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Imagine a garden hose. If there is little water pressure as you are trying to wash your car, the hose is flimsy and kinks easily. However, if there is high water pressure, the hose is firm, the water sprays out in greater amounts, and the hose may even burst. Your body's arteries and veins work in the same way. Blood pressure is basically the force exerted on the walls of your blood vessels. Typically, blood pressure is measure in your larger arteries, and it is measure in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). When you measure your blood pressure, you will get two different numbers, known as systolic and diastolic. The systolic number records your blood presure at its peak in the cycle (remember, your heart pumps in a beat, so blood flow is not consistant every single moment), while diastolic blood pressure measures your blood flow at its lowest moment in the cycle. A healthy adult's blood pressure is usually around 120/80 mm Hg. Blood pressure varies slightly from beat to beat and can vary greatly over the course of the day, so to get an accurate estimate, you should measure your blood pressure at the same point in the day every day. Adults are considered normal if they fall in the 90 to 135 mm Hg range for systolic blood pressure and the 50 to 110 mm HG range for diastolic blood pressure. High blood pressure is a common disease among adults. There are many causes of high blood pressure, but overall, long-term high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and diabetes. Because this is a serious disease, doctors and other health care professionals (or simply people worried about the health of themselves and their families) are taking great steps to prevent high blood pressure. However, it is important to remember that the first step to lowering your high blood pressure is to understand it in the first place. To go back to the garden hose example, high pressure can occur in a number of ways. First, the pump could start pumping water through the hose at a higher rate. This will cause more water to flow through the hose, and put extra strain on the pump, or, in your body's case, the heart. However, imagine trying to pumping honey through the hose instead of water. Even if you pump at a slower rate, you still need to have extra effort exerted from the pump. This occurs in the blood if your blood thickens, which can happen if you have high blood sugar or a higher than normal red blood cell count. Now, imagine you hook up a skinner hose to the same pump--water pressure would be greater in this case as well. The same thing happens if your blood vessels are smaller than normal, which can be the case if you have fatty build-up in your arteries. Finally, the amount of blood flowing through your system effects blood pressure. Unlike with a graden hose, you blood is part of a closed system moset of the time--that is, it doesn't leave the body, at least not in large amounts. When it does, the body quickly produces more to counteract the loss. However, if your body produces too much, this can also lead to high blood presure.

Blood pressure is extremely important to regulating the overall health of our bodies. By understanding this concept, we can grasp how to better take care of our health. Although confusing at first, blood pressure is actually as simple as using a garden hose, so anyone can learn how to measure blood pressure to better take care of their body.

Paul Johnson writes a Free Newsletter that help people gain control over high blod pressure. You can sign up for this free newsletter here: Free Blood Pressure Newsletter. Or you can find more blood pressure resources here: High Blood Pressure here or look at our blog posts here: High Blood Pressure Symptoms Blog

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Understanding high blood pressure  

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