High Blood Pressure & Low Blood Pressure

Understanding High Blood Pressure & Low Blood Pressure

To keep a close eye on your health, you need to measure some of the vital signs regularly, and perhaps no sign is as crucial as blood pressure. We can live only as long as blood is running under enough pressure in our blood vessels. Both high blood pressure and low blood pressure can be indicators of ill health; they may indicate that something is gravely wrong with the cardiovascular system. Whatever is the underlying cause of illness, in the end, most people get hospitalized or die due to cardiac failure.

“Time is life itself, and life resides in the human heart” –Michael Ende

The heart is genuinely fantastic organ. This sturdiest of the organs is just a size of your fist, it pumps about 280 liters of blood in an hour, or more than 2.6 million liters per year, non-stop. Each heartbeat has to ensure that blood keeps moving through the blood vessels with a combined length of more than 100, 000 km. For comparison, the circumference of the earth at the equator is 40, 000 km.

Thus one can understand how complicated is the cardiovascular system. Blood pressure tells us how well the organs are being supplied with oxygen and nutrients. Slow down indicates poor supply and risk of death due to starvation, while high pressure increases the risk of breakage. Since blood vessels are so long, any minor change in their properties can be seen as changes in the blood pressure. Low blood pressure may be either due to poor working of heart or relaxed blood vessel or deficit of blood. While high blood pressure happens when the heart is over-working, or blood vessels have constricted (or became stiff), or blood is too viscous.

Every home must own a blood pressure measuring device.

For enjoying good health, it is important that person is able to identify the symptoms of alterations in blood pressure. It is also essential that person has a blood pressure measuring device at home so that one does not need to keep guessing.

Blood pressure problems are widespread, almost one-third of adults have some kind of issues with blood pressure. Fortunately, medicine has progressed a lot, and timely recognition of problem may help in its appropriate remedy.

High blood pressure

The most common problem of the cardiovascular system. Stiffening of arteries is the most common reason behind. Thickened/hardened arteries force the heart to work harder and thus increasing the risk of heart failure.

So what is high blood pressure?

Well, consider your blood pressure as normal if the reading is below 120 (systolic) and 80 (diastolic). Borderline as per latest recommendation is when upper or systolic reading is between 120-129 and diastolic still below 80. Borderline means that one needs to change lifestyle else there is a risk of developing hypertension very soon, it is last chance to correct things without medications.

If blood pressure is above 130 – systolic OR above 80 – diastolic, person is hypertensive. Higher are the figures; greater is the risk of damage to the heart or blood vessels.

Upper numbers usually indicate the stiffening of arteries, while a lower number shows how hard the heart is working (or overworking).  Both, increase in upper reading, and lower reading increases the risk of death due to ischemic cardiac diseaseHigh blood pressure also escalates the risk of stroke.

What are the signs/warning signs of high blood pressure?

Well, most people would be able to feel the changes in their blood pressure, though some are more sensitive to these changes than others. Increase in blood pressure would be perceived as headaches (often backside of the head), fatigue, worsening of vision, chest pain, pounding in the chest.

If you have any of the symptoms, measure your blood pressure immediately. In case one finds that readings are higher than normal, it is better to seek immediate medical attention. Treatment is must for any level of hypertension, as you may get complications even on mild hypertension.

Low blood pressure

It is another side of the coin, although it is less prevalent, but in some cases, it could be an indicator of graver health issues. After all, it is the fall in blood pressure that finally kills individuals.

Definition for Low blood pressure is as readings below 90 –systolic, or 60 – diastolic. If blood pressure is below these readings, seek medical advice on an emergency basis.

Some of the frequent causes of low blood pressure are pregnancy, heart problems, hormonal problems, dehydration, blood loss (abdominal bleeding), severe infection, malnutrition. Some medications may also cause unexpected fall in blood pressure.

Symptoms of low blood pressure are dizziness, fainting, extreme weakness, and the person is at risk of falling.

Some people may have a blackout on standing suddenly due to a condition called Orthostatic hypotension. These are people with normal blood pressure. However, their body fails to adapt to changing posture. It happens due to hormonal changes (like in puberty) or due to diseases of the autonomic nervous system.

Hypertension is the silent killer as people often continue to neglect it. They do not take medications or other measures since it is rarely dangerous in short run. However, unmanaged hypertension would inevitably result in the decreased lifespan due to various long-term cardiovascular complications.

Hence for longer life, measure blood pressure more often. Practice natural methods for managing high blood pressure like stress management, low salt intake, and regular exercise. At the same time be familiar with low blood pressure and how to manage it.

Published by

Dr. Aleksandar Grbovic

Hi! My name is Aleksandar Grbovic. I’m a radiology resident with five years of experience in General Medicine. As a medical writer, I have only one goal in my mind - to bridge the gap between doctors and patients point of view by breaking down complex medical topics and presenting them in lay people language. Knowing that my writing might help someone out there connect the dots is what keeps me motivated.

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