Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood throughout the body. It’s expressed as two digits and is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg):

Systolic pressure: This is the uppermost figure, and it indicates the pressure within the arteries during a heartbeat and blood pumping.

The bottom number, or diastolic pressure, indicates the pressure in the arteries during a heartbeat’s rest.

When a blood pressure reading is 120/80 mmHg, for instance—or “120 over 80″—it signifies a diastolic pressure of 80 and a systolic pressure of 120.

What do blood pressure readings tell you?

Blood pressure readings provide important information about the health and function of your cardiovascular system. Here’s what they can tell you:

  1. Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: High blood pressure (hypertension) is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. Monitoring your blood pressure can help assess your risk and guide preventive measures.
  2. Heart Health: Blood pressure readings reflect how well your heart is working. Elevated blood pressure can indicate that your heart is working harder than it should to pump blood throughout your body.
  3. Artery Health: High blood pressure can cause damage to the arteries over time, leading to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  4. Kidney Function: The kidneys play a crucial role in regulating blood pressure by controlling the volume of fluid in the body and releasing hormones that regulate blood pressure. Abnormal blood pressure readings can indicate kidney problems.

A step-by-step guide to checking your blood pressure manually

A stethoscope, a sphygmomanometer, and a blood pressure cuff are needed for the straightforward process of manually taking your blood pressure. Here’s a detailed how-to:

Step 1: Get ready
Choose a Comfortable Position
: Take a seat in a chair with your feet flat on the ground, your arm resting at your heart, and your back supported.

Unwind: Give yourself five minutes to rest before taking your blood pressure. Before measuring, abstain from smoking, coffee, and physical activity for at least half an hour.

Set Up Equipment: Make that the blood pressure cuff and stethoscope are correctly assembled and in good working order.

Step 2: Find Your Heart
Locate the Brachial Artery: Find the brachial artery pulse point on the inside of your elbow. To locate it, use your middle and index fingers.
Third Step: Use the Cuff

Place the Cuff: About an inch above the elbow crease, wrap the cuff over your upper arm. Not too tight, but just right for the cuff.

Align the Artery Marker: Make sure your brachial artery is covered by the artery marker on the cuff.

Step 4: Let the Cuff swell
Close the Valve: Turn the sphygmomanometer’s bulb valve clockwise to ensure that it is closed.

Pump the Bulb: Squeeze the bulb with your dominant hand to force air into the cuff. To approximate 30 mmHg above your typical systolic pressure, inflate the cuff.

Step 5: Let the Cuff Drop
Slide the Valve Open: To release the air in the cuff, slowly rotate the valve anticlockwise. Two to three mmHg should be lost from the pressure each second.

As the stethoscope deflates, place it over the brachial artery and listen for any sounds. These are the sounds produced by your heartbeat during the systolic and diastolic phases.

Take Note of the Readings: Take note of the sphygmomanometer’s pressure readings at the beginning of a beat (systolic) and the end of the beat (diastolic).

Step 6: Take a reading of your pulse rate
Note the Numbers: The diastolic pressure (the lower number) should be written down after the systolic pressure (the greater number).

Repeat if Necessary: Wait two to three minutes and repeat the procedure if you require greater accuracy or if your reading is unusual.

Step 7: Evaluate Your Findings
Normal Blood Pressure: A reading of 120/80 mmHg is generally considered normal.

Hypertension: When your readings continuously register at 130/80 mmHg or above, you are diagnosed with hypertension or high blood pressure.

Hypotension: When your readings are regularly less than 90/60 mmHg, you are diagnosed with hypotension or low blood pressure.

See a Physician: For additional assessment and guidance, seek medical attention from a healthcare provider if your blood pressure is habitually high or low.

What’s considered a normal or healthy blood pressure range?

Having a systolic pressure (the top number) below 120 mm Hg and a diastolic pressure (the bottom number) below 80 mm Hg is commonly used to describe a normal or healthy blood pressure range; this is sometimes shortened to “120/80 mm Hg.” This is based on recommendations from medical agencies and organizations such as the American Heart Association (AHA).

Less than 120/80 mm Hg is normal.
Elevated: diastolic less than 80 mm Hg and systolic between 120 and 129 mm Hg

Stage 1 hypertension: diastolic pressure of 80–89 mm Hg or systolic pressure of 130–139 mm Hg
Stage 2 hypertension: minimum diastolic 90 mm Hg or minimum systolic 140 mm Hg
Crisis of Hypertension: either the diastolic or systolic pressure exceeds 120 mm Hg.

Blood pressure chart:

Here’s a general blood pressure chart that shows the different categories of blood pressure:

CategorySystolic (mm Hg)Diastolic (mm Hg)
NormalLess than 120and Less than 80
Elevated120-129and Less than 80
Hypertension Stage 1130-139or 80-89
Hypertension Stage 2140 or higheror 90 or higher
Hypertensive CrisisHigher than 180and/or Higher than 120

Blood pressure treatment:

Usually, medication is used in addition to lifestyle modifications to treat high blood pressure. This is a broad summary:

Modifications in Lifestyle:

Eat a healthy diet that prioritizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Cut back on processed carbohydrates, saturated fats, and sodium.
Weight management: If you are overweight or obese, you can drastically lower your blood pressure by losing weight.
Frequent Exercise: Try to get in at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week, of moderate-intensity exercise.
Limit Alcohol: It’s advised to drink in moderation. Alcohol abuse can cause blood pressure to rise.
Give Up Smoking: Nicotine can cause hypertension. You can lower your risk of heart disease by giving up smoking.
Reduce Stress: Engage in stress-relieving activities such as deep breathing techniques, meditation, or enjoyable hobbies.

Drugs:

Diuretics: They lower blood volume by assisting your body in eliminating extra water and salt.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme Inhibitors, or ACE Inhibitors, assist in reducing blood pressure by relaxing blood arteries.

Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers, or ARBs, relax blood arteries similarly to ACE inhibitors.
Calcium channel blockers lower blood pressure by preventing calcium from penetrating blood artery walls and heart muscle cells.
Beta-blockers: They lower blood pressure by slowing the heartbeat and the heart’s blood flow.
Blood pressure is lowered with alpha-blockers, which lessen nerve impulses that reach blood vessels.
Renin Inhibitors: They lower blood pressure by preventing the body from producing a chemical that causes blood vessels to constrict.

Frequent observation and follow-up:

It’s critical to get routine check-ups with a healthcare professional to monitor your blood pressure and make necessary treatment adjustments.
A home blood pressure monitor allows you to monitor your blood pressure while you’re at home.

Combination Counselling:

To properly control blood pressure, a combination of drugs may be required at times.

Additional Therapies:

Other treatments, such as renal denervation (a procedure to reduce activity in nerves that contribute to high blood pressure) or device-guided breathing techniques, may be considered for some individuals with refractory or severe hypertension.


By Mehfooz Ali

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