See that? That's a blood pressure reading. The first number is systolic pressure, which is the level of pressure against your artery walls when your heart beats. The second number is diastolic pressure, which is the level of pressure between beats when your heart rests. The 'mmHg' means millimetres of mercury. It's one of those weird medical things where the old machines used mercury even though the new ones don't. The old machine is called a sphygmomanometer, which is a great word. Definitely finding excuses to say that more often.
Tough Guy Book Club's challenge for February 2023 is to get your blood pressure checked.
Look, we've done this before. It's not new or sexy or especially interesting compared to some other challenges, but it is important. And a lot of goons - busy being stubborn or easily distracted modern men - forget to do it. Even though it's really easy. You can do it with your GP, at most pharmacies, or you can play around with the machine your mate has at home. And it's such a good way to get a read on your health.
We've had dudes do this challenge, get sent straight to the emergency department and start medication by the end of the day. Seriously. If your numbers come out too high then that's fine, all the usual advice still applies. Change your diet, go for more walks, drink less beer. Not generally something we encourage but if it gives you more years to read books, then hey, bring it on.
That's... about all there is to say, really. Unless you want to learn some more cool shit about blood pressure tests? Okay, strap in.
The word 'systole' comes from the Greek meaning 'contraction, drawing together'. 'Diastole', you won't be surprised to learn, is Greek for 'drawing apart, dilation'. The reason mercury is Hg on the periodic table, by the way? Because in Latin it's 'hydragyrum'... literally 'liquid silver'. The first guy to measure blood pressure inside an artery was called Stephen Hales, an English clergyman, and he did it in the 18th century by sticking tubes in horses. Then an Austrian guy called Samuel Siegfried Karl Ritter von Basch came along and invented the sphygmomanometer (told you). Speaking of animals, did you know giraffes have an insane blood pressure at the heart of 220/180? By the time it gets all the way up the neck to the brain it's pretty normal at 110/70. Giraffes are cool.
And here's the thing - in the time it took us to google up all this shit and throw it in an article, we probably could have got our blood pressure checked. What did I tell you about modern men being easily distracted!
Oh, and by the way. When you post a picture of you getting tested - which we do with every challenge so our goons can cheer each other on - make sure you get that hashtag correct #BPTest. If you don't get the capitals right we can't tick you off for a challenge coin.
Seriously. This is the type of shit that gives us high blood pressure.