Blood Pressure Test

Definition:

Blood pressure is simply the pressure of the blood within the arteries, and a blood pressure test is like any other diagnostic test that checks whether our blood pressure is high or low. 

What Is Blood Pressure?

The heart pumps blood around our body to give it the needed energy and oxygen. As the blood moves around the body, it exerts pressure on the inner walls of the blood vessels. This pressure is our blood pressure. 

The measurement of blood pressure is recorded by two numbers, systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. The first one is measured after the heart contracts and the second one is measured before the contraction. Systolic pressure is higher than diastolic pressure. If one’s blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on the arteries which may lead to a heart attack or stroke. The blood pressure cuff is used to measure the pressure. The advancement of high blood pressure is called hypertension and degradation of low blood pressure is known as hypotension. 

What Is A Blood Pressure Test? 

A blood pressure test is just a normal test like any other test to check whether our blood pressure is high or low. There are plenty of cases where there are no clear symptoms of blood pressure dysfunction. But, abnormal blood pressure usually results in fatal diseases like stroke, heart attack, etc. People with blood pressures less than 120/80 mm Hg should undergo a blood pressure test every two years. People with systolic blood pressure 120 mm Hg to 139 mm Hg, or diastolic blood pressure 80 mm Hg to 89 mm Hg should test their blood pressure every year without fail.

Blood Pressure Chart

Here are the three different charts for High Blood Pressure, Low Blood Pressure, and Normal Blood Pressure:

High Blood Pressure Range

Systolic Pressure (mm HG)

Diastolic Pressure (mm HG)

Stages of High Blood Pressure

210

120

Stage 4

180

110

Stage 3

160

100

Stage 2

140

90

Stage 1


Low Blood Pressure Range

Systolic Pressure (mm HG)

Diastolic Pressure (mm HG)

Pressure Range

90

60

Borderline Low Blood Pressure

60

40

Too Low Blood Pressure

50

33

Dangerously Low Blood Pressure


Normal Blood Pressure Range

Systolic Pressure (mm HG)

Diastolic Pressure (mm HG)

Diastolic Pressure (mm HG)

130

85

High Normal Blood Pressure 

120

80

Normal Blood Pressure

110

75

Low Normal Blood Pressure


Approx. Ideal Blood Pressure Range According to Age:

Age

Female

Male

1 - 2

80/34 – 120/75

83/38 – 117/76

3

100/59

100/61

4

102/62

101/64

5

104/65

103/66

6

105/68

104/68

7

106/70

106/69

8

107/71

108/71

9

109/72

110/72

10

111/73

112/73

11

113/73

114/74

12

115/74

116/75

13

117/75

117/76

14

120/75

119/77

15

120/76

120/78

16

120/78

120/78

17

120/80

120/78

18

120/80

120/80

19-24

120/79

120/79

25-29

120/80

121/80

30-35

122/81

123/82

36-39

123/82

124/83

40-45

124/83

125/83

46-49

126/84

127/84

50-55

129/85

128/85

56-59

130/86

131/87

60+

134/84

135/88


Causes and Symptoms of Abnormal Blood Pressure

Both high and low blood pressure is injurious to health. There are plenty of causes of abnormal blood pressure. Let’s have a look at the causes and symptom of high and low blood pressure.

  • Causes of High Blood Pressure

  1.  A salt, fat, and/or cholesterol-rich diet

  2. Chronic kidney and hormonal problems, diabetes, and high cholesterol

  3. Family  history of high blood pressure

  4. Lack of physical activity

  5. Ageing

  6. Obesity

  7. Some birth control medicines along with other medicines.

  8. Excess stress.

  9. Smoking or drinking too much alcohol.

  10. Genetics 

  11.  Sleep deprivation for a long time

  • Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

  1. Severe headache.

  2. Fatigue or confusion.

  3. Vision problems.

  4. Chest pain.

  5. Breathing trouble

  6. Irregular heartbeat.

  7. Blood in the urine.

  8. Hammering in the chest, neck, or ears

  • Causes of Low Blood Pressure 

  1. Pregnancy

  2. Heart problems

  3. Endocrine problems

  4. Dehydration

  5. Blood loss

  6. Severe infection or septicemia

  7. Severe allergic reaction 

  8. Lack of nutrients in the diet. 

  • Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

  1. Dizziness or light-headedness

  2. Nausea

  3. Fainting

  4. Dehydration and unusual thirst

  5. Lack of concentration

  6. Blurred vision

  7. Cold, clammy, pale skin

  8. Rapid, shallow breathing

  9. Fatigue

  10. Depression

Diagnosis of Hypertension and Hypotension`

Hypertension and hypotension both can lead to several fatal diseases. Physicians take two or three blood pressure readings each at three or more separate appointments before diagnosing a person with high blood pressure. To confirm if one has hypertension the physician may recommend a whole day long monitoring test called ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. One may also be recommended to undergo some routine tests like a urine test, a cholesterol test, an electrocardiogram, and an echocardiogram also to check for more signs of heart disease. 

