Blood pressure is the term measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). It can be measured on any day or when the body is at rest. As your heart pumps blood around your body to provide oxygen to your cells. This pumping of blood puts pressure on the walls of your blood vessels which is referred to as blood pressure.
Blood pressure goes up and down throughout the day depending on the strength of the heart pumping, the overall blood volume, and the resistance in the blood vessels.
A person's blood pressure varies as their heart muscle contracts and relaxes, hence the blood pressure results are in pairs of 2. The readings are always given in pairs, with the upper (systolic) value first, followed by the lower (diastolic) value.
What is Systolic?
Systolic pressure is exerted when blood is ejected into arteries.
The normal range of Systolic Pressure in an adult is below 120mmHg.
What is Diastolic?
It is the pressure on the blood vessels when the heart muscle relaxes.
The normal range of Diastolic Pressure in an adult is below 80.
For example, if your systolic pressure is 120 and your diastolic pressure is 70 the blood pressure is recorded as 120 over 70.
This range indicates about two factors:
High Blood Pressure and Low Blood Pressure
What is High Blood Pressure?
High Blood Pressure is also known as Hypertension. It means your heart is working harder to move blood around the body. As normal systolic pressure is between 90 and 120 and normal diastolic pressure is between 60 and 80. A reading regularly above 140 over 90 is called high blood pressure or hypertension.
It is one of the most common problems faced worldwide. It is estimated that at least one in four adults in India has hypertension but only about 12% of them have their blood pressure under control.
As the blood flows through our bodies, it creates a force against the wall of the blood vessels, this force rises and falls with every heartbeat. In active or stressful situations, the heart beats faster and the blood vessels narrow, raising blood pressure. Higher Blood pressure is considered a hypertensive emergency or crisis because if untreated it can lead to serious medical issues.
Types of Hypertension:
(SBP- Systolic blood pressure; DBP- Diastolic blood pressure)
SBP should be under 120 mmHg and DBP should be under 80 mmHg.
SBP 120 to 129mmHg and/or DBP 80 to 84mmHg are considered normal.
SBP 130 to 139 mmHg or DBP 85 to 89 mmHg are considered high normal.
SBP 140 to 159mmHg and/or DBP 90 to 99mmHg are considered grade 1 hypertension.
SBP 160 to 179mmHg and/or DBP 100 to 109mmHg are considered grade 2 hypertension.
SBP more than or equal to 180mmHg and/or DBP greater than or equal to 110mmHg are considered grade 3 hypertension.
Isolated systolic hypertension: In cases of isolated systolic hypertension, the systolic pressure increases to levels exceeding 140, but the diastolic pressure stays below 90, within the normal range. This kind of hypertension, which affects those over 65 more frequently, is brought on by a loss in the arteries' elasticity. Systolic pressure greatly outweighs diastolic pressure when it comes to predicting an older person's risk of cardiovascular disease.
Malignant hypertension: When your blood pressure increases dramatically, malignant hypertension sets in. You may have malignant hypertension if your diastolic pressure is greater than 130. This is a medical emergency that requires hospital treatment.
Resistant hypertension: may develop in 20–30% of people with high blood pressure situations. In addition to having a hereditary component, resistant hypertension is more common in those who are older, obese, female, African American, or who have underlying medical disorders including diabetes or kidney disease.
Risk factors can be as follows:
Drinking too much alcohol
Hypertension can also be caused because of ethnic family background, medications, or other health conditions.
Consequences of High Blood Pressure:
As the heart has to pump harder to pump blood around the body it can also lead to heart failure.
What is Low Blood Pressure?
Low Blood Pressure is also known as Hypotension, the opposite of hypertension.
A blood pressure that is lower than 90 millimeters of mercury mmHg for the top number systolic and 60 mmHg for the bottom number diastolic is generally considered low blood pressure.
Having low blood pressure is good in most cases but sometimes it can cause tiredness or dizziness. As such it can be an underlying condition that needs to be treated. On the other hand, it can deprive the brain as well as other body vitals of oxygen and nutrients which may lead to life-threatening conditions such as shock.
Dizziness or Lightheadedness
Blurred or fading vision
Tachycardia which occurs due to shock
Bradycardia (slow heart rate)
Clammy skin or pale skin
Lack of concentration
Health conditions that can cause low blood pressure include:
Severe allergic reactions
Lack of nutrients
Blood pressure if neglected can lead to serious issues due to which maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be of great benefit in one's life. Waiting for the symptoms to occur could be of risk hence monitoring blood pressure could lead to a happy and fruitful life.