Blood pressure is the pressure created by the heart as it pumps blood through the arteries and the circulatory system.
What blood pressure numbers mean
- Top number (Systolic)= Pressure while heart is beating.
- Bottom number (Diastolic)= Pressure while heart is resting between beats.
Normal Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure (hypertension)
What High Blood Pressure Does to the Body
High blood pressure puts you at a higher risk for the following:
- Congestive heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Heart attack
- Heart rhythm problems
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure usually has NO SYMPTOMS!! Because of this it is sometimes referred to as “The Silent Killer”.
How to tell if you might have high blood pressure:
- Blurry vision
- Chest Pain
- Frequent urination at night
Causes of High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure develops when certain nerve impulses cause arteries to become larger (dilate) or smaller (contract). If vessels are wide open blood flows easily. If vessels narrow pressure inside increases causing hypertension. The cause of vessels narrowing is unknown in 90 to 95% of cases. This is called Primary Hypertension. In 5 to 10% of cases, the cause of vessel narrowing comes from another condition. This is called Secondary Hypertension. Some common conditions that can cause secondary hypertension are:
- Kidney Abnormalities
- Narrowing of certain arteries
- Rare tumors
- Adrenal gland abnormalities
Risk Factors of High Blood PressureRisk Factors You Can’t Control
Uncontrollable risk factors are inherent to you and cannot be changed. They include:
- Men between age 35 and 50
- Women after menopause
Risk Factors You Can Control
Controllable risk factors are lifestyle choices that increase the risk of high blood pressure. They include:
- Increased salt intake
- Alcohol consumption
- Lack of exercise
Women and High Bood Pressure
Women are particularly at risk for hypertension due to the following:
- Birth Control Pill
- After Menopause
What You Can Do to Reduce the Risk of Hypertension
High blood pressure is a lifelong disease. It can be controlled, but not cured. Controlling blood pressure will reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease. The following lifestyle changes will help you reduce your risk:
- Lose weight if your overweight
- Get regular physical activity
- Avoid excessive alcohol
- Stop smoking
- Manage your stress
- Decrease salt intake
- Eat for heart health
- Discuss the use of oral contraceptives with your doctor
- Discuss the use of some medications with your doctor
- Follow the Ten Commandments for Blood Pressure Control
The Ten Commandments for Blood Pressure Control
- Know your blood pressure. Have it checked regularly.
- Know what your weight should be. Keep it at that level or below.
- Don’t use excessive salt in cooking or at meals. Avoid salty foods.
- Eat a low-fat diet
- According to AHA regulations, don’t smoke cigarettes or use tobacco products.
- Take your medicine exactly as prescribed. Don’t run out of pills even for a single day.
- Keep your appointments with the doctor.
- Follow your doctors advice about exercise.
- Make certain family members have their blood pressure checked regularly.
- Live a normal life in every other way!
- Diuretics — Rid the body of excess fluids and salt.
- Beta-blockers — Reduce the heart rate and the work of the heart.
- Calcium antagonists — Reduce heart rate and relax blood vessels.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ACE) — Interfere with the bodies production of angiotensin, a chemical that causes the arteries to constrict (narrow).
- Vasodialators — Cause the muscle in the wall of the blood vessels to relax, allowing the vessel to dialate (widen).
- Sympathetic nerve inhibitors — Sympathetic nerves go from the brain to all parts of the body, including the arteries. They cause arteries to constrict raising blood pressure. These drugs reduce blood pressure by inhibiting these nerves from constricting blood vessels.
Blood Pressure Measurement
Blood pressure is measured using a sphygmomanometer. There are two numbers in a bood pressure reading.
- Systolic pressure= pressure when 1st sound is heard
- Diastolic pressure= pressure when last sound is heard
In order to get an accurate measurement, the size of the blood pressure cuff should be appropriate.
- Small — children and small adults
- Large — overweight and large adults
American Heart Association Recommended Blood Pressure Levels
Copyright Akwa Wellness
Home Blood Pressure Monitoring
- Standard for BP monitoring
- No calibration
- May be bulky
- Need a second person to use machine
- May be difficult for hearing impaired or patients with arthritis
- Inexpensive, lightweight and portable
- Two person operation/need stethoscope
- Delicate mechanism, easily damaged
- Needs calibration with mercury sphygmomanometer
- Contained in one unit
- Portable with easy-to-read digital display
- Expensive, fragile
- Must be calibrated
- Requires careful cuff placement
Drs. Christiaan Janssens MBA
CRO Akwa Wellness
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