Understanding High Blood Pressure
- Blood pressure (BP) is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels
Sphygmomanometer is the instrument used to measure BP
There are two measures of blood pressure :
- Systolic pressure is the force created when your heart squeezes while pumping blood.
- Normal Systolic blood pressure range is 110-139 mmHg
- Diastolic pressure is the pressure when the heart is relaxed between beats.
- Normal Diastolic blood pressure range is 70-89 mm Hg
Thus if your BP reading is 130/80, the systolic pressure is 130 and the diastolic pressure is 30
- Increase in blood pressure above the normal values
- The medical term for high blood pressure is hypertension
Thus, hypertension is increase in blood pressure ≥ 140/90 mmHg
If you belong to any one of the categories mentioned below, you may be at high risk for hypertension
- Age > 65 years
- Obese or overweight
- Frequent intake of unhealthy or junk food
- Family history of high blood pressure
- High cholesterol intake
- Eating too much of salt
- Not exercising regularly
- Intake of more than 2 drinks per day (men), more than 1 drink a day (women)
Hypertension is called a silent killer because most people who have it feel healthy and do not show any signs.
The only way to detect high blood pressure is by regular check ups and to be aware of your BP “numbers”
- High blood pressure is dangerous because it puts a strain on your body.
- It affects your heart as your heart works harder than before
- It also affects your arteries and hardens them
- When high blood pressure damages the arteries, they may not be able to supply the amount of blood body needs.
- When the body's organ don't get enough oxygen and food from the blood, they cannot work properly.
- High blood pressure may contribute to kidney disease or eye problem
- High blood pressure can harden your arteries which become narrow by a build up of material called plaque. This is called atherosclerosis
- High blood pressure may increase build up of fats in small blood vessels carrying blood to your eye, kidney, brain and heart and this will decrease your oxygen supply to the respective organs
- High blood pressure is treatable.
- Almost everyone with high blood pressure can bring their BP numbers down with lifestyle changes, medicines or both
- Many deaths can be prevented if hypertension is found early and managed properly.
- Reduce weight if overweight or obese
- Exercise regularly
- Reduce salt intake
- Have a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in fat
- Limit alcohol intake
- Avoid use of tobacco
- Manage stress
- Maintain normal cholesterol levels
- Maintain normal blood sugar levels
- Take your BP medicines regularly
- Consult your doctor for regular blood pressure check ups