Megan our osteopath here at Back2Balance has followed the theme of love and valentines and has written about how to keep your heart happy and healthy.
Valentine’s day is filled with lots of love and hearts, so what better topic to write a blog about than heart health. One of the best ways to ensure your heart and cardiovascular system (CVS) is healthy is to keep your blood pressure as low as possible.
So when you get your blood pressure taken, what do the numbers mean?
When you get your blood pressure taken, you will be given 2 numbers. For example 120/80.
The first number is the pressure in your CVS (which includes your heart, arteries and veins). When your heart contracts and pumps the blood around the CVS system.
The second number is the pressure in your CVS system when your heart is relaxed and filling with blood. There should, understandably, be less pressure in the CVS system when the heart is relaxed.
Now you know what the 2 numbers mean, you can see why it is so important for us to have low blood pressure. If we have high blood pressure, our hearts are having to pump harder which over time, leads to enlargement and weakening. It also puts more pressure on our arteries and veins. This can then lead to injury to the arterial walls which leads to narrowing and even haemorrhages.
When was the last time you got your blood pressure checked?
It is highly recommended that you get it checked if it has been a while. If you are a recent new client at Back2balance, your practitioner will have taken it during your new client consultation. If you are a long-standing client of ours, you can ask your practitioner to take it and we will happily do it! You could also borrow a blood pressure cuff from a friend, buy one online, or pop down to your local doctor’s surgery in which they should have a machine that anyone can use.
When you take your blood pressure and if it’s high, you should take it again throughout the day to see if it was just a one off or whether it needs some closer attention. When calling the doctor to talk about this they will most likely ask you to take your blood pressure twice a day for a week and write down the readings so that they can see whether they need to do anything about it.
Follow this tip, you will be one step ahead of your doctor when you get to speak to them!
If your blood pressure is high, your doctor may recommend you start taking blood pressure tablets. However, it’s important to remember that taking blood pressure medication without making an effort to change lifestyle habits that contribute to high blood pressure is just like putting a plaster over the problem. As opposed to actually getting to the root cause of your high blood pressure. If you make lifestyle changes, it may also mean that you don’t have to take medication for the rest of your life!
So, what can you do to help lower your blood pressure naturally?
- Increase exercise and activity. Up the amount of steps you do a day and try to do something to raise your heart rate every day. This could be a brisk walk up a hill, a cycle ride, a run or a gym class.
- Make sure you are getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night.
- Decrease your caffeine intake and don’t drink caffeine after 12 noon.
- Reduce stress, this can be easier said than done, so it may be beneficial to think about how better to cope with stress in your life instead. The easiest way to bring your body into a more relaxed state is to do some diaphragmatic breathing, see video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooWVLAlpUl4&t=1s
- Work on your diet. Decrease unhealthy, processed, sugary foods. Try to aim to eat whole foods that consist of plenty of fruit and vegetables, healthy fats and protein.