Table of Contents
Understanding Blood Pressure
What is Blood Pressure?
All parts of our body require optimum amount of blood containing oxygen to perform their functions effectively and to gain enough energy to carry out different procedures. Heart is a central organ of the body whose function is to deliver the blood to the body parts by pumping action. As the heart pumps, blood flows out of the heart and moves within blood vessels where it applies force on the inner surface of vessels. Amount of the force by which blood vessels are pushed due to the movement of blood is a measure of blood pressure.
Facts and Figures
Men with age of 64 have more risk of high blood pressure them women
Around 62,000 deaths occur due to heart problems and strokes caused due to high blood pressure.
One third of population who have high blood pressure, does not know that they have it.
Women have more tendency to develop high blood pressures with the decrease in incomes.
Types of Blood Pressure
Generally, we have two types of blood pressure given as:
Systolic blood pressure
Systolic blood pressure is the pressure applied by blood on vessels when heart is pumping.
Diastolic blood pressure
Diastolic blood pressure is the amount of pressure developed on inner side of arteries during the interval when heart takes a pause between two beats.
Blood will flow easily through the vessels which are more dilated as compare to those which are thin and hard. Heart has to do more work in latter case and blood pressure rises.
How we Can Measure the Blood Pressure?
An instrument named sphygmomanometer is used to measuring the blood pressure. Usually unit used for measuring the blood pressure is millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). The way of writing blood pressure is such that systolic pressure is written first and then the diastolic pressure. Like, value of normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg.
Factors Affecting Blood Pressure
There are many factors which can affect blood pressure readings. They can bring it up or down depending upon the nature of content being used. Habits like smoking, consuming caffeine (like in coffee), any physical activity can cause changes in blood pressure. It can also get affected by any emotional state, anxiety, full bladder, temperature, calibration of instrument, etc.
How to Read Blood Pressure?
Few steps are involved in taking the reading of blood pressure using the instrument, which are as follows:
First step is to tie a cuff around the arm of patient.
Air is filled inside it with the help of a pump to the point that blood circulation in veins interrupts.
There is a small valve which causes the cuff to release air.
The doctor hears the pulse of blood through vessels with the help of the earpieces of stethoscope, placed on the patient’s arm for taking reading of blood pressure.
The noise heard at start produced due to fast flow of blood corresponds to systolic blood pressure.
After taking reading of systolic blood pressure, sound of pulse will start to faint and this will be the moment of taking a reading of diastolic blood pressure.
What is high blood pressure?
When we say that blood pressure is high, that means blood is putting high strain on arteries that can be dangerous resulting high risks of heart attacks and strokes. High blood pressure is also known as hypertension can occur if the blood pressure readings lie between 90 to 140 or higher, for more than number of weeks.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
It is difficult to detect the actual cause of high blood pressure. There can be numerous reasons for high blood pressure. There can be increased chances of high blood pressure if:
you consume too much salt in food,
you don’t have any physical activity,
you gain weight speedily,
you drink too much alcohol,
you don’t eat sufficient fruit and vegetables.
Along with that there are few other factors that can contribute in causing high blood pressure and can’t be controlled like:
Age: with the increase in age, as you get older there might greater risks of high blood pressures due to unhealthy habits.
Medical history of family: you can have tendency of developing high blood pressure if other family members had this problem.
Ethnic origin: usually people who born in African-Caribbean and South Asian have more chances of high blood pressure.
Signs and Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
The best way to find out whether your blood pressure is high or not is to measure it because typically there are no signs or symptoms which can reveal the problem. Reading of blood pressure can get affected by a number of reasons discussed earlier so single reading can’t give confirmation of high blood pressure. Sometimes patients experience headaches due to high blood pressure.
Stages of High Blood Pressure
Usually the patients of high blood pressure are categorized on the basis of following stages:
Readings greater than the normal values of 120/80 mm Hg are the indication to start taking heart healthy habits. Stage of prehypertension occurs when your systolic pressure lies in range of 120 to 139 mm Hg and your diastolic pressure lied within 80 to 89 mm Hg. At this point if preventive measures are not taken, then your raised blood pressure can increase risk of actual high blood pressure.
Hypertension - Stage 1
If your blood pressure has been recorded such that the systolic number is between 140 to 159 mm Hg and diastolic number is between 90 to 99 mm Hg and values retain for large periods of time, then this the stage 1 hypertension. You will need to start taking medicines and change your lifestyle.
Hypertension – Stage 2
After stage 1, stage 2 can prove to be fatal. During this stage systolic number can reach up to 160 or more while diastolic number may touch 100 or more.
If your blood pressure shoots the value of 180 /110 mm Hg and you are experiencing the symptoms like chest pain, visual changes, difficulty in breathing, etc. you need to get treatment as urgent as possible. These are the indication of start of danger zone of hypertension.
Types of High Blood Pressure
There are following types of hypertension (high blood pressure):
Damages Caused by High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can damage different parts of your body in a number of ways. Here are a few examples:
It can lead to heart attack and seven failures.
Strokes can occur due to this problem.
Kidney can get affected.
It can cause peripheral arterial disease, which can damage the legs.
Who is at Risk of Developing High Blood Pressure?
There is greater risk of having high blood pressure among few groups. The aged people with the growing ages, those who are overweight and have unhealthy lifestyles, lacking of physical activities can be at more risk of developing High Blood Pressure. People who take heavy a dose of alcohol and other salty foods can be vulnerable towards high blood pressure.
How to Avoid High Blood Pressure?
There are few preventive measure which are need to be taken to avoid high blood pressure:
Do exercise regularly.
Maintain your weight.
Limit the use of salt in food.
Reduce the use of caffeine.
Avoid using too much alcohol.
Why is it Important to Take Care of Blood Pressure?
If you take care of your blood pressure properly and get it checked regularly, you can stay safe from problem of high blood pressure which is a serious disorder. High blood pressure is also called as “silent killer”, as it doesn’t have any signs or symptoms and cause serious heart and brain problems. Along with that too low blood pressure can also not good. Reading of blood pressure should not too beyond the normal range.