Everything About Blood Pressure And Its Measurement

Heart is the organ that is responsible for pumping blood to other parts of the body, in both humans and other animals. Blood carries out the duties of supplying oxygen and other nutrients to the cells in the body and removing metabolic wastes. 

 

blood pressure

 

What is meant by blood pressure?


Blood is pumped around the body through arteries when the heart beats. In a normal person heart beats between 60-70 times per minute and blood is pumped with each such beat. The movement of blood causes pressure on the walls of the arteries and blood vessels. The pressure thus felt on the walls is called blood pressure. As you are aware, the heart beats less when you rest or sleep.  The heart beat increases when you are excited or do exercise. As the blood pressure goes up, it puts extra pressure on the walls of arteries and heart. High blood pressure leads to heart attacks and strokes

What are the different types of blood pressures?
 

There are two types of blood pressures:
 

Systolic Blood Pressure: When the heart beats, pumping of blood takes place and the pressure is at its highest. This pressure is called systolic pressure. 
 

Diastolic Blood Pressure:  Between two heart beats, the heart is at rest. During these periods blood pumping does not take place and the pressure on the walls of blood vessels is less. This blood pressure is mentioned as diastolic pressure.  
 

Both types of pressures are important as far as the functioning of the body is considered.
 

blood pressure 1

 

How is blood pressure mentioned? 
 

Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). It is mentioned as two numbers, like 120/80 mmHg. The top number (120) represents the systolic pressure and bottom number (80) represents diastolic pressure. The above blood pressure is read as “120 over 80”. 120/80 is considered as normal blood pressure while 140/90 or more is considered as high blood pressure. Even one of the two numbers going out of range indicates irregular blood pressure.
 

The blood pressure varies during day time depending on the activity in which you are engaged. It is less when you take rest. At that time, it may be lower than 120/80. Blood pressure increases when you work. When the pressure reads 140/90 or more, it denotes high blood pressure. It means your heart is over burdened and that the pressure on your arteries is more. It leads to failure of vital organs in the body. 
 

Keeping blood pressure below normal is ideal. High blood pressure usually does not give any symptoms or indications. The only way to know whether you have high blood pressure is by measuring it. 
 

Categories of blood pressure for adults of 18 years or over are as shown below:

 

Category

Systolic

(Top number)

Diastolic

(Bottom Number)

Normal

Less than 120

Less than 80

Prehypertension

120-139

80-89

High Blood Pressure

Stage-I

 

140-159

 

90-99

High Blood Pressure

Stage-II

 

160 or higher

 

100 or higher

 

There are exceptions in the above categorization. These measures are applicable when the person is not under medication or free of short term or long term illness.

 
Blood pressure is measured using
sphygmomanometers. The pressure at the upper arm is normally taken. 
 

What leads to high blood pressure?
 

So far no single specific cause for high blood pressure has been identified. There are chances of developing high blood pressure if you


•    Eat more salt
•    Avoid fruits and vegetables
•    Do not
exercise or are overweight
•    Enjoy too much alcohol. 

 

As age increases, normally blood pressure also increases. Family history also plays a role in developing high blood pressure. 
 

What are the impacts of high blood pressure?
 

High blood pressure causes strain on your heart and blood vessels and damages organs.  It leads to:


•    Heart attacks and heart failures
•    Strokes and
dementia
•    Kidney failures
•    Peripheral arterial diseases affecting legs. 

 

Diabetics or high cholesterol increases the risks associated with high blood pressure. 


Compared to high blood pressure, low  pressure is less damaging. Sometimes, low blood pressure leads to feeling of weakness or dizziness. 

How can blood pressure be controlled?

 

Healthy lifestyle is the best option to control blood pressure. You may take care of


•    Reducing the salt intake
•    Increasing the portion of vegetables and
fruits in diet. 
•    Doing
regular exercises and activities
•    Choosing low fat low calorie foods and reducing alcohol intake and
•    Keeping
body weight under control

Elizabeth Paul

 

 

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