Disclosure: Sponsored post by Omron. All opinions are my own.
Recently, through my partnership with Omron, I was able to ask Dr. Sarah Song, M.D., Neurologist at Rush University Medical Center, a few questions about blood pressure readings.
Lifestyle Changes and Blood Pressure
In addition to basic questions, such as “what do blood pressure numbers mean?” I really wanted to ask for easy lifestyle applications towards controlling my blood pressure. She gave me three great lifestyle tips to keep top of mind in my continued effort to track and manage my blood pressure levels.
If you’re in the hypertensive range (a blood pressure reading of 130/80 mmHg or higher), you should first consult your physician to determine a plan that works best for you. The early stages of hypertension can often be managed with simple lifestyle changes or tweaks such as the ones below:
First, know your numbers. Monitor your blood pressure regularly to track your heart health trends accurately. Do you tend to be on the high side at night, or in the mornings? Are your average readings generally normal, with one or two spikes due to stressful events? Having more accurate data is the best way to help your physician understand the total picture – leading to better treatment plans and better outcomes.
Second, implement lifestyle changes. Eating a healthier diet, increasing physical activity, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake can all make a big difference. These are active ways within your control that you can help to normalize your blood pressure numbers and reduce your risk. According to the National Stroke Association, moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk, for 30 minutes two or more times a week can help prevent a stroke. Not to mention, higher physical activity levels have also been found to lower stress, another risk factor for stroke.
Third, talk with your doctor regularly. Having an ongoing dialogue with your physician about your heart health and blood pressure is really the best way to know if you have a good handle on your condition, or if your treatment plan needs to be tweaked. Share your blood pressure trends with your doctor regularly and let them know if there have been major changes in your life or health that could affect your condition. There are now heart health apps available that help you store, track and share your heart health data with ease, such as the Omron Connect App – it links with all connected Omron blood pressure monitors, so you can store your readings, track them over time and share them electronically with your physicians.
Tracking my readings over time is exactly what I have been doing with the Omron EVOLV. Through the Omron Connect App, I can easily set a reminder to make sure I don’t forget to take my blood pressure and the readings over each week help me better understand my numbers.
Speaking of, going back to that original question: “What do my blood pressure numbers mean?” Dr. Song explained it to me like this.
Blood pressure is expressed as a measurement with two numbers, with one number on top (systolic) and one on the bottom (diastolic). The top number refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscle. This is called systolic pressure. The bottom number refers to your blood pressure when your heart muscle is between beats. This is called diastolic pressure. Both numbers are important in determining the state of your heart health.
Therefore, knowing what the numbers mean, I can better understand my readings and more efficiently manage my blood pressure.
Monitoring my blood pressure at home has become part of my weekly schedule. I have a better understanding of how I can work to keep my blood pressure numbers in the range they should be. Not to mention, because we were training for a 5K, we’ve made lifestyle changes to our exercise schedule as well as our eating plan. By adjusting each of these areas, we are working towards better heart health, as well as overall wellness.