Hi, I’m Jen Felice,
Wegmans Corporate Nutritionist and I’m here with my friend
Gary today because I hear you have
a couple of questions for me on blood pressure.
I do Jen, thanks. You know, I’ve been
to see my doctor and he does a bunch
of different tests on me, but one of things he does
is wraps a cuff around my arm and checks
my blood pressure. So, I’m wondering,
what’s he really checking? What’s the blood pressure
all about? That’s a great question.
What he’s measuring is the force that your heart uses
to pump blood through your blood vessels.
So, think of a water hose. If it’s clear and flexible,
the water flows through really easily, right?
But if becomes clogged with gunk,
like your arteries can with cholesterol.
Or if it gets really stiff from being left outside all winter,
like our arteries can with age,
then it gets harder for the water to go through there.
So, if that happens at home, what’s the first thing you do?
I would just turn the faucet open a little bit more, right?
Right, and you increase the pressure
so that the water will go through more easily.
But sometimes you end up with bulges or leaks in the hose.
So, if you think back to your body,
when you have clogged or hardened arteries
it doesn’t only make it harder for your heart
to pump the blood through your body.
But you can actually restrict and even cut off the blood flow
to places like your brain or your heart or other organs.
And that’s never a good idea. So, if I want to make sure I don’t
have a heart attack or something, I just have to keep track
of my blood pressure then, right? Well, your blood pressure
is very important. You absolutely need
to be on top of that. But there’s a couple
of other lifestyle factors that you also want to be aware
of to be on top of your risk for heart disease
and stroke. Things like smoking,
being inactive, being overweight, they can dramatically
increase your risks. So, thankfully these
are lifestyle choices, so you can stack
the deck in your favor, to lower your risk greatly
by eliminating those risks. Okay, so Jen,
I go to my doctor, and he checks my blood pressure,
gives me one set of numbers. Then I come in here
and I check it on this machine and I get an entirely
different set of numbers. What’s going on?
Well, that’s normal for all of us.
Our blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day.
But there are a few things that we can day that temporarily
can make a pretty big impact on our blood pressure.
So, for example, that big cup of coffee
that you’re drinking right there.
It’s not a good idea to check your blood pressure after
you’ve had a lot of caffeine or maybe if you’ve had
a disagreement with someone recently.
So you want to get a resting blood pressure
to get a more accurate picture of what your numbers are.
Okay, well I guess I’m done with that.
I’ve got some more shopping to do.
So, I think I’ll walk around and lose some of that
caffeine in my system before I check my blood pressure again.
I think that’s a great idea.