Focus on: Heart health

Have you ever wondered what blood pressure is, or why it's important to your overall health? Read on for some basic information about blood pressure.

What is blood pressure?

The pressure that is exerted on the walls of blood vessels due to blood pumping through the circulatory system.

Why is blood pressure important to overall health?

Higher blood pressure means there is additional strain on your arteries, which can cause them to become weaker over time. According to Heart and Stroke Canada, "High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart disease".

Low blood pressure can be dangerous too if it is causing symptoms like dizziness, fainting, or blurred vision.

What does the measurement mean?

Blood pressure measurements contain two numbers. The first is systolic, which is the pressure that is exerted on your arteries when your heart is pushing out blood. The second is diastolic, which is when your heart relaxes between beats.

What is a healthy blood pressure?

People in the low risk blood pressure category will have a measurement of 120 / 80.

What are some ways to improve my blood pressure?

  • Talk to your doctor, and test your blood pressure regularly.
  • Reduce the amount of sodiumĀ in your diet.
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine.
  • Don't smoke, and reduce your exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Manage your stress in a healthy way, like meditation or practicing mindfulness.

There is lots of information on how to take control of your blood pressure on Heart and Stroke Canada's webpage!

Soon you'll be able to test your blood pressure regularly at work! The Health, Safety, & Wellness committee will be providing portable blood pressure machines in the Porter 5th floor wellness room, and in the Davis staff room.