How Blood Pressure Readings Work

hey guys it's Jackie we've all had our blood pressure taken

at one point or another but what do those numbers mean and what are the

implications for our health I'm here with dr. Robert Martin who's

going to break it all down for us so dr. Martin let's start real simple

what does blood pressure actually mean what does that term mean the blood

pressure refers to the pressure that's put against the walls the artery in the

body and the arteries of course are the blood vessels that distribute oxygen to

life and when you take someone's blood pressure you can tell a lot about what's

going on inside their body mostly it's about risk factors so people with high

blood pressure are an increased risk for a lot of serious health problems

including heart disease diabetes heart failure kidney disease and stroke we

estimate that there are about 75 million adults in the United States with high

blood pressure according to the Centers for Disease Control the things that we

eat can also affect our blood pressure so if you have high blood pressure you

can maybe make some dietary adjustments absolutely so the two things that come

to mind right away are salt and alcohol so no more than two

alcoholic drinks per day for an adult man and no more than one per day for an

adult woman Americans generally at a very high sodium diet and we know that

salt can increase your blood pressure usually when you get your blood pressure

taken you're given two numbers what do each of those numbers mean sure the top

number is called the systolic and that number refers to the pressure in that

artery when the heart has contracted okay and the bottom number is called the

diastolic which is the pressure in the artery in between heartbeats generally

speaking a normal number is still considered 120 over 80 when people come

in to get their blood pressure taken they can be a little bit nervous both

about the process and then also getting the results what do you tell them it's

really common for patients to be nervous generally speaking when they come to the

doctor particularly they haven't been to the doctor in quite a while

and I think patients also get nervous about being diagnosed with a chronic

condition so I think it's so important to reduce risk factors and control your

high blood pressure so we can prevent other series

problems in the future and if your doctor is not mentioning to you what

your blood pressure number is you should ask that person how five left after

today okay well after all this discussion I think it's important for me

to get my blood pressure checked while I'm here great let's check it out we're

ready to begin what happens to earth okay so the most important thing before

you take the blood pressure is to have avoided caffeinated drinks the previews

of power when you're taking the blood pressure ideally you have your feet on

the floor and your back supportive and chair and you're resting for three to

five minutes before the moon the next thing we do is we grab the blood

pressure cuff here the cuffs always have a marker that goes over your artery and

that's basically goes over the middle of the arm right here in front of the elbow

and the next thing we'll do is just inflate the cuff it's going to get a

little tight that won't hurt okay yeah I feel like getting tighter but it doesn't

hurt it's just some pressure we're going to slowly release the air out of the

cuff so we're listening for that first sound which is the sound of the blood

coming through as the pressure is released okay so did you okay you must

really like your job because your blood pressure is so good 102 over you good to

know and see I was I was worried going into it like everybody is and it really

wasn't that bad at all and if everything's fine yeah it's really not

that scary to have your blood pressure taken and it is so important to know

what the number is so you can protect yourself and protect your future thank

you so much doctor and to learn more about other medical procedures head to

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