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What's a normal blood pressure reading?

Is your blood pressure too high? Does it fall within the normal range? In this article, find out about normal blood pressure ranges and what to do if your blood pressure is too high.

What is normal blood pressure?

Systolic pressure Blood pressure is considered to be normal if it is 120/80 or less. The top number represents the systolic pressure, which is a measure of the pressure on arteries each time the heart muscle beats. The bottom number is the diastolic pressure. It is a measure of the pressure in between heart beats. A reading of 120/80 is a sign of good blood pressure and a healthy heart. Once the systolic pressure reaches 140 and the diastolic pressure reaches 90, you have high blood pressure or hypertension. Whether you have elevated blood pressure or not, it is always important to take measures to ensure heart health and to see your doctor regularly for blood pressure testing. Many people who have hypertension do not experience any symptoms. This is why this condition is sometimes known as the 'silent killer.' Checking your blood pressure on a regular basis is the first step to maintaining good blood pressure and lowering your blood pressure if levels are too high.

What if you do have high blood pressure?

If you do have elevated blood pressure, it is important to take measures to lower your numbers. With a healthy diet and lifestyle, you can lower your blood pressure naturally. A blood pressure diet is low in salt, saturated fat and processed foods. Healthy foods include fresh fruits and vegetables such as bell peppers, broccoli, apples and bananas. Snacking on nuts and seeds, which are excellent sources of unsaturated fatty acids as well as fibre and nutrients, is a great alternative to packaged crackers and chips. Whole grains, seafood and legumes are excellent protein sources. Aside from eating a healthy blood pressure diet, try to get at least thirty minutes of physical activity, four to five days a week. Regular exercise not only will help if your blood pressure is high, but it will also encourage weight loss. Maintaining a normal weight is essential for cardiovascular health. Avoiding cigarette smoke and minimising alcohol consumption are two important lifestyle factors for a healthy heart. If you have high blood pressure, there are things that you can do to return to a state of health. Checking your blood pressure regularly is important to make sure that you know if you have hypertension or not. Be sure to talk to your doctor about taking steps to reach a good blood pressure range. References: American Heart Association (Heart.org)

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