Healthbeat 4: Understanding your blood pressure numbers - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Healthbeat 4: Understanding your blood pressure numbers


During a normal doctor visit, one of the first things the nurse does is check your blood pressure.

 A normal blood pressure reading is a systolic number or top number between 90 and 120 and a diastolic or bottom number that's between 60 and 80.    

However, what is defined as high blood pressure?

"Elderly people above 60 years old we use 150 systolic. Anything over 150 is hypertension," said Dr. Alan Zhu, Mercy Medical Center Cardiology, "It depends on your [health]. For young person if you don't have diabetes or other problems we try to use 140 systolic and 90 diastolic." 

Overtime, hypertension can cause plaque to build up on the artery walls which can ultimately lead to an arrhythmia, a heart attack or even a stroke. 

One way to decrease your blood pressure numbers is by reducing your sodium intake. 

"Try to avoid eating too much salt and that will help with blood pressure control," said Dr. Zhu, "Normally that can help with around 5 to 8 millimeter mercury difference."

Other lifestyle modifications include exercises right, eating heart healthy foods and watching your weight. 

Dr. Zhu says if you make lifestyle changes and continue to have high blood pressure it's best to see a doctor for medication.

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