A Brief Guide To Blood Pressure

The force of circulating blood pushing against the wall of arteries is blood pressure. It is produced due to the contraction of the heart muscle. It is important because without blood pressure oxygen and nutrients would not be pushed around the circulatory system to nourish tissue and organs. It is also vital as it delivers white blood cells and antibodies for immunity and hormones such as insulin. Blood pressure is taken by two measurements: systolic and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the top number on your reading. It measures the force of blood against your artery walls while your ventricles, the lower two chambers of your heart squeeze, pushing blood out to the rest of your body. Diastolic pressure is the bottom number on your reading. It measures the force of blood against your artery walls as your heart relaxes and the ventricles are allowed to refill with blood. At the time when your heart relaxes between the beats is also the time when your coronary artery can supply blood to your heart.

Symptoms of High blood pressure

Unless you are in a hypertensive crisis, high blood pressure does not show symptoms. It is known as a ‘silent killer’ because it quietly damages your blood vessels and organs, and you may not realize you have it until the damage is done. Unmanaged high  blood pressure can lead to:

 

  • Heart failure
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Vision problems
  • Vision loss
  • Kidney disease
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Aneurysm

Symptoms of Low blood pressure

Symptoms of low blood pressure include:

  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Falling
  • Loss of balance
  • Nausea
  • Thirst
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Shallow breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Clammy skin
  • Bluish tinged skin

Causes of high blood pressure

There are two types of high blood pressure primary and secondary. In most people when there is no identifiable cause of high blood pressure, it is called primary hypertension that tends to develop gradually over many years. Some people have high blood pressure caused by an underlying condition. This type of high blood pressure called secondary hypertension tends to appear suddenly and cause higher blood pressure than primary hypertension. Various conditions and medications can lead to secondary hypertension that includes:

  • Diabetes
  • Long term kidney infections
  • Kidney disease

Medicine that can increase your blood pressure include: 

  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Thyroid problems
  • Obstructive sleep apnoea – where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, interrupting normal breathing
  • Glomerulonephritis – damage to the tiny filters inside the kidneys.
  • Narrowing of the arteries supplying the kidneys
  • Hormone problems – such as underactive thyroid, an overactive thyroid, Cushing’s syndrome, acromegaly, increased levels of the hormone aldosterone, and pheochromocytoma
  • Lupus is a condition in which the immune system attacks parts of the body, such as the skin, joints, and organs.
  • Scleroderma – a condition that causes thickened skin and sometimes problems with organs and blood pressures.
  • The contraceptive pill
  • Steroids
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen.
  • Some pharmacy cough and cold remedies
  • Some herbal remedies – particularly those containing licorice
  • Some recreational drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines
  • Some selective serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors antidepressants such as venlafaxine.

In such cases, your blood pressure may return to normal once you stop taking the medicine or drug.

Causes of low blood pressure

In some cases, Low blood pressure may cause no problems. But, for many people abnormally low blood pressure can cause dizziness and fainting. In severe cases, low blood pressure can be life-threatening. The causes of low blood pressure can range from dehydration to serious medical disorders.

Conditions that can cause low blood pressure include:

  • Heart problems: some heart conditions that can lead to low blood pressure include extremely low heart rate, heart valve problems, heart attack, and heart failure.
  • Endocrine problems: Parathyroid disease, adrenal insufficiency, low blood sugar, and in some cases diabetes can trigger low blood pressure.
  • Dehydration: when your body loses more water than it takes in, it can cause weakness, dizziness, and fatigue. Fever, vomiting, severe diarrhea. Overuse of diuretics and strenuous exercise can lead to dehydration.
  • Blood loss: losing a lot of blood, such as from a major injury or internal bleeding, reduces the amount of blood in your body, leading to a severe drop in blood pressure.
  • Severe infection: when an infection in the body enters the bloodstream, it can lead to a life-threatening drop in blood pressure called septic look.
  • Severe allergic reaction: Common triggers of this potentially life-threatening reaction include food, certain medications, insect venom latex. Anaphylaxis can cause breathing problems, hives, itching, a swollen throat, and a high drop in blood pressure.
  • Pregnancy: Due to the rapid expansion of the circulatory system during pregnancy, blood pressure is likely to drop. This is normal as the blood pressure usually returns to your pre-pregnancy level after your birth.
  • Lack of nutrients in your diet: a lack of vitamin B-12, folate, and iron can keep your body from producing enough red blood cells, causing low blood pressure.

