Blood pressure is the force exerted by blood on artery walls during circulation, which typically rises and falls throughout the day. It is a vital physiological parameter indicating cardiovascular health and maintaining bodily functions.
How is blood pressure measured?
Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) using two values: systolic and diastolic. Systolic pressure represents the force when the heart contracts and pumps blood into the arteries. Diastolic pressure measures the force when the heart is at rest between beats. The measurement is written as “120 over 80” or “120/80 mmHg.”
As a general guide:
140/90mmHg or over – you may have high blood pressure
Doctors typically diagnose high blood pressure (hypertension) at 140/90mmHg, a point where the risk of serious health issues increases. They may prescribe medications and suggest lifestyle changes to reduce blood pressure.
120/80mmHg up to 140/90mmHg – pre-high blood pressure
High-normal blood pressure, also known as high blood pressure, is slightly above normal and can potentially lead to the development of high blood pressure.
90/60mmHg up to 120/80mmHg – ideal blood pressure
Maintaining healthy blood pressure, also known as normal blood pressure, reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke and can be achieved through a balanced lifestyle.
90/60mmHg or lower – you may have low blood pressure
It can cause fainting or dizziness and may indicate other health issues, although it is usually not a significant issue.
Factors Influencing Blood Pressure:
Several factors contribute to blood pressure regulation, including:
Cardiac Output: The volume of blood the heart pumps per minute.
Peripheral Resistance: The resistance blood encounters as it flows through arteries.
Blood Volume: The total amount of blood in the circulatory system.
High blood pressure (hypertension):
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a blood pressure level above normal, influenced by daily activities. Consistently high blood pressure can lead to a diagnosis and increased risk of health issues like heart disease, heart attack and stroke. It is often linked to unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, overweightness and insufficient exercise. Untreated high blood pressure can lead to serious long-term health conditions, including coronary heart disease and damage to kidney or eye blood vessels.
Low blood pressure (hypotension):
Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, is a blood pressure level below normal. In this condition, the heart, brain and other body parts are not receiving enough blood. It is less common and can be caused by certain medicines as a side effect or by underlying conditions like heart failure and dehydration. Certain medications and substances can also contribute to low blood pressure. Severe hypotension can result from sudden blood loss, infection, a heart attack or an allergic reaction.
How to Maintain Healthy Blood Pressure?
Lifestyle Choices: A balanced diet, regular exercise, limited alcohol consumption and tobacco avoidance are essential for maintaining optimal blood pressure.
Regular Check-ups: Routine health check-ups aid in early detection and intervention.
Regular blood pressure monitoring is essential for several reasons:
- Early Detection: Helps identify hypertension or hypotension before symptoms arise
- Risk Assessment: A key factor in assessing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Treatment Evaluation: Guides healthcare professionals in managing and adjusting treatment plans.
Blood pressure monitoring is crucial for early detection of hypertension or hypotension, risk assessment and treatment evaluation. Regular check-ups aid in early detection and intervention. Understanding blood pressure measurement, factors influencing it and its significance empowers individuals to take proactive steps towards maintaining a healthy blood pressure range. Regular communication with healthcare professionals and lifestyle choices are essential components of this journey towards cardiovascular well-being.