Continuous changes in lifestyle can control hypertension. The changes are as follows:

  • Eating a heart-healthy less salty diet

  • Regular physical exercise

  • Maintain proper weight

  • Restricting the amount of tobacco and alcohol

In addition to these lifestyle changes, one has to take medication if it has been prescribed by the doctor.

Hypotension may also turn into a disaster if medical assistance is not taken in time.  Some regular blood tests, echocardiogram (ECG), and Tilt table test can tell if you have low blood pressure or not. The treatment of Hypotension depends on the very cause. According to the patient’s age, health and the type of hypotension he/she has, one can apply any one of these: 

  • Using more salt in the diet

  • Drinking plenty of water

  • Wearing compression stockings

  • Take medications as prescribed by the physician

The Procedure of Blood Pressure Test

  • Blood pressure can be monitored at home also. One just has to be still while the test is going on. The patient should be still. Smoking, drinking caffeinated beverages or exercise within 30 minutes is strictly prohibited before measuring blood pressure. One must empty his/her bladder and rest at least 5 minutes before measurements. 

  • The patient should sit with his/her back straight and supported on a dining chair rather than a sofa. His/her feet should be flat on the floor and should be straight, not crossed. Patient’s arm should be supported on a flat surface with the upper arm at heart level. The bottom of the cuff is placed directly above the bend of the elbow. 

  • The test should be done at the same time every day. It’s important to take the readings at the same time each day. 

  • Multiple readings are taken and the results are recorded. 

  • The measurements are not taken over clothes.

Blood Pressure Testing Devices

Blood pressure measurement devices are divided into five categories: manual sphygmomanometers, digital non-portable for the upper arm with automatic inflation, digital portable for the upper arm with automatic inflation, digital portable for wrist with automatic inflation, and digital portable for finger with automatic inflation. The blood pressure testing devices are as follows:

  • Digital, portable automated unit

  • Sphygmomanometer

  • Stethoscope 

Why Blood Pressure Test Is Required? 

A blood pressure test is a measurement to check for the ongoing health condition of a patient. High blood pressure or low blood pressure both can lead to severe health problems. 

            High blood pressure can cause:

  • Damage to our arteries: damaged and narrowed arteries, aneurysm

  • Damage to our heart: coronary artery disease, enlarged left heart, heart failure

  •  Damage to our brain: Transient Ischemic Attack, stroke, dementia, mild cognitive impairment

  • Damage to our kidneys: kidney scarring or glomerulosclerosis, kidney failure.

  • Damage to our eyes: damage to our retina or retinopathy, fluid build-up under the retina or choroidopathy, nerve damage or optic neuropathy.

 

Low blood pressure can also lead to dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue, depression. So, to know the actual situation of our health and to save it from future hazards beforehand, a blood pressure test is required. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What do you mean by blood pressure?

When the heart pumps blood around our body the blood gives a huge push against the blood vessels. The strength of the pushing is actually blood pressure. So, in simple words the pressure blood gives to the vessels is called blood pressure.


2. What is Blood pressure test? What is the normal blood pressure of an adult?

A blood pressure test is just attesting like other ordinary tests to check whether the patient’s blood pressure is excessively high or low. 

Normal blood pressure of an adult is 120/80.


3. What is the difference between hypertension and hypotension?

According to age and sex, every single entity has a normal range of blood pressure. If that exceeds, we call it high pressure. The advancement of high pressure is known as hypertension. 

Similarly, if the normal range of blood pressure falls down for any reason we consider it as low pressure. The degradation of low blood pressure is called hypotension.


4. What are the effects of abnormal blood pressure?

Abnormal blood pressure may lead to chronic health issues. High blood pressure can lead to memory loss, personality Memory loss, personality changes, trouble in concentrating, stroke, severe damage to your body's main artery (aortic dissection), chest pain, heart attack, Suddenly damaged pumping of the heart, leading to fluid support in the lungs resulting in shortness of breath (pulmonary oedema), sudden loss of kidney function, complications in pregnancy, blindness and so on. Low blood pressure also results in lack of concentration, blurred vision, depression, rapid & shallow breathing etc.