Understanding Blood Pressure and Keeping It Normal

Having a normal blood pressure is very important to lead a healthy life. Without the right pressure, which ensures that our blood flows around your circulatory system, the oxygen and nutrients do not get delivered through the arteries to the tissues and organs. The pressure also helps your body’s immunity since it is responsible for delivering white blood cells, antibodies and hormones like insulin. Your body is accustomed to having a certain amount of pressure which is called as the healthy blood pressure level. If this pressure balance gets messed up, you suffer from high or low blood pressure. This causes different effects on your body. A severe change in the numbers can lead to extreme effects. Senior Surgeon Dr. Ramakanta Panda predicts that by the year, 2020, almost one-third of our Indian population will be suffering from high blood pressure.

For a normal reading, the top number needs to be between 90 and 120, and the bottom number needs to be between 60 and 80. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), when your numbers fall between these ranges, it is considered to be normal blood pressure.  So what do these numbers mean? The first number is the amount of pressure in your arteries when your heart muscles contract. This is referred to as systolic pressure. The bottom number is your blood pressure when your heart muscle is between heart beats. This is termed as diastolic pressure. Both numbers are important in determining the state of your heart.

To get an idea about the stage of blood pressure, you need to know the different categories. Here’s how you can differentiate them:

Normal:
Systolic mm Hg (upper number) – less than 120
Diastolic mm Hg (lower number) – less than 80

Prehypertension:
Systolic mm Hg (upper number) – 120-139
Diastolic mm Hg (lower number) – 80-89

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) – Stage 1:
Systolic mm Hg (upper number) – 140-159
Diastolic mm Hg (lower number) – 90-99

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) – Stage 2:
Systolic mm Hg (upper number) – 160 or higher
Diastolic mm Hg (lower number) – 100 or higher

Hypertensive Crisis (emergency case):
Systolic mm Hg (upper number) – higher than 180
Diastolic mm Hg (lower number) – higher than 110

In the case of low blood pressure, there are no specific numbers for reference. This is because even if your numbers are low, as long as you are not experiencing any symptoms, there is no need for concern. Your doctor can tell you more about your low blood pressure condition depending on the symptoms you are facing.

Causes:

With regards to high blood pressure, there are higher chances of it occurring in patient’s going through pregnancy, thyroid, diabetes, low blood sugar, depression, Parkinson’s disease, heart problems, widening of the blood vessels, heat exhaustion or liver diseases.

Also termed as hypotension, low blood pressure may be the sign of an underlying problem, especially in the elderly. It causes inadequate blood flow to the heart, brain, and other vital organs. Postural hypotension can happen to someone who is rising from a lying down or sitting position. This is considered to be a failure of the cardiovascular system and can lead the nervous system to react inappropriately. The effects of low blood pressure become more intense and evident when it occurs in people belonging to older age groups.

Diagnosis:

Blood pressure is measured with a device known as a sphygmomanometer, consisting of a stethoscope, arm cuff, dial, pump and valve. The pressure reading numbers may increase or decrease depending on factors such as your age, heart condition, activity, emotions, and medicines. One high reading does not mean that you need to worry. To be extremely sure about the diagnosis, you need to be comfortably resting and take readings at least three different times.

For low blood pressure, you may feel symptoms such as dizziness or lightheadedness. Few other underlying conditions could also be the cause. To avail the appropriate treatment, identifying the cause of the low blood pressure is very important. Factors such as medical history, specific symptoms and age will help the doctor perform an efficient evaluation of the system.

Treatment:

If you are suffering from high blood pressure, the first thing you need to do is to adopt healthier lifestyle choices. Maintain a healthy diet and reduce your sodium intake. Ideally, one should not consume more than 2300 mg per day. Have a limited amount of processed foods because these are high in sodium content and have low nutritional value. Reduce your caffeine intake as it plays a sensitive role in your blood pressure readings. Exercise regularly – Even 30 minutes a day can help you maintain a healthy weight and feel good about your body. Indulge in yoga and meditation sessions, these will help you reduce stress after long work days. Keep your alcohol intake under control and quit smoking.

Keep track of the numbers by checking them frequently. Adopting different measures to be absolutely sure. In the case of very high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend certain medication. ACE inhibitors and calcium channel blockers to relax your blood vessels, alpha-blockers to decrease arterial resistance, beta-blockers to decrease heart rate, and diuretics to decrease the amount of fluid in your body are some kinds of medications that usually help but you should not take these without a doctor’s advice. If you experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, visual changes, chest pain, loss of muscle control, blood in the urine or dizziness, that means you are in the danger zone and require immediate treatment.

As you age, prevention becomes more important, especially when it comes to this kind of health problems. The American Health Association says that your systolic pressure tends to rise up once you are cross the age of 50. Take regular health check-ups and keep your doctor informed about the smallest of symptoms because the faster you know the better your will be able to take care of your health and keep the numbers under control. As far as you follow a healthy lifestyle, eat proper food and take regular medication, blood pressure is not a fatal disease.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s