March 2014 > Know Your Blood Pressure
Know Your Blood Pressure
From time to time, you probably hear people talking about blood pressure. But how many of us know what it really means and why it’s important?
Blood pressure is a measurement of the pressure of your blood against the walls of your arteries. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg, usually said out loud as "120 over 80." The first or top number, called the systolic pressure, is the pressure in your arteries as your heart contracts to pump blood to your body. The second or bottom number, known as diastolic pressure, measures the pressure between heart beats.
Elevated blood pressure makes your heart work harder, which can cause it to enlarge, just like any muscle you regularly exercise. Unfortunately, the bigger your heart becomes, the less able it is to maintain proper blood flow. In time, you can eventually begin to feel weak and tired as your heart begins to fail. High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” because it may not show any symptoms. Many people with high blood pressure do not even know they have it.
If you do have high blood pressure, you are at increased risk for heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease. However, a single high reading does not necessarily mean you have high blood pressure. Physical exertion, stress, and caffeine can all temporarily elevate your blood pressure.
The best way to assess your blood pressure is to track it over time – and the Living Well Health Platform makes that easy to do. To find the tool and start tracking your blood pressure, log into the platform at https://livingwell.provantonline.com and go to the "Health" heading. From there, click on "Health Logs," then select "Blood Pressure."
If you enter your information on a routine basis, the Platform will automatically create a graph and list showing your blood pressure readings over time. You can share this information with your healthcare provider at your next visit and talk about your blood pressure. Your provider can help you learn what steps you can take to improve or maintain this important health number.
If you have any questions about the platform, please contact Provant at (888)703-2296 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New: Living Well Member Forum
How do you keep your blood pressure at a healthy level?
Join an ongoing discussion with other UT SELECT members via the Living Well Platform’s Member Forum: https://livingwell.provantonline.com/dt/nutr/viewforum.asp?forumid=30.
Now Available at Every UT Institution - A Living Well Blood Pressure Station
We are excited to announce that during November each of our UT System institutions received a blood pressure station similar to the ones you have probably seen at your local grocery store or pharmacy. If you haven't found the Living Well blood pressure station at your institution yet, we recommend learning where it is so you can take advantage of the added opportunity to track your blood pressure more regularly.
More information is available at: www.livingwell.utsystem.edu/myhealth.htm#BloodPressureStations.
UT System's "Living Well: Make it a Priority" Worksite Health & Wellness program provides a wealth of resources dedicated to your better health. Find additional helpful information at: www.livingwell.utsystem.edu.