Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by michael. michael Wonders, “What does blood pressure mean?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, michael!

Do you ever get stressed out? Maybe a test at school makes you nervous. Or perhaps an upcoming game causes you anxiety. How about the adults in your life? Do they ever worry about work or money? If so, you may have heard them talk about their blood pressure rising.

What is blood pressure? It’s a measure of how hard your heart has to pump to deliver blood throughout your body. Without blood pressure, your body wouldn’t get the oxygen it needs.

Blood pressure rises each time your heart beats. Then, it falls between beats. There’s always some pressure, though, because your blood needs to keep flowing.

Blood pressure can be affected by many factors. This includes heredity, exercise, and stress. What you choose to put in your body can also affect blood pressure. So can the amount of sleep you get and your body’s temperature. Depending upon your age, there’s a range of normal blood pressures. A person’s blood pressure can be either too high or too low.

High blood pressure is a condition known as hypertension. Children and teens generally don’t have to worry much about high blood pressure. But adults certainly do! Left untreated, high blood pressure can cause many serious medical problems.

When you have hypertension, your heart and arteries have to work harder than usual. This additional stress can damage these vital parts of the circulatory system over time. High blood pressure also increases your risk of strokes, kidney failure, heart attacks, and blindness.

How does a person know if they have hypertension? They might notice headaches, dizziness, nosebleeds, nausea, and vision problems. If you have any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor. Most doctors also check blood pressure as a regular part of any visit or check-up.

Have you ever had your blood pressure checked? If so, you know the process. First, a blood pressure cuff is strapped tightly around your arm. Then, the doctor or nurse squeezes a bulb to fill the cuff with air. Just when you think the cuff can’t get any tighter, the inflation stops. The pressure is released, allowing the cuff to deflate.

A blood pressure measurement consists of two numbers. The first number is called the systolic pressure, which is the pressure at the peak of each heartbeat. The second number is called the diastolic pressure. This is the pressure between beats when the heart is at rest. For adults, high blood pressure is generally considered to be 130 over 80 or higher.

What causes hypertension? It can be caused by certain medical conditions. Sometimes, it’s passed down from parent to child. Most of the time, though, there’s no specific cause. Things that can contribute to high blood pressure include stress, obesity, and lack of exercise. Eating too much salt and taking certain medicines can also contribute. Using alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs also cause blood pressure to rise.

To treat hypertension, a doctor may prescribe a specific medicine. However, there are other things you can do to lower your blood pressure. This includes eating less salt and exercising more. Losing weight also lowers many people’s blood pressure.

Maintaining healthy blood pressure is an important part of taking care of your body. That’s why most doctors and nurses check a patient’s blood pressure during every exam. You can take steps to avoid hypertension today! Get your family together for a healthy meal. You could even go on a walk together outside. These activities can help keep you and your loved ones happy and healthy!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2

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