MEASURING UP TO GOOD HEALTH
When you arrive at one of the Healthy Parks, Healthy People staging areas, a representative of Cape Cod Healthcare will be there to measure your blood pressure before and after your walk. In addition, your height, weight, and Body Mass Index (BMI) will be measured.
High blood pressure can put stress on your major organs and blood vessels. Over time, high blood pressure can cause permanent damage.
When your blood pressure is taken, two numbers will be recorded from the attached gauge. The first sound that is heard is the systolic pressure. This is the pressure when the heart is squeezing and pushing the blood forward. It will be recorded as the top number. The last sound to be heard is the diastolic pressure. This is the pressure when the heart is relaxing. It will be recorded as the bottom number of the reading.
Your blood pressure will be taken before and again after your walk. Each time should take less than a minute. There may be some momentary squeezing pressure as the cuff inflates around your arm. A blood pressure measurement should not be painful.
Blood pressure readings vary depending on a number of factors, including recent exercise. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of Mercury (mmHg). For a healthy adult with no medical problems, these are the ranges your doctor is looking for:
- A blood pressure reading of less than 90 over 60 may be a sign of hypotension.
- A blood pressure less than 120 over 80 is considered normal.
- A blood pressure between 120-139 over 80-89 is classified as prehypertension, meaning that your blood pressure is elevated.
- Having many accurate blood pressure readings that are all 140 over 90 or higher is a sign of hypertension.