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Get your blood pressure checked

If you are obese or if you’re aged over 35 and Bermudian, make some time to get your blood pressure reading every few months. The Victoria Street Clinic offers a free Blood Pressure Clinic every Wednesday from 2pm to 4pm, and Clarendon Pharmacy offers a free self-service machine during its opening hours.

The healthy condition is to have a blood pressure of 120/80. What does that mean? The top figure (120) is called the systolic pressure and is a measurement of the force the heart places on the walls of your blood vessels as it is working or pumping with each heart beat.

The bottom figure (80) is called the diastolic pressure and represents the lowest pressure the blood places on the walls of your blood vessels when the heart is relaxed between beats.

Both measurements are important. A high systolic pressure indicates strain on the blood vessels when the heart is attempting to pump blood into your bloodstream. If your diastolic pressure is high, it means that your blood vessels have little chance to relax between heartbeats.

You may not experience any symptoms for a very long time if your blood pressure is high, but damage is being done to your blood vessels. This often results in stroke and/or heart attacks.

According to the newly released Hypertension Guidelines for Bermuda you need to address the matter if you have a systolic pressure over 130 or a diastolic pressure over 85.

The above chart can be found on page six of the guidelines.

Body and Soul has partnered with the Department of Health in its hypertension awareness campaign. At least one article every week will focus on some aspect of the condition. If you have a specific query or concern about hypertension please e-mail gazettehealth[AT]yahoo.com or add your comments to the online version of this article.

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Published September 27, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated September 27, 2011 at 9:07 am)

Get your blood pressure checked

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