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Find out how your blood pressure works - it's the first step to know if it's normal or not

by , 17 February 2014

Although there's so much information about high blood pressure available, not knowing anything about blood pressure in the first place could mean you're not aware that you have high blood pressure! Here we'll tell you a little bit about how your blood pressure arises, so you have more information on what to look for if there's a problem with yours…

As your blood pumps around your body from your heart, your vessels have to help it along so it can work against the force of gravity in some areas. 
 
So at any given time, you’re able to read an average pressure that’s in your vessels, and this is shown as the top and bottom number when you have your blood pressure taken.
 
The top and bottom numbers of your blood pressure reading mean different things
 
The top and larger of the two numbers is the systolic pressure. This is the pressure that’s in your vessels when your heart beats. 
 
Imagine taking a straw and sucking it full of water. Mentally put your finger on the open side at the bottom so you completely block it. Then blow into the straw! You should feel the pressure in your cheeks and on your finger… That’s exactly what systolic pressure is.
 
Then there’s your diastolic pressure. This number should always be lower as it’s the pressure that’s in your vessels when your heart isn’t beating. 
 
Use the same imagine of your straw with water in it. Keep the bottom end blocked with your finger, and the top end blocked with your tongue. This time, don’t blow into the straw; just gently squeeze it with your thumb and finger of your free hand… 
 
See, there’s still pressure in your straw, just not the same amount as when you were blowing into it. 
 
Normal blood pressure readings and what the changes mean
 
Your blood pressure should be around 120/80, but there’s no cause for major concern if the numbers go up or down within 10 points of this. 
 
Readings much lower than this means there’s a problem with too little pressure in your vessels and the blood flows too freely. It could also mean there’s a loss of blood, so the straw has leaked some water and the pressure inside it drops. 
 
If the readings are much higher, it’s because there’s too much pressure in your vessels. Think about bending the straw filled with water when you’re blowing into it… A blockage in the straw causes more pressure. This is what happens when you have fatty clots in your vessels…
 
Now that you know a little more about your blood pressure, we hope you’re more conscious about how easy it is to influence! And realise that it’s essential to keep your body healthy so you can keep the pressure in your vessels healthy too. 
 

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