It is quite common to hear Nigerians say, “don’t stress yourself; do you want to have a high B.P.?” It sure works as a means of pacification because people know the severity of this condition.
Having normal blood pressure is essential to living a healthy life. This is because when the pressure that forces the blood to flow around the circulatory system is not present, nutrients or oxygen cannot be delivered through the arteries to the organs and tissues. Blood pressure is a vital health number; it can be dangerous when it is too high or too low.
Here, you will discover what blood pressure is, the meaning of high and low blood pressure and how blood pressure is measured.
What does blood pressure mean?
Blood pressure is the push that distributes blood through the circulatory system. It is vital to life because, without it, oxygen and other compounds needed in the body cannot move around the circulatory system to fortify organs and body tissues. Blood pressure is also responsible for delivering antibodies for immunity and hormones like insulin.
What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure, commonly known as hypertension, occurs when blood pressure increases or spikes up to unhealthy levels. Common causes of high blood pressure include kidney disease, heart defects, use of hard drugs, alcohol abuse, and problems with your thyroid.
What is low blood pressure?
Low blood pressure, which causes dizziness or fainting, happens when the brain does not receive enough blood. Low blood pressure has causes that are not associated with underlying diseases. These causes include side effects of medications and a family history of low blood pressure.
Blood pressure measurement and readings
The device used to measure and monitor blood pressure is called a sphygmomanometer. It consists of a rubber armband and the cuff inflated by a mechanical pump or hand. To check your blood pressure, the cuff is inflated to stop the pulse, and then a reading is taken. The reading is then spelt out in terms of the pressure it takes to move mercury around a tube to force.
A stethoscope helps to identify the exact point when the pulse sound returns and when the cuff’s pressure is gradually released. The stethoscope assists the person measuring to listen for two points – systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. For instance, the reading is then given as 120 over 80 mm Hg.
The systolic pressure, which is the higher figure, is caused by the heart’s contraction. The diastolic number signifies the reduced pressure in the arteries during the resting period between heartbeats.
Blood pressure readings
Normal blood pressure: The reading is less than 120/80 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg).
Elevated blood pressure: The systolic figure is in the 120 and 129 mm Hg range, while the diastolic is lower than 80 mm Hg.
Stage 1 hypertension: The systolic number is around 130 and 139 mm Hg, and the diastolic number is between 80 and 89 mm Hg range.
Stage 2 hypertension: The systolic digits are 140 mm Hg or higher, and the diastolic is 90 mm Hg or higher.
Hypertensive crisis: The systolic is above 180 mm Hg, while the diastolic range is over 120 mm Hg. This requires urgent treatment.
Tips to Help you Maintain a Normal Blood Pressure
Maintain a healthy weight
Your blood pressure spikes when your weight increases. This is because being overweight contributes to unmatched breathing anytime you are asleep. This signifies sleep apnea (a condition that can increase your blood pressure). Now, losing as little as 2.2 pounds (1kg) can reduce your blood pressure by 1 mm Hg.
Eat foods such as vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy.
Eating vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy products can reduce your cholesterol level. If you have high blood pressure, foods rich in potassium (vegetables and fruits) can cushion the effects sodium (excess salt) has on your blood pressure.
Cut down on salt or sodium in your diet.
Eliminating sodium-rich foods and reducing salt intake can help lower your blood pressure. Salt reduction may cut down your numbers by 5 mm Hg. See labels of processed foods and drinks to identify those rich in sodium. Also, replace salt with spices and herbs.
Engage in aerobic exercises, such as brisk walking
Consider engaging in physical activities if your blood pressure is high. Exercises such as jogging, walking, swimming, and cycling can help you get through. Ensure that you are consistent with these activities so that your blood pressure would not see an increase.
Reduce alcohol intake
Drinking excess alcohol is a NO for anyone with high blood pressure. Alcohol can destroy the effectiveness of your blood pressure medications. Being overly drunk can also shoot up your blood pressure numbers.
Chronic stress is one contributory factor to high blood pressure. If your blood pressure shoots up regularly, try to distance yourself from whatever gives you stress. Also, ensure that you participate in fun and enjoyable activities and create time for relaxation.
You must monitor your blood pressure. This helps you identify significant increase or decrease. If symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or headache occur, please call a doctor on Doctall immediately.