancement as well as a low-salt diet and include some form of exercise every single day, 30 minutes or more. Even if it’s just a simple walk, but something like that -- of that nature. It will get the blood pressure down but you can never just go by one blood pressure, never go by just one blood pressure.
Our blood pressure reacts to our emotions that we are having, or anxiety or good things as well as bad things. So you can never go by just one reading. You have to do it several times within a period of time to say, “Oh, I have high blood pressure”.