Last week I took my little girl for her 3 year check up. As a part of the check up, the medical assistant put a tiny little blood pressure cuff on her arm. And like my curious little girl always does she asks “Why?”
At 3 she asks why about everything. I try to answer her questions the best I can for a 3 year old to understand.
“That cuff tells the doctor a little bit about how your heart is working.” I tell her.
I started thinking, do others know why the cuff is placed on their arms in doctor’s offices and what those numbers spouted off really tells the doctor.
Blood pressure is the measurement of the force of blood against your blood vessels (arteries). By measuring the force at which your blood running through your body, your physician is able to assess the workload on your heart. The reading can also give insight into the well-being of your arteries.
It is your heart’s job to move the blood through your body. From your heart all the way to the smallest toe. This change in the force can be caused by clogging of arteries or a weak heart muscle.
Why are they checking this in my 3 year old and in you?
Because she has a heart and so do you.
A heart beat can be detected via ultrasound around 6 weeks after conception. Constantly working from that moment until your last. It is vital to life!
This is why living a healthy lifestyle is important. Your heart is a muscle, it needs to be strong. Exercise helps keeps your heart strong. Increasing your heart rate, increases blood flow through out your body. Increasing the strength of your heart also increases the efficiency of your heart.
When your heart is more efficient it can work just as well but not as hard.
That is what I am always trying accomplish!
Eating a healthy is also very important to this equation. A diet mostly of vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and healthy fats nourishes your body and prevents clogging of your arteries.
When you eat food, that food is broken down, the nutrients from the broken down food are absorbed into our blood which then is distributed throughout your body. The nutrients are used as energy for your body.
But, when we eat foods high in fat and sugar this effects our arteries. Fats gets stuck along the sides of our arteries. Fats are sticky and get stuck to each other. This causes narrowing or blockage of the arteries. Resulting in higher blood pressure which causes the heart to have to work harder.
Diets high in sugar cause your artery walls to hardened due to inflammation. Again, resulting in your heart needing to work harder because of narrowing and loss of elasticity of the arteries.
Our hearts functioning is important to our day-to-day lives and our future. This is why we need to be concerned with conditioning our hearts to work efficiently young or old. And also why we need to focus on nourishing our bodies so they can function at their best and prevent diseases caused by lifestyle.
By placing that cuff around your arm, we are able to get a small view of the larger picture regarding how well your heart is working with every beat.