What Is Blood Pressure
The pressure exerted by the blood on the walls of the artery is termed as blood pressure. It is measured in millimetre of mercury and has two parts. They are
- Systolic Pressure: Systolic pressure is the numerator part of the blood pressure or medically speaking it is the pressure that is produced when the heart pushes out blood from arteries to the full body.
- Diastolic Pressure: Diastolic pressure is the denominator part of the blood pressure that arises in arteries between the resting period of the beats. During this time, the heart fills with blood and oxygen.
Example: If the blood pressure is 120 over 80 or 120/80 mmHg, it means you have a systolic pressure of 120 mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 80 mmHg. The ideal blood pressure ranges between 90/60 mmHg to 120/80 mmHg.
Understanding Blood Pressure What Is It
Your blood pressure reading is a measurement of the pressure your blood applies across your artery walls. Your blood pressure changes a little throughout the day when you relax, your blood pressure lowers, and when you move around or feel stress, your blood pressure increases. But high blood pressure over a long term is associated with serious health risks, including heart, brain, and eye damage. Likewise, chronic low blood pressure sometimes comes with health risks. Fortunately, there are helpful ways to manage both high and low blood pressure.
When To Call Your Doctor
The risks of both high and low blood pressure make monitoring your blood pressure at home essential to your overall health and well-being. Both Dr. Wong and Dr. Desai recommend calling your healthcare provider if your self-monitored blood pressure readings are greater than 180/120 mmHgeven if you have no other symptoms.
You should call 911 if these blood pressure readings are associated with symptoms of organ damage, such as headache, vision changes, weakness, numbness, chest pain or shortness of breath, says Dr. Wong.
You May Also Be Interested In Blood Pressure Monitor From Our Featured Partner
iHealth Track Blood Pressure Monitor
Read Also: Does Uti Cause Blood In Urine
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Being overweight is a risk factor for having high blood pressure, and your risk increases further if you are obese.
There are two ways to check if you are overweight:
- Body Mass Index – This is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in metres squared. In the UK, people with a BMI of between 25 to 30 are overweight, and those with an index above 30 are classed as obese. People with a BMI of 40 or more are morbidly obese.
- Waist size – Using a measuring tape place the tape round your waist between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hip bone. The table below indicates how much your health might be at risk, your ethnicity should also be taken into account.
|Over 80 cm|
The best way to tackle obesity is by reducing the amount of calories that you eat, and taking regular exercise. Your GP can provide you with further information and advice on how you can do this.
More about having a healthy weight
Why Lowering High Blood Pressure Is Important
High blood pressure puts stress on the heart and blood vessels. This increases the risk of heart attack, and heart failure. High blood pressure also increases the risk of stroke, kidney damage and damage to circulation to the legs.
There is good evidence that lowering high blood pressure with medications lowers the risk of stroke by 35 to 40% and lowers the risk of heart attack by 20 to 25 %.
Don’t Miss: High Blood Pressure And Stress
Diagnosing High Blood Pressure
The only way to find out whether you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Ask your GP when you are next due for yours to be checked.
Before having your blood pressure taken, you should rest for at least five minutes and empty your bladder. To get an accurate blood pressure reading, you should be sitting down and not talking when the reading is taken.
Having one high blood pressure reading does not necessarily mean that you have high blood pressure. Your blood pressure can change throughout the day. Feeling anxious or stressed when you visit your GP can raise your blood pressure .
Therefore, your GP will need to take several readings over a set period of time, usually every month, to see whether your blood pressure level is consistently high.
Blood and urine tests may also be carried out in order to check for conditions that are known to cause an increase in blood pressure, such as kidney infections.
You may also be given a blood pressure device to take home so that you can record your blood pressure level throughout the day. This also helps to identify white coat syndrome and therefore helps to identify the best treatment options for you.
Inadequate Amount Of Potassium In Your Diet
Your diet needs to have enough potassium to enhance blood flow in the arteries by balancing sodium in the cells. If your diet has sufficient potassium, it helps the muscle cells in the arteries to relax. Relaxed muscle cells lower your blood pressure.
Some of the primary sources of potassium include
1. Dried fruits such as apricots and raisins
2. Beans, lentils, potatoes
3. Winter squash such as butternut and acorn
4. Avocadoes, bananas, oranges, orange juice
5. Tomatoes, coconut water
7. Yoghurt, dairy, and plant milk such as soy and almond
Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of Blood Vessels On Face
Factors That May Affect Blood Pressure Readings
There are physiological, emotional and environmental factors which can cause your blood pressure increase or decrease temporarily throughout the day. So no single blood pressure reading is to be considered reliable. You need to take the readings at different times of day to determine the average blood pressure. So what is important is your average blood pressure over the time of the day.
