Blood pressure is the amount of pressure the blood exerts of the blood vessels. Blood pressure rises and falls with the beating heart. It is highest during the systolic phase, and lowest during diastolic phase. Healthy adult produces systolic pressure of between 90-120 milligrams of mercury, and diastolic pressure of 60-80 mmHg. 120/80 is considered the norm. High blood pressure is major contributing factor to heart disease. Raised cholesterol, obesity and a lack of exercise are also significant risk factors. Heart disease accounts for the most amounts of deaths in Ireland.
There are a number of factors which can increase a persons blood pressure. If the blood is thicker, the heart has to work harder to pump it around the body. A high salt diet will lead to this scenario. Salt promotes water retention, which leads to a higher volume of fluid and blood pressure. Increased stress levels can lead to the release of hormones such as epinephrine and norepinephrine. This leads to a constriction, or narrowing, of key vessels.
If your blood pressure remains above 140/90 for long periods, this is regarded as hypertension, and can lead to severe health conditions.
Hypertension is the most prevalent cardiovascular disease (CVD), affecting 20–50% of the population in developed countries. Its prevalence increases with age, especially after 50 years old when it affects more than 50% of the population. Known as “the silent killer” because most people don`t have symptoms. A continuous cycle of a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle will only worsen your hypertension year on year.
Exercise plays a huge role in maintaining or improving blood pressure, with a combination of aerobic and resistance training most effective. Studies have shown consistently that regularly performed aerobic exercise significantly lowers blood pressure in patients with hypertension Mild to moderate intensity exercise may be more effective in lowering blood pressure than higher intensity exercises. This works well for patients with hypertension as it means they do not have to elevate their heart rates into higher zones.