Oh, how nice it is to have a few days, or even just a weekend, away from work. You can just feel the stresses melting away, the head clearing and you start to appreciate the simple pleasures in life again.
But when you return to work, the mere sound of the alarm clock reminding you that you are no longer free to do whatever you want when you want, is enough to send your blood pressure back up as the adrenalin kicks in again. Can you feel the pressure? Could the stresses of work – or life in general – be raising your blood pressure to dangerous levels? Do you even know what your blood pressure is? Read on…..
Is pressure productive? Or could it be doing us some serious harm?
A healthy blood pressure has two measurements. The top measurement, or systolic, should be less than 120. This is the pressure in your circulation when your heart pumps. The lower measurement or diastolic pressure, should be less than 80 and represents the pressure in the system as your heart rests between beats.
Problem is, around 1:4 adults have a high blood pressure (known as hypertension) – but may not know about it. And as high blood pressure increases your risk of stroke, heart attack and even premature death, that’s not a good thing to be in the dark about. Especially when we can remedy it.
So, hot-foot it along to your GP’s, health-centre or local chemist to get a pressure check now, because if your blood pressure is 140/90 or over, you may well need treatment. Or invest in a home monitor – as sometimes the mere visit to the doctor can falsely put up your blood-pressure. We call it white-coat hypertension. A home monitor gives you a range of readings at different times and in different situations, which will give a better overall picture. It also helps you see the results of your pressure-lowering efforts, keeping you motivated, so may well be a good investment.
What’s more, a one-off blood pressure reading by your doctor may not show the intermittent episodes of high blood pressure that can be an early warning of you developing full-blown hypertension in the future.
And what is the best way to help a high blood pressure?
Most importantly, keep to a healthy weight.
A good way to do this is to move more, as activity helps your blood pressure independently too. And cut out processed foods which are often high in salt – another enemy of a healthy blood pressure.
Of course, it’s also really important to stop smoking and reduce alcohol as much as possible.
And the stress and strain of work doesn’t help your blood pressure one bit. Meditation is a great way to help reduce the effect that stress has on your body – find out more in one of our previous articles. Or, at the very least, spend the odd 5 minute break in the day closing your eyes, taking a few deep breaths and imagining yourself on the beach, or out on a bracing walk with not a care in the world. It can take the pressure off in more ways than one.