Blood pressure is a measure of the force that the heart exerts to pump blood in the body. It is also the force the blood cells exert on the walls of arteries during the process of circulation. The pressure reduces gradually, with distance from the left ventricle.
Blood pressure is calculated in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is shown in two figures. Systolic and diastolic pressure, in the first case, it is the pressure at which the heart thrust the blood out. In latter, it is the pressure, when the heart relaxes between two beats. A perfect pressure is between the range of 90/60mmHg to 120/80mmHg, along with standard pulse rate to 60 to 80 per minute. When the pressure is higher than 140/90mmHg, it is supposed to be high blood pressure. Pressure lower than 90/60mmHg is considered to be low blood pressure.
Around 40% to 50% of the world population suffers from blood pressure. Adverse blood pressure can affect various organs, inquiring arteries, heart strokes, kidney infection, blocking blood vessels. It can also distress the reproductive system, leading to miscarriage.
If the blood pressure is within 120/80 range, then it is normal, to maintain it you should stick to a healthy balanced diet and exercise regularly.
If the reading shows 120-129 systolic and less than 80mmHg diastolic, then preventive measures must be taken to reduce the chance of developing high blood pressure.
Hypertension Stage 1
When blood pressure time and again ranges from 130-139 systolic and less than or 80-89 mmHg diastolic, it is hypertension stage 1. One must adopt a healthier lifestyle, to prevent escalating blood pressure, and doctors prescribe medicine.
Hypertension Stage 2
Hypertension stage 2 is when blood pressure time and again ranges from 140/90 mmHg; doctors advise to change lifestyle and prescribe medicine.
If blood pressure exceeds 180/120mmHg, another reading is required after a five-minute interval to authenticate the reading. Immediate medical attention is required, and the patient may be prone to organ failure.
Common symptoms of hypertension are giddiness, chest ache, heart attack, nose bleeding, kidney failure, severe headaches, and difficulty in speaking and seeing.
When the blood pressure is less than 90/60mmHg, it is considered low blood pressure. It does not always exhibit symptoms, but need medical attention. Symptoms related to low blood pressure are; dizziness, feeling sick and weak, lack of concentration, blurred vision, confusion and fainting.
Usually, more attention is given to systolic blood pressure as a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over fifty. The systolic blood pressure increases with age as the walls of the arteries stiffen, plaque buildup, increasing the potentiality of cardiovascular disease. With every increase of 20mmHg systolic or 10mmHg diastolic pressure, the chances of ischemic heart disease double among people with the age group of 40 to 89.
The risk of blood pressure can be significantly reduced by eating healthy foods, going for daily workouts, maintaining optimal weight, moderate drinking and smoking. Reduce salt intake in the diet, add plenty of fruit and vegetables in the meal. Intake of salt increases your blood pressure, the more you take salt, and more goes the blood pressure. Restrict it to less than 6mg per day, which is around one tablespoon. Include wholegrain, rice, pasta and bread which are rich in fiber in daily meal, along with fresh vegetables and fruits.
Moderating your drink reduces the chance of blood pressure, regular drinkers are more prone to high blood pressure.14 pegs a week is the recommended limit of alcohol for men and women, do not drink the advised units in a day or two, spread it over the week. Alcohol contains high calories, which augment body weight, further increasing your blood pressure.
Obesity is another reason for high blood pressure, as the heart needs more force to pump blood through the arteries, which eventually raises blood pressure. Shedding a few extra ounces improves your overall health, and makes a significant difference to your blood pressure.
Lead an active and happy life, go for jogging or light exercise; this lowers your blood pressure by keeping the heart and blood vessels in good condition. 150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week like cycling, swimming, fast walking keeps your heart healthy. Indulge in physical activities like gardening, walking or aerobics.
Reduce caffeine intake; limit your coffee cups to 4 cups a day. If you like the beverage like tea, coffee or others rich in caffeine, limit it within moderate limits. It is perfect to take tea or coffee as a part of the balanced diet, but it should not be the only source of fluid.
