ABCs of Blood Pressure

Dr. Pradeep Aggarwal    03-10-2016 Consult

In this world of rat race and never ending thirst for power and money, there has been a tremendous increase in the victims of blood pressure in the world, lately! Blood pressure is exactly what it sounds like: the pressure in your blood vessels. With a normal amount of blood, a healthy heart and healthy, elastic blood vessels, you'll experience a normal blood pressure.

Low blood pressure can make you feel dizzy, especially right when you stand up from having been seated. This is usually harmless and can be the result of dehydration or salt deficiency. Mildly or moderately elevated blood pressure will rarely give obvious symptoms (a light headache might occur sometimes). A very high blood pressure can give severe headaches, fatigue and nausea. High blood pressure is the result of an increased amount of liquid and salt in the blood, and also of the blood vessel walls being thicker and harder than normal. As high blood pressure often goes unnoticed, it's common for people to live with it unawares for some time. As it's a risk factor, it may be wise to check your blood pressure every few years, even if you're feeling healthy in general. This advice is especially directed towards people who are middle-aged or older, as high blood pressure is more common with age.

How is Blood Pressure measured?
Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers. The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body. The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels. They're both measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
As a general guide:

  1. high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher
  2. ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg
  3. low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower

A blood pressure reading between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you're at risk of developing high blood pressure if you don't take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.

Risks of high blood pressure
If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes. Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, such as:

  1. heart disease
  2. heart attacks
  3. strokes
  4. heart failure
  5. peripheral arterial disease
  6. kidney disease

If you have high blood pressure, reducing it even a small amount can help lower your risk of these conditions.
Know more about Risks of High Blood Pressure. 

Causes of high blood pressure
It's not always clear what causes high blood pressure, but certain things can increase your risk. You're at an increased risk of high blood pressure if you:

  1. are over the age of 65
  2. are overweight or obese
  3. have a relative with high blood pressure
  4. eat too much salt and don't eat enough fruit and vegetables
  5. don't do enough exercise
  6. drink too much alcohol or coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks)
  7. smoke
  8. don't get much sleep or have disturbed sleep

Solution: Making healthy lifestyle changes can help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it's already high.

Reduce your blood pressure
The following lifestyle changes can help prevent and lower high blood pressure:

  1. reduce the amount of salt you eat and have a generally healthy diet
  2. cut back on alcohol if you drink too much
  3. lose weight if you're overweight
  4. exercise regularly
  5. cut down on caffeine
  6. stop smoking
  7. try to get at least six hours of sleep a night

Low Blood Pressure: Symptoms
The symptoms of low blood pressure include light-headedness, dizziness, and fainting. These symptoms are most prominent when individuals go from the lying or sitting position to the standing position (orthostatic hypotension) . Low Blood Pressure that causes an inadequate flow of blood to the body's organs can cause strokes, heart attacks, and kidney failure. It's most severe form is shock.

Elevate your blood Pressure:

  1. Salt Water: Salt water helps treat low blood pressure because the sodium in salt increases blood pressure. Do not overdo this remedy though, as excess salt can prove to be unhealthy. Simply mix one-half teaspoon of salt in a glass of water and drink it. You can also drink sports beverages.
  2. Coffee: Having a cup of strong coffee, hot chocolate, cola, or any caffeinated beverage can also temporarily increase your blood pressure. If you frequently suffer from low blood pressure, drink a cup of coffee in the morning or have it along with meals, especially when dealing with orthostatic hypotension. But, do not make it a habit because the long-term effects of caffeine are not clear.

Try and relax your nerves in any of the two situations and E- Consult our highly experienced Doctors for expert medications!