Blood Pressure: A Vital Factor For a Healthy Life

Blood pressure (Bp) is the pressure exerted on the wall of the arteries by blood when the heart pumps it. It is measured in milimetres of mercury (mmHg). The beating of the heart includes contraction and relaxation, which develops blood pressure. The contraction of heart is called the systole while relaxation of heart is called the diastole. Hence, the blood pressure always has two values systolic pressure as well as the diastolic pressure.

What is Systolic Pressure?

When heart contracts, it squeezes certain amount of blood from its ventricles to the arteries and the squeezed blood puts pressure on the wall of arteries. Hence, the pressure applied to the arterial wall by ejected blood during the heart`s contractions (systole) is called systolic pressure. It is typically measured at 120 mmHg in a normal adult human.

What is diastolic pressure?  

When the heart relaxes (diastole), there is still some pressure applied to the wall of the arteries because blood is still present in the blood vessels. This pressure during relaxation is called diastolic pressure. Its value is typically 80 mmHg for a normal adult human.

What is the Normal Range of Blood Pressure?

The pressure below 120/80 is considered as a normal blood pressure.

The values in the blood pressure indicate:

The normal value for blood pressure often varies from person to person because there are many factors that affect it, such as age, gender, body built, overall health, etc.

Blood Pressure

What is the Relationship Between Blood Pressure and Heart Rate?

There is direct relationship between blood pressure and heart rate. With an increase in heart rate, blood pressure also increases. Increased heart means more blood is pumped into the arteries by the heart, thereby increasing blood pressure.

What is Heart rate?

Heart rate refers to the number of heartbeats per minute. In other words, it represents how many times our heart beats in one minute. The typical value for a normal adult man is 72 beats per minute.

Why does blood pressure fluctuate?

Many factors are responsible for blood pressure fluctuations including emotions (such as, anger, fear, and excitement), stress and Anxiety, temperature variations (excessive heat or cold), Diet (certain foods like chocolates, dry fruits, alcohol, and coffee), medicines (such as diuretics, beta blocker, some anti-depressant). Blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day, and there is no need to worry if the fluctuation is mild and temporary. 

How is blood pressure measured?

Blood pressure is measured using an instrument called a sphygmomanometer, which consists of:

  • An inflatable cuff: wrap around the upper arm.
  • A rubber bulb: connected to the cuff via a rubber tube to inflates the cuff with air
  • A mercury column: It is attached to the cuff, displaying changes in pressure.
  • A stethoscope: not the part of the shigmomanometer, used to hear the sound of blood flow.

To measure blood pressure, the cuff is wrapped around the upper arm, and air is pumped through the bulb. The inflated cuff puts pressure on the arm, restricting blood flow. The pressure is then released slowly, and the stethoscope is used to listen to the sound of blood flow. The point at which the sound starts being heard indicates systolic pressure while the point at which the sound disappears indicates diastolic pressure.

What Are The Functions of The Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is essential for normal physiology of our body and plays many important roles in sustaining life. 

Functions of Blood Pressure-

  • It protects us from extremely high atmospheric pressure (760 mmHg) being exerted on our body
  • Blood pressure is an important parameter to assess the overall health of an individual
  • It facilitates the filtrations at capillary bed for the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to tissues and organs
  • It facilitates the filtrations in the kidneys, aiding the removal of the body’s wastes  
  • Maintenance of blood flow to the brain, especially in the standing position
  • Facilitation of blood circulation from heart to the toe and back from the toe to the heart.

What is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

A persistent blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher is referred to as high blood pressure or hypertension. It often develops gradually over time and can go unnoticed for years, therefore the name ‘silent killer.” Persistent high blood pressure puts strains on the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of of serious health issues such as heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.

High Blood Pressure Chart

What are The Main Causes of Hypertension

Age: Blood pressure increases with age as blood vessels lose elasticity, which leads to their hardening

Genetics: People who have high blood pressure in their families are more likely to acquire hypertension

Unhealthy Lifestyle: Poor diet (junk foods), high intake of sodium, lack of physical activity, excessive alcohol consumption, all cause hypertension in long run.

Stress: A stressful life is one of the major causes of hypertension these days.

Chronic Kidney Disease: Impaired kidney function can disrupt the bodies ability to regulate blood pressure, leading to hypertension.

Hormonal Imbalance: Hormonal imbalances, such as elevated levels of cortisol or aldosterone, can contribute to hypertension.

Medical Conditions: Diabetes, thyroid disorders, kidney problems, and other medical conditions can all lead to hypertension.

Ethnicity: A higher risk of hypertension is found in certain ethnic groups, such as African Americans (Black people)

What problems Does High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Cause?

Temporary high blood pressure is considered normal, but persistently high blood pressure for longer duration can be harmful. In numerous ways, hypertension harms our health. However, one can control their blood pressure to reduce their risk of developing major health issues.

Harmful effects of hypertension

  • The heart needs to make more effort for pumping blood.
  • It makes the wall of arteries hard
  • It increases risk for heart disease and stroke
  • Can cause heart failure, kidney damage and blindness.

Treatments for High Blood Pressure

  • physical activity – Engage yourself in regular exercise such as swimming, cycling, brisk waking
  • Diet – Eat plenty of fruits and green vegetables, cut back on your daily salt (Sodium) intake, and fully avoid processed foods
  • Maintaining healthy weight – People who are overweight are always at risk for long-term high blood pressure. Control your weight with yoga, exercise, and a healthy diet 
  • Limiting alcohol intake – Do not drink excess or drink very small amount of alcohol.
  • Managing Stress – Learn how to manage stress by learning body relaxing techniques such as meditations, deep breathing
  • MedicinesMedicines like diuretics (remove extra water and sodium), Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme(ACE) inhibitors (relaxes veins and arteries), Calcium channel blocker (prevent contraction of blood vessels and heart), Beta blocker (block the effects of the hormone adrenaline) are very effective in controlling hypertension

Is Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension) Harmful?

Blood pressure below 90/60 is considered low blood pressure or hypotension. It is the minimum pressure for an adequate supply of blood to each and every body organs. In most case low blood pressure does not cause any concern, but some individual may gets problems. If blood pressure drops too low ( much below 90/60), our body’s vital organs may not receive enough oxygen and nutrients, which may become life-threatening. Symptoms of low bp are:

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Confusion or trouble concentrating
  • Dizziness

Persistently low bp can cause heart damage as the heart compensates by pumping faster or harder for longer duration.


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