A blood pressure reading of 120/80mmHg is read as “120 over 80 millimetres of mercury”. The top number is your systolic pressure, which is the pressure in your arteries when the heart pumps. The bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure, which is the blood pressure in your arteries when your heart relaxes between contractions.
Normal blood pressure may vary from 90/60mmHg to 120/80mmHg in a young healthy woman. Hypertension is present when a person’s blood pressure is persistently above 140/90mmHg. If you have diabetes or kidney disease, you must strive to maintain your blood pressure at around 120/80mmHg as even marginally higher blood pressure will increase your risk of developing complications.
In most cases, a doctor will use a familiar device called a sphygmomanometer. Some blood pressure testing devices use electronic instruments with digital readouts. In these cases, the blood pressure reading appears on a small screen.
Blood pressure measurements can also be carried out at the convenience of your home. Before you use the equipment, you should first understand the given instructions thoroughly on how to use the device and take readings. You may wish to calibrate your reading with your family doctor. Blood pressure devices are readily available at various healthcare outlets and pharmacies.
You should check your blood pressure at least once a year. Marginally elevated blood pressure may normalise when you lose weight, exercise more and reduce salt intake.
If these measures are not successful, then drug treatment maybe needed. However, once medicine has been started, it is essential to continue with the treatment, complemented by a healthy lifestyle. Treatment of hypertension for most people is life-long.
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