I’ve never really thought about my blood pressure - I’ve had it checked fairly regularly, but I’ve never previously taken much notice of what the numbers were or anything. Recently though a friend of mine was diagnosed with pretty high blood pressure, which he wasn’t expecting at all, and has had to make a few changes to try to reduce it. So that got me thinking, and since I had to go to the doctor for a routine check-up this week anyway, I thought I’d pay a bit more attention this time.
For those like me who didn’t have any particular idea about this before, blood pressure is technically called ‘vascular pressure’ and is measured via two separate metrics - the maximum (systolic) and minimum (diastolic) pressure in the arteries. Those numbers that they call out in medical dramas (like ‘ninety over fifty and falling!!!') refer to those two pressure measurements, which are expressed in terms of millimetres of Mercury (mmHg). Apparently the normal, healthy measurements for someone my age is 120/80, ie a maximum pressure of 120mmHg when the heart is at the start of it’s major pump, falling to 80mmHg when it’s resting in between.
So I specifically asked my doctor what the measurement was this time, since he tends to just nod sagely rather than telling me the details. As it turns out, my blood pressure is ‘very healthy indeed’ in my doctors own words, clocking in at 100/65. That sounded pretty low but apparently ‘too low’ is under 90/50 - 120/80 is average but allegedly you should aim a little lower than that ideally, so 100/65 is doing rather well.
That was good news, although now I’m left kinda wondering why, since I don’t feel I’ve really done anything consciously to keep it healthy; I certainly don’t do a lot of exercise anymore compared to years gone by. But I guess I do eat pretty healthily most of the time - I’m not a health nut by any stretch of the imagination, but I do like good food so most of our meals are prepared with fresh ingredients and we favour rice / pasta dishes over heavy or fried foods; that by nature means we tend to eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, use olive & peanut oil more than fats, and probably take in a lot less salt than if we ate convenience foods most of the time. I’ll occasionally eat crisps and other junk of course but it’s not that often, probably just once a week. I also don’t drink very much which probably helps - a couple of glasses of wine a week is all I tend to manage these days, barring any social events, and even then my ‘maturing’ metabolism doesn’t seem to be able to handle Guinness like it used to so I mostly stay away from that now. Mostly. 😀
You don’t tend to think about your health very much when you’re in your 20s, but it’s funny how things sneak up on you (like my back injury, and my friends high blood pressure). I guess we could all do to pay a bit more attention to how we treat ourselves sometimes.