What You Need to Know About Blood Pressure

August 5, 2016Comments Off on What You Need to Know About Blood Pressure

Everyone has heard of blood pressure – the force of the blood flowing through your blood vessels. While there are cases of low blood pressure, or hypotension, high blood pressure, or hypertension, has been a greater bane to man since time immemorial. In fact, in the US alone, about 80 million suffer from it. Of course, the best way to know if you are one of those statistics is to have your blood pressure taken.

Blood Pressure Category

Medically speaking, there are five (5) categories of blood pressure:

  • Normal
  • Prehypertension
  • Hypertension Stage 1
  • Hypertension Stage 2
  • Hypertensive Crisis

In the normal stage, blood pressure is no more than 120/80. At the pre-hypertension stage, the reading is typically no more than 139/89 but not lower than 120/80. When the blood pressure reaches 140/90 to 159/99, this is already considered as Hypertension Stage 1. Anything higher than that is what is medically considered as Hypertension Stage 2. Now, when the blood pressure reading already exceeds 180/110, that is already considered as a hypertensive crisis and would require an immediate visit to the ER.

Understanding Numbers

You might have noticed that your blood pressure is composed of two sets of numbers. These numbers are called the systole and the diastole. Systole is the term used to denote the upper number. It refers to the pressure that your blood makes against the artery wall when your heart is beating. On the other hand, Diastole, the lower number, refers to the pressure that your blood makes against the artery wall when it is on rest. Generally, medical professionals pay more attention to the systole particularly for those who are 50 years of age or older. This is because the systole typically increases as one ages. This comes about due to the build up of plaque around the walls of the blood vessels as well as the stiffening of the latter.

Resistant and Pulmonary Hypertension

In some cases, even if you have made certain lifestyle changes, your blood pressure does not seem to move down. This is typically what is known as a Resistant Hypertension. This can be quite complicated to deal with and is usually a symptom of an even more serious medical condition. In most cases, people who have resistant hypertension also have the following:

  • Abnormal level in the hormones that control the blood pressure
  • The presence of renal artery stenosis
  • Presence of obstructive sleep apnea
  • Obesity

On the other hand, there are some people who suffer from Pulmonary Hypertension. As the name implies, this happens in the heart-to-lung system delivery where the oxygenated blood is processed. It is typically lower than a systemic blood pressure. Some of the common signs that you might have pulmonary hypertension would include:

  • Shortness of breath even during routine activities
  • Chest Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Low Appetite
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Swelling of the ankles and legs
  • Fainting

Now, you have to keep in mind that hypertension, particularly Pulmonary Hypertension, can start and progress with very little signs and symptoms. That being said, and coupled with the fact that hypertension can lead to heart attack, having an AED unit at home can prove to be more than valuable.