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Most Important things to know about Blood Pressure

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Most Important things to know about Blood Pressure

Blood pressure (BP) is the pressure of circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels. When used without further specification, “blood pressure” usually refers to the pressure in large arteries of the systemic circulation. Blood pressure is usually expressed in terms of the systolic pressure (maximum during one heartbeat) over diastolic pressure (minimum in between two heartbeats) and is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg), above the surrounding atmospheric pressure (considered to be zero for convenience).

For a normal reading, your blood pressure needs to show a top number that’s between 90 and 120, and a bottom number that’s between 60 and 80. When both your systolic and diastolic numbers are in these ranges,  that is the normal range for blood pressure.

Blood pressure is influenced by cardiac output, total peripheral resistance, and arterial stiffness and varies depending on the situation, emotional state, activity, and relative health/disease states. In the short term, it is regulated by baroreceptors which act via the brain to influence nervous and endocrine systems.

There are two types of blood pressures we can see in the human body

  1. Hypertension or high blood pressure
  2. Hypotension or low blood pressure

Hypertension which is also known as High blood pressure the condition is which blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. Blood pressure is the force of blood pressing against the walls of the arteries. When it’s too high, it raises the heart’s workload and can cause serious damage to the arteries.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common condition that will catch up with most people who live in older age. High blood pressure does not cause symptoms. Over time, uncontrolled high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.

High blood pressures are classified into two types

  • Primary high blood pressure; This is a common type of blood pressure about 90% cases are related to this type of blood pressure. It is mainly caused due to non-specific lifestyle and genetic factors. Lifestyle factors that increase the risk include excess salt, excess body weight, smoking, and alcohol
  • Secondary high blood pressure: Only 10 % cases are related to this type of blood pressure were as Hypertension due to s chronic kidney disease, narrowing of the kidney arteries, an endocrine disorder, or the use of birth control pills.

Signs and symptoms

High blood pressure does not cause symptoms it is often called as the silent killer. It is identified only by screening or when seeking for healthcare problems. Sometimes some symptoms can be seen like

  • Headache (particularly in the back of the head especially in the morning)
  • lightheadedness,
  • vertigo,
  • tinnitus
  • altered vision

Long-term hypertension can cause complications through atherosclerosis wherein the condition formation of plaque results in the narrowing of blood vessels

Hypertension-related atherosclerosis can lead to:

  • heart failure
  • aneurysm,
  • kidney failure
  • stroke
  • amputation
  • hypertensive retinopathies

Risk factors associated with hypertension are

  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Body weight
  • Sex: men are more prone to hypertension than women
  • Some health conditions like
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Chronic Kidney diseases
    • High Cholesterol levels etc.,
  • Bad lifestyle

Diagnosis

  • Diagnosis of hypertension is made by measuring blood pressure upper-arm cuff device called a sphygmomanometer.
  • Some additional tests which can help to identify the cause of high blood pressure and determine any complications are
    • urine tests
    • kidney ultrasound imaging
    • blood tests
    • electrocardiogram (ECG) and an echocardiograph

Prevention and Treatment

  • Several classes of medications, collectively referred to as antihypertensive medications, are available for treating hypertension.
  • But studies say that reducing the consequences of high blood pressure and reduce the need for antihypertensive drug therapy.
  • Reducing the consequences of high blood pressure means change in the lifestyle like
    • Maintaining normal body weight
    • reduce dietary sodium intake to <100 mmol/ day
    • Limit alcohol consumption
    • consume a diet rich in fruit and vegetables
    • Regularly do some physical exercises

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