Blood pressure is the pressure of the circulating blood against the walls of the arteries, the veins, and the chambers of the heart. Blood pressure results from two forces. One created by the heart as it pumps blood into the arteries through the circulatory system. The other is the force of the arteries as they resist the blood flow.
Blood pressure, usually measured by an instrument called a sphygmomanometer is expressed in two figures.
a) on contraction- the systolic pressure
b) on relaxation- the diastolic pressure.
What is a healthy, normal blood pressure?
The blood pressure in the large artery of the heart, the aorta, and the other large arteries of a healthy adult is usually 120 mm Hg during the contraction of the heart (systole), and 80 mm Hg during relaxation of the heart (diastole). For adults, a normal reading can be anywhere from 120/70 to 140/90. Readings that are consistently 140/90 or above are considered high and would indicate the need for intervention.
A good guide for blood pressure readings are;
Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 High normal blood pressure is between 120/80 and 140/90. High blood pressure (hypertension) is 140/90 or above. Very high blood pressure (hypertension) is 180/110 or above.
Blood pressure changes to meet your body's various needs.
Get your blood pressure checked regularly
The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have it checked regularly by a health professional, or, check it yourself. If your blood pressure remains high it can lead to serious problems like a heart attack, stroke, heart failure or kidney disease. If you are overweight, smoke, have diabetes, a high cholesterol, a family history, belong to certain ethnic groups or take little exercise you are more likely to have a high blood pressure. Hypertension, a high blood pressure is more common in people over the age of 50 years.
Keeping your blood pressure healthy
You can help keep your blood pressure healthy by making some lifestyle changes.
Avoid too much stress
Take regular exercise
Eat a good balanced diet
Keep your weight down
Give up smoking
Reduce your salt intake
Buy an automatic machine & monitor your own blood pressure
Do not drink too much alcohol
Medical treatment for high blood pressure (hypertension)
High blood pressure called hypertension, requires medical assessment, monitoring and supervision to try to avoid permanent damage. Lifestyle changes can make a big difference but sometimes medication may be required. Blood pressure control can be difficult in some people.
Drugs, sometimes more than one type may be needed to get blood pressure under control.
Common medications include diuretics, ACE inhibitors, Angiotensin-II receptor antagonists, beta blockers, alpha blockers, Calcium-channel blockers.