Memo blog

Blood pressure - What you need to know

So... what exactly is blood pressure and how does it work?

The many names of high blood pressure

The medical condition known as ‘high blood pressure’ has many other commonly used names, among these are ‘high blood’, ‘high-high’, and ‘hypertension’. But, there are just two types - namely primary hypertension and secondary hypertension. So, what’s the big deal?

In the human body, blood needs to constantly circulate, to supply oxygen and nutrients to our cells and to carry waste away. It’s what keeps us alive. We also know that the circulating blood inside our bodies needs to be under pressure to move it around. But, how much pressure?

A normal blood pressure reading is 120/80, which is considered ‘good’. You’ve probably heard those numbers thrown around before, but, what does it all mean?

To answer that, we have to look at the way the heart works. When it contracts to pump blood out of the heart, that pressure reading (the big number on top) is called ‘systolic’. And, after the heart pumps blood out, blood, under pressure, rushes back in, and this is the ‘diastolic’ reading (the small number at the bottom). As the heart continues to beat, the process is repeated.

What makes your blood pressure tip into the red zone? Hey, just knowing that the in-laws are visiting for the week could do it. So, stress is a contributing factor. But so is eating a ton of salt, junk ‘food’ (that’s an oxymoron right there), if you are a couch potato…and don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables. Can hardly blame the mother-in-law for that one! Making high blood pressure even more complicated is the fact that blood pressure readings can (and do) fluctuate during the course of the day. We want you to try and stay in the green zone, so check out this handy Blood Pressure Chart to see where your blood pressure is at:

It’s important you know what your blood pressure reading is

High blood pressure is a ‘silent killer’ – and for good reason. The symptoms that can warn you about high blood pressure can sometimes be confusing and non-specific (don't worry, we'll talk about that in another post). Consistently high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attacks, kidney failure…and other nasty complications. The good news? You can totally control high blood pressure by following a healthy and active lifestyle, or, by taking the right medication to lower it.

Don’t leave it to chance…

If you are on chronic medication, leading a busy lifestyle can make it easy for you to forget to take your meds. Simply download the Memo Health app, get a daily reminder, and never miss a dose ever again. Get the free app for Android here.

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