Measuring Blood Pressure

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Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood in your arteries; this pressure varies at different times in the heartbeat cycle.

The highest pressure, known as systolic pressure, is the pressure when the beat or contraction of your heart forces blood round your body.The lowest pressure, diastolic pressure, is the pressure between heartbeats when the heart is resting. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).

A blood pressure reading gives two numbers. The first number is the systolic pressure and the second is the diastolic pressure. Your target is to have a blood pressure around130/80mmHg (130 systolic and 80 diastolic). In over 9 out of 10 people there is no definite cause of high blood pressure but the following all play their part:

➢ Not doing enough physical activity.

➢ Being overweight.

➢ Having too much salt in your diet.

➢ Drinking too much alcohol.

➢ Not eating enough fruit and vegetables.

➢ Genes are also a big factor.

Think of regular exercise as an insurance policy against high blood pressure and its associated risks and you won’t go too far wrong.

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