Medicine that can lower your blood pressure include:

  • Water pills, such as furosemide and hydrochlorothiazide
  • Alpha-blockers, such as prazosin
  • Beta-blockers, such as atenolol and propranolol
  • Drugs for Parkinson’s disease, such as pramipexole or those containing levodopa
  • Certain types of antidepressants, including doxepin and imipramine
  • Drugs for erectile dysfunction, including sildenafil or tadalafil particularly when taken with the heart medication nitroglycerin

Consult your doctor before picking up any kind of medication or precaution for hypertension or heart disease is highly appreciated. Nowadays, you can talk to a doctor online and get your online heart medication delivered to your doorstep.

Precautions to prevent you from high blood pressure

High blood pressure can be prevented by eating healthy, maintaining a healthy weight, taking regular exercise, avoiding alcohol and smoking. Some reasons by which you can prevent yourself from having low pressure include:

  • Healthy diet: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid taking large amounts of salt.
  • Limit your alcohol intake: Drinking too much alcohol regularly can raise your blood pressure over time.
  • Lose weight: Being overweight forces your heart to work harder to pump blood around your body, which can raise your blood pressure.
  • Get active: Try to exercise regularly as it lowers the blood pressure by keeping your heart and blood vessels in good condition.
  • Stop smoking: smoking does not cause high blood pressure directly but it puts you at much higher risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Precautions to prevent you from low blood pressure

You can prevent your low blood pressure depending on its reason.

  • Exercise regularly: Exercise for 30 to 60 minutes a day that raises your heart rate and resistance exercises two or three days a week. Avoid exercising in hot and humid conditions.
  • Proper Diet: To help prevent low blood pressure try to eat small portions several times a day and limit yourself from intaking high carbohydrate foods such as potatoes, rice, pasta, and bread. Your doctor may suggest you drink one or two strong cups of caffeinated coffee or tea with breakfast. Avoid drinking caffeine throughout the day because you will become less sensitive to caffeine and it can cause dehydration.
  • Pay attention to your body positions: Move gently from a prone or squatting position to a standing position. Don’t sit with your legs crossed. If you begin to get symptoms of low blood pressure while standing, cross your thighs in a scissors fashion and squeeze or put one foot on a ledge or chair and lean as far forward as possible. These moves encourage blood flow from your legs to your heart.
  • Drink less alcohol and more water: Alcohol is dehydrating and can lower blood pressure, even if you drink in moderation. On the other hand, water fights dehydration and increases blood volume.

Treatment for high and low blood pressure:

For high blood pressure :

Lifestyle changes and regular exercises can help to treat high blood pressure. Some of the suggested lifestyle changes by the physicians are as follows:

  • Eat a low sodium and low-fat diet such as the dash diet.
  • Avoid too much stress.
  • Eat foods rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium such as bananas and milk.
  • Regular monitoring of blood pressure after reaching the age of 35 years.
  • Practice meditation and stress-relieving exercises.
  • Cut down on caffeine
  • Medications prescribed by physicians are Diuretics, ACE inhibitors, Alpha-blockers, Beta-Blockers.

For low blood pressure:

Low blood pressure can be treated using the following methods:

  • Consume lots of water and limit alcoholic drinks.
  • Exercise regularly to encourage blood flow.
  • Avoid standing for a prolonged time.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to hot water such as saunas, hot water springs, and spas.
  • Medications such as fludrocortisone or midodrine may also help to treat low blood pressure.

1 thought on “A Brief Guide To Blood Pressure”

  1. Pingback: ufabtb

Leave a Comment