Do You Know Your Numbers?
Do you know the key numbers for your health?
What exactly do we mean when we say – do you know your numbers?
We live our lives by numbers: phone numbers, PIN numbers, pass codes etc. But do you know the health numbers that could literally save your life? There are some key numbers you need including one surprisingly easy one that could give you a lifesaving preview of your cardiac risk:
These include: your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar, waist measurements and weight!
Put simply these numbers can be life changing. WHY because you can cut your risk of heart and kidney disease, stroke and diabetes by keeping a check on your numbers like these! Vital warning signs about your future health could be revealed by these numbers!
Healthy numbers mean a healthy heart. If you follow a healthy lifestyle eat a balanced diet, get regular exercise, and avoid smoking you can even turn bad numbers around. Small changes can make a big difference
This blog is all about understanding your blood pressure. Here’s a simple guide:
What is high blood pressure and why is it so important to me?
First off we need to know exactly what our blood pressure is? When your heart beats, it pumps blood round your body to give it the energy and oxygen it needs. As the blood moves, it pushes against the sides of the blood vessels. The strength of this pushing is your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your arteries (and your heart) and this may lead to heart attacks and strokes
Blood pressure consists of two numbers. Your systolic pressure measures the pressure of blood against artery walls when the heart pumps blood out during a heartbeat, while the diastolic pressure measures the same pressure between heartbeats, when the heart fills with blood. Both of these numbers are important.
- Normal blood pressure is below 120/80.
- Pre-hypertension is 120 to 139 (systolic) and/or 80 to 89 (diastolic).
- Hypertension – also known as high blood pressure is 140 or higher (systolic) and 90 or higher (diastolic).
How to lower your blood pressure
An unhealthy lifestyle will raise your blood pressure over time. And the higher your blood pressure becomes, the higher your risk of having a stroke or heart attack in the future.
But the good news is that if you have high blood pressure, healthy changes will help to bring it down. And you don’t have to wait until you have high blood pressure to make healthy lifestyle changes. The more you can reduce your blood pressure, the lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke will be.
1. Eat less salt
Too much salt raises your blood pressure, so it is important to eat as little as possible. In fact, some people with high blood pressure may be able to avoid blood pressure medicines by cutting down on salt. Most of the salt you eat is not what you add to your food, but is in prepared foods like bread, breakfast cereals and ready meals. Don’t add salt to food when cooking or at the table. When shopping for food, check the labels and choose low-salt options.
2. Eat more fruit and vegetables
Eating more fruit and vegetables helps to lower your blood pressure. Adults should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, try for seven. A portion is 80 grams, or roughly the size of your fist. Try to eat a range of different fruits and vegetables. Dried, frozen and tinned are fine, but watch out for added salt, sugar or fats.
3. Keep to a healthy weight
Losing weight, if you need to, will help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of health problems. The best way to lose weight is to choose more natural, non processed, low fat foods, and to increase your physical activity. Set yourself realistic goals. Make small changes to your eating habits that you can keep to for life, for instance eat little and often. And stay hydrated too!
4. Drink less alcohol
If you drink too much alcohol, this will raise your blood pressure over time. The current recommended limits are 14 units of alcohol a week for men and women. A unit is roughly half a pint of beer or cider, a small glass of wine, or a single pub measure of spirits. If you keep to the recommended alcohol limits, this should help keep your blood pressure down.
5. Get more active
Being moderately active for 30 minutes, five times a week can keep your heart healthy, and can lower your blood pressure. If you can’t find 30 minutes in your day, increasing your activity by even a small amount can help. Think about how you can be more active in your daily life. Any activity that leaves you feeling warm and slightly out of breath counts!
No matter what your numbers, the most important thing to know is that they can all be helped by healthy lifestyle choices. “Even small changes in your physical activity, your nutrition, and your smoking habits can have a major impact on your heart health, says Becca.
Find Out More
To find out more about our workplace health checks visit our website to start your wellbeing journey: www.choosetonic.co.uk/corporate-wellbeing/workplace-health-checks/