Monday, December 29, 2008

High blood pressure surprises

I could never explain blood pressure in my own words so I recently consulted the American Heart Association website. Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood against the walls of the arteries.

Blood pressure results from two forces. Systolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood. Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.

In America, these blood pressure numbers are written with the systolic number above or before the diastolic number, such as 120/80 mmHG (the mmHG is millimeters of mercury – the units used to measure blood pressure).

Blood pressure below 120 over 80 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) is considered optimal for adults. A systolic pressure of 120 to 139 mmHg or a diastolic pressure of 80 to 89 mmHg is considered "prehypertension" and needs to be watched carefully. A blood pressure reading of 140 over 90 or higher is considered elevated (high).

For the last five years, I’ve kept a simple journal of my blood pressure every time it’s been checked. I don’t regularly check my blood pressure so my journal only has thirteen entries from August 22, 2003 to December 23, 2008.

How am I doing?
Here are my blood pressure readings recorded in my journal:

August 22, 2003 – 116/70

September 15, 2005 – 121/74

October 5, 2005 – 127/73

October 7, 2005 – 118/75

August 23, 2006 – 127/73

November 17, 2006 – 113/69

October 22, 2007 – 118/63

January 10, 2008 – 117/63

August 21, 2008 – 125/70

September 15, 2008 – 111/78

December 1, 2008 – 127/78

December 15, 2008 – 129/75

December 23, 2008 – 116/75

My current bodyweight is 10 to 15 pounds higher than 5 years ago and I now train in the Olympic lifts using heavier weights for low repetitions rather than bodyweight-only exercises for higher repetitions. I’ve also reduced my running and other cardiovascular training. Genetics aside, I would expect higher blood pressure readings now than 5 years ago but that hasn’t been the case.

That's fine with me because I wouldn't like high blood pressure surprises.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

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