Blood pressure: know your numbers

By October 24, 2008 December 13th, 2011 No Comments

With blood pressure it’s important to “know your numbers”. Life-threatening complications can develop over a course of years when hypertension exists. Increased pressure on the inner walls of blood vessels make the vessels less flexible over time and more vulnerable to the buildup of fatty deposits in a process known as atherosclerosis. High blood pressure or hypertension also forces the heart to work harder to pump  adequate blood throughout the body (see the previous blog). This extra work causes the muscles of the heart to enlarge, and eventually the enlarged heart becomes inefficient in pumping blood. An enlarged heart may lead to heart failure, in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.

In some people, the system that regulates blood pressure goes awry: arteries throughout the body stay constricted, driving up the pressure in the larger blood vessels. Sustained high blood pressure – above 140/90 mm Hg, according to most experts – is called hypertension. About 90 percent of all people with high blood pressure have “essential” or “primary” hypertension – meaning that it has no identifiable cause. It is, however, common that a combination of the usual suspects, stress, anxiety, lack of exercise, nutrition high in saturated fats, high salt intake and excessive alcohol all play a part. In the remaining 10 percent of cases, the elevated blood pressure is due to kidney disease, diabetes, or another disorder. This is known as “secondary” hypertension.

Remember that at Diets Don’t Work our personal trainers are qualified to deal with this high blood pressure, and can prescribe a suitable exercise programme to start tackling the problem. Here are the numbers, so you know whether you are OK or whether you need to eat better (included in our block booking personal training sessions) and get moving!!

Blood Pressure Category Systolic
(mm Hg)
(mm Hg)
Normalless than 120andless than 80
Stage 1140–159or90–99
Stage 2160 or higheror100 or higher



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