In order to get the most accurate definition of blood pressure, we need to understand how the heart works – the heart pumps oxygenated and de-oxygenated blood around the body as well as other components such as minerals, ions, and others. The pressure of blood through veins and arteries can be measured in terms of heart compression which initiates the transport of blood around the body. The blood pressure can then be determined using the systolic and diastolic levels.
High blood pressure
The blood pressure must not be too high otherwise it strains walls of your arteries and puts you at the risk of a stroke or heart attack when left untreated; this is referred to as high blood pressure or hypertension.
The actual causes of high blood pressure have not been ascertained, however, there are certain risk factors connecting to diet and lifestyle that contributes to it, such as obesity, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, excess consumption of salt, stress, genetics, excess consumption of alcohol, old age, thyroid disorders, and severe kidney disease. The people who are prone to hypertension include smokers, pregnant women, African-Americans, obese people, people older than 35, alcohol consumers, inactive people, people with sleep apnea and people with a family history of hypertension
Due to the fact that hypertension is a disease that silently occurs without outer signs or symptoms, it is best that you carry out a regular blood pressure monitor schedule so as not to be caught unawares by hypertension especially when prone to by factors of lifestyle or simply age.
Low blood pressure
Low blood pressure, otherwise known as hypotension, on the other hand, occurs when there is an inadequate flow of blood to the vital organs of the body. This can be a sign of a serious health issue. When hypotension occurs without symptoms, there is usually nothing to worry about. However, the sudden drop in blood pressure from normal to low can cause dizziness.
Neutrally mediated hypotension is the type that happens when one stands for too long a period.
Postural or orthostatic hypotension is the type that occurs when you suddenly stand up from a lying or sitting position triggered by a failure of the nervous system to respond correctly to changes, this can lead to fainting.
Causes of postural hypotension include, tiredness, dehydration, medication, lack of food, genetics, and an acute allergy or infection and usually happen in elderly people, pregnant women, people with nervous system dysfunction, diabetes and people taking drugs to control their high blood pressure.
Blood pressure measurement is done using a blood pressure cuff called a sphygmomanometer. This is usually used in most hospitals to check patient’s blood pressure but there are also smaller, more portable automatic blood pressure machines for easy home use and more regular checking.
The blood pressure chart is a pictorial representation of various blood pressure levels; it shows ranges of high blood pressures, low blood pressures, and healthy blood pressure readings.
In the blood pressure chart, the top number is called the systolic blood pressure which represents the highest pressure from 70 – 190 when your heart beats and pumps blood around your body, it is found on the left side of the blood pressure chart while the bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure which represents the lowest pressure from 40 – 100 when your heart takes a break in between beats, usually at the bottom.
So in order to know your blood pressure reading, very point where the top number and the bottom number meet is your blood pressure reading.
You also need to find out what your blood pressure reading really means.
If your blood pressure is 90/60 or less you may have low blood pressure
If it is more than 90/60 and less than 120/80 then your blood pressure is normal and healthy, you should continue to live healthy to maintain this reading.
If your blood pressure is more than 120/80 and less than 140/90, then you have normal blood pressure, however, it is slightly higher than it is supposed to be and you need to watch it and take measures to ensure that it drops.
If it is 140/90 or higher, especially for some weeks, it means you may have high blood pressure and you may need to take measures like a lifestyle change or pay a visit to your doctor and follow their drug prescriptions.
If your systolic is 140 or above then your blood pressure is certainly high no matter what the bottom number reads.
So also, if your bottom number is 90 or above then you may have a high blood pressure no matter what the top number reads
If your systolic number is 90 or below then you may have a low blood pressure irrespective of your diastolic level, so also, if your diastolic level is 60 or below then you might have a low blood pressure irrespective of your top number.
Blood pressure drugs and treatment
You can engage in certain non-medicated self-care practices such as exercise, reducing stress, reducing salt and alcohol consumption, quitting smoking and using home blood pressure monitors. However, there are effective classes of medications for blood pressure which includes:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers
- Calcium channel blockers
- Alpha blockers
- Central agonists
Each of these medications do one of the following – reduce excess fluids flowing through your blood vessels, relax your blood vessels, block calcium from getting into the heart and blood vessel cells, block the effect of adrenaline hormone, slows the heartbeat and beat force, slows the production of renin, dilates blood vessels, prevents the brain signals that speed up heart rate and so on. These drugs can be tricky and may have side effects so it’s best to find out which is most suitable for you. In fact, the doctor might need to prescribe more than one for you depending on the exact cause of your high blood pressure.
You can also see specialists for optimum care and diagnoses such as the cardiologist who specializes in diagnosis and treatment of heart disorders, the nephrologist who focuses on diagnosis and treatment of kidney disorders and primary care provider (PCP) who focuses on preventing, diagnoses and treatment of diseases.