Blood pressure refers to the force of blood pushing against artery walls as it courses through the body. A blood pressure reading appears as two numbers. The first and higher of the two is a measure of systolic pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills them with blood. High blood pressure (hypertension), and managing low blood pressure (hypotension). The normal blood pressure is 120/80, although most people do not have blood pressure of exactly 120/80.
HOW IS BLOOD PRESSURE CHANGES DIAGNOSED?
Blood pressure is more likely in people who:
• Have a family history of high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes
• over age 55
• not physically active
• high alcohol consumption
• Eat foods high in salt
• Use certain medications such as NSAIDs (ibuprofen, aspirin, e.g.), decongestants, and illicit drugs such as cocaine
HOW IS BLOOD PRESSURE CHANGES TREATED?
It is the primary aim to bring the blood pressure to normal level to reduce the risk of complications like heart attack and stroke. Lifestyle modifications like weight loss, reduced salt intake, reduced alcohol consumption or exercise are often the first line of treatment. If these approaches don’t return blood pressure to acceptable levels then medicine treatment is usually required.
DID YOU KNOW?
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to blood pressure changes.
Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by blood circulation on the blood vessels expressed in the form of a ratio between systolic (maximum) pressure and diastolic (minimum) pressure. It is considered to be one of the vital signs along with respiration rate, body temperature, oxygen saturation and heart rate. The normal BP range for adults is 90/60 Hg -120/80 Hg. The normal blood pressure for adults is approximately around 120/80 Hg.
While the endocrine and nervous systems exercise some control over blood pressure, rapid changes in blood pressure due to changes in environment, stress, food sensitivity, nature of activity and emotional factors are also normal.
When the blood pressure of an adult is below 90/60 Hg, the person is diagnosed as suffering from low BP. However, it is not a life-threatening condition unless it induces severe dizziness, fainting and/or shock in the person. Normally, even an abrupt change in posture is also liable to trigger a fall in blood-pressure. In serious cases of low BP, which may develop from low blood supply to the brain, severe blood loss, hemorrhaging, food consumption disorders like bulimia or anorexia, sepsis, consumption of wrong doses of blood pressure medicine or hormonal abnormalities like Addison’s disease can occur. As such, hypotension or low BP requires instant medical care.
High BP is the condition when the BP of the adult individual is over 120/80 Hg. Hypertension has three stages.
• When the systolic pressure reads between 120-139 Hg and the diastolic pressure is between 80-89 Hg, the stage is called the pre-hypertension stage.
• Stage 1 or Primary hypertension is the stage when the systolic pressure is between 140-159 Hg and the diastolic pressure is between 90-99 Hg. It is mostly hereditary in nature.
• Stage 2 or Advanced Hypertension is the stage when the systolic pressure is over 160 Hg and the diastolic pressure is more than 100 Hg.
When the blood-pressure in the pulmonary artery, veins or capillaries increase, a condition called pulmonary hypertension develops. It may be genetically acquired or developed as a result of substance abuse and/or exposure to tobacco products.
Generally symptomless, high BP sometimes has symptoms like nosebleed, severe headaches and dizziness along with severe anxiety and shortness of breath. A sudden spike in the BP can develop into life-threatening condition of hypertensive crisis culminating in heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, cerebral hemorrhaging, and fluid accumulation in the lungs as well as eclampsia in pregnant women, kidney failure and arterial aneurysms.
It is absolutely essential for a patient with high BP to monitor his BP constantly. Regular check-ups and consultation with the physician or cardiologist is advised. In addition, the patient must reduce weight, exercise for atleast half- an- hour every day and maintain a healthy diet with low sodium, low alcohol, caffeine and fat content. Smokers are instructed to quit smoking.
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