High Blood Pressure and You: What You Need To Know

March 4, 2020

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Most of us are, at the very least, aware of the fact that blood pressure plays a part in our health and well-being. However, unless we have had specific intervention with regard to blood pressure issues, the chances are that we don’t know precisely what it affects, how we can control it and even what exactly it measures. Given that it has such a big role in our everyday health, this is something that should be addressed. Below, we will go into some fine detail about the issue and give some clarity for people concerned that they may have blood pressure problems.

What exactly is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is, technically, a numerical evaluation of the pressure felt in your blood vessels when your heart contracts and then relaxes, pumping blood around your body. The number you see when it is tested is displayed as two readings: the systolic, the pressure when the heart contracts, and the diastolic, a lower number which denotes the pressure when it relaxes.

What is a high blood pressure score?
Blood pressure readings should be taken by a medical professional who can ensure that you are sat in the correct posture, and who will be able to take appropriate action should there be any cause for concern. That said, if you test at home and get a score that is higher than 140/90 (so if the systolic is higher than 140 or the diastolic higher than 90, or both), you should seek a doctor’s appointment for a more regulated check.

What harm can high blood pressure do?
The impacts of high blood pressure are not always immediate, although it can cause headaches and a feeling of general tension. In the long term, it can however be very damaging, leading to a higher risk of strokes and heart attacks which could mean you need a cardiovascular surgeon to help you live a normal life, affecting the performance of organs such as the liver and kidneys, and high blood pressure has been associated with conditions such as dementia, although a definitive link with the latter has yet to be made.

What can cause high blood pressure, and what can I do?
There are various causes of high blood pressure (hypertension), but the main ones are: stress; obesity; diet; and other lifestyle factors such as medication. It therefore follows that you can make a difference by:
  • Addressing the causes of stress and potentially seeking counselling
  • Adopting weight reduction techniques and seeking out weight loss surgery in severe cases 
  • Cutting out foods that cause elevated blood pressure - this includes any food with a high salt content, as well as alcohol
  • Discussing any medications you are on with your doctor, potentially replacing them with an alternative if they have the side-effect of causing hypertension.

What about low blood pressure?
Low blood pressure is anything beneath 90/60; it is known as hypotension, and is rare. In fact, a low reading can be good news. Many people with low blood pressure will outlive those with high or even average scores. It can, however, cause fainting and be a sign of other illnesses such as malnutrition or infection. If you should feel faint, or take a home blood pressure test and see a low score, it is worth making an appointment to discuss it with a doctor.

*contributed post*
*disclaimer: Caravan Sonnet website is not a medical doctor- always consult with a physician for all medical questions, including blood pressure*

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