Some of the factors which may affect your blood pressure reading temporarily include:
How Can One Prevent Or Treat Low Blood Pressure
The following methods can help you to treat or prevent low blood pressure
1. Minimizing or stopping alcohol intake
2. Consuming a lot of fluids
3. Consuming a lot of non-alcoholic drinks
4. Ensure that you remain hydrated when the weather is hot or when there is an outbreak of viral flu
5. Be sure to exercise often. Doing this helps to enhance blood circulation
6. sitting or standing very fast
7. When getting out of the bed, start by sitting upright for a while before getting out of the bed.
8. lifting heavy objects.
9. Make sure that you do not strain while passing stools
10. Do not expose yourself to hot water for a prolonged period. This hot water includes hot water springs, sauna, and spas
11. Do not stand still for long
12. Eat little meals more frequently to prevent post-meal dizziness
13. Avoid the use of over-the-counter medications without informing your physician
A physician could prescribe the following remedies to treat low blood pressure
You May Like: What Is A1c In Blood Work
What Is Systolic Blood Pressure
Systolic blood pressure measures how much pressure your blood exerts against your artery walls. The pressure within our arteries changes with every heartbeat, says Ian Del Conde Pozzi, M.D., a cardiologist and vascular medicine specialist at the Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute. When the heart contracts, it pumps extra blood into the circulatory system, increasing the pressure. That increase is measured by systolic blood pressure.
Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring
Having a raised blood pressure reading in 1 test does not necessarily mean you have high blood pressure.
Blood pressure can fluctuate throughout the day. Feeling anxious or stressed when you visit your GP can also raise your blood pressure.
If you have a high reading, you may be asked to take some readings with a 24-hour monitor that checks your blood pressure throughout the day.
This will confirm whether you have consistently high blood pressure.
It’s known as 24-hour or ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.
Read Also: Increase Blood Flow To The Penis
Normal Bp Range For Men
The average BP range for men varies by age group. The age group with the lowest normal blood pressure reading in men is 31-35 years . The age group with the highest normal blood pressure level reading in men is 61-65 years .
Here are a few healthy tips for keeping your blood pressure in the normal range:-
- Exercise, exercise, and exercise
Reduce the intake of sodium in your diet. Drink less alcohol. If youre a sweet tooth, this remedy will be your favourite eat dark chocolate and cocoa. Eat calcium-rich food like dairy, leafy greens and beans. Cut back on caffeine intake. Taking natural supplements like aged garlic extract, fish oil, whey protein, berberine, and hibiscus can instantly lower your high blood pressure. Eat magnesium-rich foods like legumes and whole grains. Meditation and deep breathing can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps slow your heart rate and ultimately lowers your blood pressure level. Eating berries lowers your blood pressure and the risk of heart diseases.
What are normal and abnormal values of blood pressure?
Normal blood pressure is systolic of less than 120 and diastolic of less than 80 . However, elevated blood pressure values are systolic of 120 129 and diastolic less than 80.
Low And High Blood Pressure And Prehypertension
Higher than normal levels of blood pressure is known as hypertension or high blood pressure. It imposes additional strain on the arteries and the heart and is an indicative of the fact that extra pressure is exerted by the heart to pump certain amounts of blood in a certain timeframe. Aging is marked by higher blood pressure.
Lower than normal levels of blood pressure is referred to as hypotension or low blood pressure. Its effects are just the opposite of hypertension. It typically causes dizziness.
Prehypertension refers to a condition when BP levels are slightly more than normal. In such cases, the diastolic pressure may fall between 80 and 89 while systolic blood pressure may fall between 120 and 139. Patients with prehypertension are increasingly susceptible to developing high BP. However, simple lifestyle and dietary changes can help normalize it.
The official BP percentile charts by weight, height, BMI/Body Mass Index information of certain groups of adults and children are present in all clinics.
Recommended Reading: Blood Tests For Cancer Detection
What Causes Low Blood Pressure
There are many possible reasons for low blood pressure, according to both Dr. Wong and Dr. Desai, including:
- Heart problems like heart failure or low heart rates
- Endocrine problems, such as parathyroid disease, adrenal insufficiency or hypoglycemia
- Side effects of medications for high blood pressure, prostatic hypertrophy, Parkinsons disease, depression and erectile dysfunction
- Massive weight loss
- Rapid heart rate
When Treatment Is Recommended
Everyone with high blood pressure is advised to make healthy lifestyle changes.
Whether medicine is also recommended depends on your blood pressure reading and your risk of developing problems such as heart attacks or strokes.
Your doctor will carry out some blood and urine tests, and ask questions about your health to determine your risk of other problems:
- if your blood pressure is consistently above 140/90mmHg , but your risk of other problems is low you’ll be advised to make some changes to your lifestyle
- if your blood pressure is consistently above 140/90mmHg and your risk of other problems is high you’ll be offered medicine to lower your blood pressure, in addition to lifestyle changes
- if your blood pressure is consistently above 160/100mmHg you’ll be offered medicine to lower your blood pressure, in addition to lifestyle changes
Read Also: Whats Mcv In Blood Test
Low Blood Pressure Chart
A low blood pressure chart represents ranges that are lower than normal blood pressure. If your blood pressure ranges below 90/60 mmHg, then you have low blood pressure. The ranges represented in a low blood pressure chart can put into three categories.
