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Welcome to Sharp HealthCare’s "Healthy Aging" podcast. I’m Registered Nurse Lynn Skoczelas and today’s topic is "Healthy Blood Pressure." Our guest is Sally Nacca, an exercise physiologist affiliated with Sharp.
We used to call normal, average blood pressure 120/80 and that’s still okay. However, many doctors and nurses would now like to see slightly lower blood pressures, somewhere around 100 to 110 for the systolic, or upper number, and 60 to 70 for the diastolic, or lower number — in particular, if one has heart disease or risk factors for heart disease.
We used to regard borderline high blood pressure as 140/90, and 145/95, or above, as high blood pressure. Now those numbers also have come down. For example, 130 on the upper number is considered elevated borderline.
If you are concerned about your blood pressure numbers, be sure to ask your physician if he or she thinks if your blood pressure is at a healthy range for you.
Remember high blood pressure has no symptoms, so many people are walking around with dangerously high blood pressure and don’t know it. This is why this is called "The Silent Killer."
High blood pressure is one of the risk factors for heart disease. It’s important to have one’s blood pressure checked regularly to make certain that it’s not too high. Also, many people are on blood pressure lowering medications and it is important for them to know whether their medication is keeping their blood pressure in check.
Sometimes blood pressure medications need to be adjusted and readjusted to determine the correct dosage and frequency. Remember blood pressure changes throughout the day and it does go up with exercise.
For the average healthy adult, the upper systolic number should go up with exercise and the lower, or diastolic number, should stay about the same or it may even go down slightly in number with exercise. It’s probably a good idea for you to know what both your heart rate and blood pressure are at rest, with exercise, and later after exercise. This way you know what’s normal for you.
Remember, one high resting blood pressure reading does not mean that you have high blood pressure or hypertension. High blood pressure is determined over a period of time. It’s not necessary to take your blood pressure every day. Once or twice a week is adequate.
Other important factors involved in keeping our blood pressure at healthy levels include maintaining a healthy weight and eating a low-sodium or low-salt diet. A low salt diet is considered 2,000 mg of sodium a day or less. With regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a low sodium diet, and if you’re on medication, taking it regularly, you can maintain healthy levels of blood pressure. If you have questions regarding your blood pressure, seek out advice from your physician or you can call 1-800-82-SHARP.
For more information on blood pressure and other aging services at Sharp call 1-800-82-SHARP or visit www.sharp.com/seniors today.