Any time something, or someone, is ‘under pressure’ it’s usually not a desirable situation. That’s not the case when it comes to all the 4.5 to 5.5 liters of blood that’s circulating all over your body, and the ever-beating wonder that is your heart that’s pushing it outwards every second you’re alive. You may not want to be pressured into doing anything, but you certainly do want your blood to be pressured. Healthy blood pressure is important, and it’s definitely one essential body function where you need it be just right – not too much, not too little, and staying that way.
So, the question then becomes what’s a healthy blood pressure range? And if you’re not within that range, what can you do to see it to that you are? The not-so-good news is that high blood pressure is an extremely common health risk in North America, and while low blood pressure doesn’t pose quite the same health risks it’s still problematic. The good news is that there’s proven ways to get you back into a healthy blood pressure range.
Let’s look at all of this, and we’ll provide some guidelines for those of you asking, ‘what should my blood pressure be?’, as it’s not something that the average person will know right off hand. And since we’re going to talk about the importance of balance with your blood pressure, why don’t we keep things a little more engaging by talking about people who need balance in the truest sense of the word in what is an even more life-or-death situation.
Ever heard of the Wallenda family, and are you familiar with tightrope walking? These people have to possess great balance – or else.
We can start by pointing out how exactly blood pressure is measured. It’s the combination of two readings - your systolic blood pressure and your diastolic blood pressure. The systolic number goes on top, and the diastolic number goes on the bottom. What’s the difference between the two?
Systolic blood pressure is a measurement of how much force is exerted on the walls of your arteries with each heartbeat. Diastolic blood pressure indicates how much of that same force is exerted when your heart is at rest between beats.
Healthy blood pressure is when you have a systolic blood pressure number below 120 and a diastolic blood pressure number below 80. This is what most people should be aiming for, and if you stay relatively fit, maintain a healthy body weight, avoid trans fats foods, and don’t smoke then you’re likely either at or around this rate already.
If you come in at 120 to 129 for your systolic rate while your diastolic number is still below 80, then you are at what is called ‘elevated’ blood pressure. This is kind of the last reach of the threshold where you’re still considered to be ‘okay’ and not overly at risk, although you’ll be advised to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
High blood pressure is also known as hypertension, and if you have a systolic number that’s anywhere between 130 and 139 and a diastolic between 80 and 89 then you’ve pretty much entered the danger zone, aka Stage 1 high blood pressure. Now here is probably as good a time as any to mention that the biggest issue with the risks of hypertension is that all too often people have no idea they have it.
For that reason, it’s good to know the symptoms of stage 1 hypertension:
It’s also at this point that – provided you identify symptoms and actually see a physician for a high blood pressure diagnosis – that your physician may recommend you go on a medication like Accupril (Quinapril) or Aldactone (Spironolactone), among other effective blood pressure medications.
People who have a systolic blood pressure of 140 or higher and a diastolic one of 90 and up are now as far from a healthy blood pressure rate as possible. This is stage 2 high blood pressure and it’s here where things get especially serious when it comes to health risks. This is definitely a stage that you don’t want to reach, and if you need convincing of that then how about these stage 2 hypertension health risks and complications:
Naturally, anyone with stage 2 high blood pressure must seek immediate medical attention, and in addition to fast-acting emergency high blood pressure medication use the physician may also instruct you to continue on with Accuretic (Quinapril) or a similar medication for an indeterminate period of time afterwards until blood pressure levels have normalized.
Right then, as much as healthy blood pressure is important, we did say we’d talk about a different kind of important balance. When you’re some 100 plus feet in the air and nothing more than a rope is under your feet and keeping you from plummeting all the way down, you had better have some serious balance going on!
Most people wouldn’t even consider walking a tightrope at all, but for the Flying Wallendas it’s a way of life. Who? Well, if you want to learn more about this high-flying fearless daredevil family you can do that here. We’ll just say it’s pretty amazing that anyone would expose themselves to the risks these folks do. Walking a tightrope is one thing but doing it without any type of safety net (and blindfolded!) below you is something else.
But what is the physics behind someone having the balance to walk a tightrope? The Wallendas and other high-flyer tightrope walkers almost always use a long pole to help their balance. It seems that all of this is related to the scientific principle of moment of inertia, which is a measurement of a rigid object and how much resistance it has to being spun around an axis.
The tightrope walker’s long pole increases their moment of inertia by placing may mass far away from the body’s center line. In more understandable terms, that means that any wobbles the walker has occur more slowly and with that longer oscillation (spinning) time they have more time to react and re-stabilize themselves.
Interesting stuff, but still not something you should try at home. Unless you’d like to try it over a body of water or something suitably forgiving if you do take a tumble. Probably better to stay safe altogether and maintain healthy blood pressure too!