Chronic stress may increase the chance of blood pressure, though more evidence is needed to establish the fact. To get rid of occasional stress people indulge in drinking, smoking or eating fast food. Ponder what causes stress, finance, family, work condition or physical illness, and try to solve the problem. When you know the cause, you can work on it to reduce the effect. Focus on your priorities while scheduling the day; accept everything is not under your control, but be aware of how you react to sudden situations. Try to focus on issues which are within your control, and put endeavors to solve it. Try to avoid stress triggers as much as possible. Give yourself some quiet time when you can relax and take a few deep breaths. Take time for your pastimes like gardening, walking or cooking. Express gratitude to your loved ones; this reduces stress significantly. A healthy mind manifests to a vigorous body.
As a person goes old, the risk of blood pressure looms over him. People of African or Caribbean origin are prone to this disease, in taking too many salty foods, lack of exercise, obesity, heavy smoking, regular drinking of a large amount of alcohol, can raise the risk of developing high blood pressure.
Some underlying health problem can cause high blood pressure in 1 out of 20 cases. Kidney disease and infection, diabetes, hormone problems like overactive or underactive thyroid can cause high blood pressure. Scleroderma, a disease which causes thickening of the skin, and sometimes affects other organs and blood vessels, and lupus can increase the chance of blood pressure. Medicines like contraceptive pills, steroids, cough and cold syrup, herbal remedies containing liquorice, drugs like cocaine and amphetamines can increase the potentiality of blood pressure.
Sometimes high blood pressure is asymptomatic, that is why often it is called a silent killer. Monitor your blood pressure regularly, and make sure you lead a healthy lifestyle with balanced nutrient diet. Supportive and loving family and friends, encourage you to take care of yourself.
Q. 1. What is Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure?
A. 1. The blood pressure reading is measured in mmHg (millimeters in mercury); the pressure the blood creates on the wall of the arteries is described as systolic pressure. The blood pressure between heartbeats is coined as Diastolic blood pressure. The blood pressure reading 120/80 denotes; 120 is systolic, and 80 is diastolic pressure.120/80 is regarded as normal pressure.
Q. 2. Why is High Blood Pressure Hazardous?
A. 2. High blood pressure increases the chance of heart attack and disease, kidney disorder and dementia. A person suffering from high blood pressure is more prone to these diseases. As the blood exerts more pressure on the blood vessels, they become weaken or clogged. This makes the blood vessels constricted, or forming clots causing the insufficient supply of blood and oxygen to brain and heart. In rare occasions, the blood vessels rupture. High blood pressure can cause heart failure; this occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood through the body, causing swollen ankle, and breathlessness. High blood pressure can affect kidney, and vision also.
Q. 3. How to Know the Blood Pressure is High?
A. 3. Many factors are to be taken into consideration to determine the optimal blood pressure of a person. Age, family health history, race and even sex, are factors to deem. The risk factors are out of control and taken into consideration when determining the safe blood pressure of an individual. Most healthcare professionals say 120/80 is healthy blood pressure. Record and monitor your blood pressure regularly, and consult a physician regarding it.
Q. 4. How to Control Blood Pressure?
A. 4. Lose extra weight, as obesity is directly proportional to blood pressure. Overweight upset breathing pattern in sleep (sleep apnea), which escalates the blood pressure. Losing an insignificant amount of weight reduces blood pressure. With every one-kilogram weight loss, 1mm Hg blood pressure is reduced. Regular exercise like jogging, swimming for 150 minutes a week, or 30 minutes in most of a week, can lower the blood pressure by 5 to 8mm Hg.A consistent workout is necessary to keep your blood pressure under control; stopping it can increase the blood pressure. Take healthy, nutrient, well-balanced food to maintain healthy blood pressure. Avoid food with saturated fat, and cholesterol, eat food enriched with potassium, as this negates the effect of sodium. Fruits and vegetables are rich in potassium. Consuming alcohol in moderation; a drink or two a day for men, and one drink per day for women, can lower the blood pressure by 4mm HG.