12 Most Important Facts about High Blood Pressure

  • Know what is blood pressure
  • Accurate method of blood pressure measuring
  • Instances that lead to high blood pressure
  • Methods to follow to identify it earlier

High blood pressure or hypertension, a one of commonest words you can hear these days. You may be heard,

  • Your doctor may check you regularly when you visit.
  • Your family member or friend may have hypertension.

Sometimes you may already know about this. Or may not.

But the things we are about to discuss may be very important to you.

What is Blood Pressure?

Before start with the topic, let’s know about how your heart works. Heart is the blood pump in your body. Your heart works continuously from your fetal life to the death. From the day you born your heart pump the blood through out whole body. To pump out the blood you must have blood pressure.

What are the two measures in the reading?

You may have noticed that your blood pressure reading has two numbers.

eg : 129 / 89 mmHg, 158 / 104 mmHg

The first number represents the pressure in the heart when it is contracting and pumping blood. It is higher than second value, pumping cause increase the pressure. It’s called systolic.

The second value represents the pressure in side your main artery, when heart is not contracting. This pressure causes blood to run throughout your body. It’s called diastolic. Increasing this value is more concerning than first value.

What happens if this is low ?

Before discussing about hypertension, it’s better to have an idea about low blood pressure or hypotension. Because most of you might be thinking hypotension is good. It’s a myth. It means blood flowing throughout your body may not enough to the organs. So your organs may loss their functions.

What is hypertension?

As you already know this means your blood pressure is more than normal. But what is normal? According to New York Heart Association there is a range in blood pressure reading.

Blood pressure targets
Blood pressure values according to the NEW YORK HEART ASSOCIATION

How to measure correctly?

Blood pressure can vary depending on the situation you stand.

Following situations can give high reading

  • A very noisy environment.
  • Measuring after exercise or even after a walking.
  • If you measures after a heavy meal.
  • Stressful situations

So correct method of measuring in a ,

  • Quite environment
  • Seated position
  • Atleast 15 minutes after even a walking
  • Your upper arm should place at the level of your heart.
  • The cuff in the meter should cover 80% of your arm.

Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring?

You may not heard this words before. But you may have seen or underwent that blood pressure measuring throughout a whole day. There a small maching attached to the body. It connect with a cuff in your arm. The cuff squeezes in 1 hour intervals. This can give an idea about how your values vary throughout the day.

Why need Ambulatory monitoring?

This method is using in following occasions,

  1. White Coat Hypertension – some people have hypertension only they see a health care personnal. So it’s hard to get an accurate values on these people.
  2. Drug Resistance – some people don’t respond well for the treatment even they take it correctly.
  3. Episodic Hypertension – there are people having hypertension only in certain times in the day. Or with certain activities in the day.
  4. Hypotension with Treatment – after start drugs some people develop very low blood pressure even with low doses. That is a condition which need further investigations.
Image by Pera Detlic from Pixabay 

Is hypertension bad ?

Generally speaking, anything not normal to body is harmful. This same principle applied here as well. High pressure cause you having,

  • Stroke
  • Heart diseases
  • Kidney diseases
  • Vision problems
  • Headache

And many more serious illnesses. Hypertension affects your whole body.

What cause to hypertension?

Most of the time hypertension is essential to have good blood supply to organs. This happens mainly in older people. There body functions not as good as young people. So they tend to have reduced blood supply to body. As a solution, body tries to increase blood pressure. 90% instances are like this.

But in some instances this happens due to an underlying cause. Like,

  • Sleep problems
  • Certain drugs like oral contraceptives, steroids
  • Kidney diseases
  • Hormone problems like Cushings, Hyperthyroidism, Hyperparathyroidism, Conns disease, Adrenal gland problems.

Be Alert if you have,

You need to keep in mind if you have one of the following things. It’s a red light your have high chance of getting high blood.

  • Smoking
  • Obesity of BMI more than 30
  • Physical inactivity
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney diseases
  • Older age ( Male more than 55 years, Females more than 65 years )
  • Family history of heart diseases
Image by Thomas H. from Pixabay 

How you know whether you have hypertension?

Most of the times you it’s difficult to know. Many people noticed it after a long period of time. There might be having serious consequences also. Or some may be having only headaches and visual disturbances. Most people had ignored this symptoms. So it’s better to check your blood pressure even you think it’s a mild headache.

How you can detect early ?

New York Heart Association recommends it’s better to undergo routine screening in following occasions,

  • Every 5 years for adults.
  • Annually if your with in high normal values.
  • Every follow up routines if you have diabetes, kidney diseases or high cholesterol levels.

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Dr. Sapumal Edirisinghe

MEDICAL DOCTOR (mbbS)

I am a medical doctor who is passionate about the new medical knowledge and spread those to the world to make the world a better place.

Sapumal Edirisinghe

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