Severe low blood pressure and extremely severe high blood pressure categories are termed dangerously low blood pressure and demand immediate attention.
What Are Some Complications Related To Hypertension
Hypertension can lead to several complications, including
1. Stroke or heart attack
2. Weak and narrowed blood vessels in the kidneys
5. Narrow, thickened, or torn blood vessels in the eyes
6. Metabolic syndrome
7. Dementia due to decreased blood flow in the brain
8. Loss of memory or trouble with understanding
Read Also: What Are The Types Of Blood
Know Your Numbers: Blood Pressure
Topics in this Post
Knowing and understanding key heart numbers blood pressure, cholesterol and heart rate, along with your family history allow you and your health care team to determine your risk for developing heart and cardiovascular disease. Knowing your risk is critical to preventing heart disease and for taking steps to improve your overall heart health.
What About Blood Pressure Thats Too Low
Low blood pressure is known as hypotension. In adults, a blood pressure reading of 90/60 mm Hg or below is often considered hypotension.
Hypotension can be dangerous because blood pressure thats too low doesnt supply your body and heart with enough oxygenated blood.
Some potential causes of hypotension can include:
Recommended Reading: Blood Sugar Low In Newborn
Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
Most people with high blood pressure dont have any symptoms and arent aware of their condition. Its usually found when you have your blood pressure measured. This may be as part of a health assessment.
If you have high blood pressure and it causes complications, you may get symptoms linked to those. For more information, see our section on complications.
Get a picture of your current health and potential future health risks with one of our health assessments. Find out more about health assessments >
What’s The Impact Of Having High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular diseases such as:
- coronary heart disease – where the main arteries that supply your heart become clogged up with plaques
- strokes – a serious condition where the blood supply to your brain is interrupted
- heart attacks – a serious condition where the blood supply to part of your heart is blocked
Diabetes and kidney disease are also linked to high blood pressure complications.
You May Like: Red Cross Blood Donor Login
What Are The Causes Of High Blood Pressure
Elevated blood pressure increases your risk of chronic high blood pressure as you age. Taking steps to manage your blood pressure helps decrease this risk.
There are also some health conditions that increase your risks of chronic high blood pressure, including obesity and diabetes. Other causes include:
- Genetics/family history
- Lack of exercise
- Alcohol or tobacco abuse
As adults age, their odds of high blood pressure increase, with 90% of Americans forecasted to develop high blood pressure in their lifetimes. Black people tend to develop high blood pressure more often and earlier in life compared to white people. Hispanics, Asians, American Indians, and Pacific Islanders also stand an increased risk of high blood pressure compared to other ethnicities.
Side Effects Of High Blood Pressure
Dangers of untreated high blood pressure include stroke, heart attack, heart failure, vision loss, kidney failure, vascular dementia and sexual dysfunction, says Dr. Desai. Its one of the top risk factors for developing atrial fibrillation, which is the most common heart rhythm disorder worldwide and can lead to stroke, heart failure and reduced quality of life.
You May Like: Why Can’t Diabetics Donate Blood
Regular Blood Pressure Checks If Diagnosed With High Blood Pressure
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, your blood pressure will need to be closely monitored until it is brought under control.
After your blood pressure has been controlled, your GP or practice nurse will measure your blood pressure at agreed regular intervals .
It is important you attend these appointments to ensure your blood pressure is being maintained within an acceptable range.
When To Call Your Healthcare Provider
A hypertensive crisisdefined as blood pressure above 180/120 mm Hgrequires immediate medical attention. Call 911 if you are also experiencing symptoms such as chest pain, back pain, shortness of breath, difficulty speaking, a change in vision, weakness, or numbness.
Read Also: Uti With Blood In Urine
Do I Have High Blood Pressure
Anyone can have high blood pressure. Some medical conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, kidney disease, and thyroid problems, can cause high blood pressure. Some people have a greater chance of having it because of things they can’t change. These are:
- Age. The chance of having high blood pressure increases as you get older, especially isolated systolic hypertension.
- Gender. Before age 55, men have a greater chance of having high blood pressure. Women are more likely to have high blood pressure after menopause.
- Family history. High blood pressure tends to run in some families.
- Race. African Americans are at increased risk for high blood pressure.
High blood pressure often has no signs or symptoms, but routine checks of your blood pressure will help detect increasing levels. If your blood pressure reading is high at two or more check-ups, the doctor may also ask you to measure your blood pressure at home.
There are important considerations for older adults in deciding whether to start treatment for high blood pressure if it is above 130/80, including other health conditions and overall fitness. Your doctor may work with you to find a blood pressure target that is best for your well-being and may suggest exercise, changes in your diet, and medications.