What is Blood Pressure?
A general health article about Blood Pressure from
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Perhaps one of the most common problems human beings face today in terms of their biology is that of blood-pressure. The pressure exerted by blood pumping through a human body can change rapidly due to so many different reasons.
Thus, it has become commonplace for medical practitioners to check a patient's blood pressure as one of the first tests when a problem occurs.
Let's start by discussing probably the most influential factor associated with blood pressure: the rate of pumping, more commonly referred to as the heart rate. The average heart rate for a healthy human being runs between 70 and 75 beats per minute.
The higher the heart rate is, the higher the blood pressure. Another physical factor related to blood-pressure is the blood volume of the body. The more blood there is in the body, the higher the rate of blood return to the heart and the higher the blood pressure.
Resistance and viscosity are two other major influencing factors in blood pressure.
Resistance here relates to the size of blood vessels as well as the smoothness of these vessels. There are things in the body that affect the size of blood vessels. Some make them thinner, which increases blood pressure, while others do the opposite. Fatty acids are responsible for the smoothness of blood vessels, because the more that is deposited on the walls, the less resistance there is.
Viscosity, on the other hand, is the thickness of the blood flowing through the body. The thicker the blood is that's pumping through a body's veins, the higher the blood-pressure will be. Certain illnesses affect the viscosity of blood, as well as the level of sugars in the blood.
Types of Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure
One of the most common worries to physicians is an elevated blood pressure in someone's body. Also known as hypertension, having a high blood pressure affects the body in ways that many people could not even imagine. It is related to an extensive list of other diseases, some of which have proven to be fatal. Hypertension also has the potential to bring about trauma in the heart and arterial walls that it carouses through.
When only hypertension comes into play, in this case, it is called a hypertensive crisis. This occurs when blood pressure levels reach a point far too high for the body to withstand. If not taken care of promptly, a hypertensive crisis could lead to irreversible organ damage, since such a crisis usually affects on specific systems. The main organ systems affected by this problem are the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system, and the renal system.
Low Blood Pressure
Hypotension, as it is called, can be the result of a very serious medical problem. It should be looked at immediately, because having low blood-pressure could affect the brain, which could, in turn, cause even more problems, many of which could be irreversible or fatal.
The most common reason for having hypotension is having a reduced blood volume, known as hypovolemia. There are many reasons that this problem could occur in such a way, though most of them have to do with problems regarding the nervous system of the brain. Other causes include certain medicines that could have hypovolemia as a side effect. In many ways, because low blood-pressure affects and is a result of problems with such a vulnerable system of the body, it makes hypotension even more serious than having a high blood pressure.
White Coat Hypertension: The Power of the Mind
The power of the mind is really an incredible thing. If you have watched television or movies long enough, chances are you have heard of something called a placebo effect. This is the incredible ability for a person to be 'cured' of an ailment simply through the power of his or her mind. A placebo is a sugar pill that a patient is told to take, one they believe to be a powerful drug of some kind that will heal them.
When a person believes something strongly enough, the effect will actually take place in the body. When blood-pressure is concerned, the power of the mind is also an important player in the health game. The effect, in this case, is called white coat hypertension.
If you are not aware, hypertension is the term used to describe an elevated blood-pressure, usually to dangerous levels. White coat hypertension is the effect that occurs when a person is having their blood pressure checked in a clinical setting.
Whether a person is nervous just because he or she is in a hospital or if they truly believe there will be something wrong with their blood pressure, they will show an elevated blood-pressure that does not reflect any state of health. Simply put, white coat hypertension is a false high rate of blood pressure brought upon by someone simply being in a hospital setting to get his or her pressure checked.
Signs & Symptoms
Also known as hypertension, having a high blood pressure affects the body in ways that many people could not even imagine. It is related to an extensive list of other diseases, some of which have proven to be fatal. Hypertension also has the potential to bring about trauma in the heart and arterial walls that it carouses through.
Having high blood-pressure is an intensely harmful problem in of itself. When only hypertension comes into play, in this case, it is called a hypertensive crisis. This occurs when pressure levels reach a point far too high for the body to withstand. If not taken care of promptly, a hypertensive crisis could very well cause death.
However, even in situations not as extreme, a hypertensive crisis could lead to irreversible organ damage, since such a crisis usually affects on specific systems. The main organ systems affected by this problem are the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system, and the renal system.
While having a hypertensive crisis is reason enough to be alarmed by a high blood-pressure reading, it should be said that hypertension has long-term affects that could result or are a factor of something else entirely. For example, any kind of pressure of the blood puts stress on the arterial walls.
An elevated blood-pressure puts extensive stress on these walls, causing the heart to work more than it has to and also the progression of unhealthy tissue growth in the area, something known as atheroma.
The higher the pressure of the blood, the more stress is put on the heart and the more atheroma that forms. Over time, this will lead to thicker walls of the heart that will weaken faster than they should.
These are not the only effects hypertension has on the body. A persistent rate of hypertension is a leading cause in some very serious conditions, such as strokes, heart attacks, heart failures, arterial aneurysms, chronic renal failure, and a form of diabetes.
Having a high blood-pressure should not be taken lightly. The risks are high and the effects far-reaching. Hypertension has been found as a side effect of many other illnesses on top of the ones mentioned, so having a high blood-pressure should never be taken lightly.
Low Blood Pressure Symptoms
One syndrome related to hypotension that should be noted is orthostatic hypotension.
Also called postural hypotension, this is one of the most common forms of low blood pressure. Basically, it occurs mainly from a change in body position. For example, standing up from either a sitting or lying down position could momentarily reduce the blood flow in the body.
As a result, dizziness may occur, which can be noticed on a daily basis by many people. However, a more serious version of the syndrome could be brought upon by medications, both of the physical and psychiatric persuasion.
Another form of hypotension is rarer than orthostatic hypotension. It is known as postprandial hypotension and occurs 30-75 minutes after eating. Digestion of the food sends a large amount of blood to the digestive system, and as a result the autonomic nervous system must compensate to increase the body's heart rate and get more blood pumping.
Orthostatic hypotension affects the autonomic nervous system, weakening it even more than it already is. It is also an indicator of a failing autonomic nervous system, perhaps due to age or something else entirely.
As you can see, hypotension is just as serious of a problem as it's more common sibling, hypertension. Although the two may sound alike, their affects are vastly different. However, they are both cause for alarm and should be checked out immediately, especially since having low blood-pressure could affect the brain, the most important part of the body.
What Influences Blood Pressure?
Fluid systems in the body are notorious for the high level of complexity in their physics. The circulatory system is no different, and it is because of this that there are so many different factors that could affect a person's blood-pressure.
From the rate the heart pumps to the viscosity of the blood itself, blood pressure has influences from multiple factors in the body. Each of these factors may, in turn, be influenced by outside factors such as diet, exercise, disease, or drugs. It's because of this that blood-pressure has an even greater number of indirect influencers.
While thus far high-blood pressure has been the effect of these factors, there are certainly ones that influence low blood pressure as well. Some causes of low blood-pressure include sepsis, hemorrhaging, certain toxins, and hormonal abnormalities.
Your Body Cares for Itself: Internal Blood Pressure Regulators:
There are currently three mechanisms of blood pressure regulation within the body that have been well-categorized: Baroreceptor reflexes, the Renin-angiotensin system, and aldosterone release.
Baroreceptors (or baroceptors) are located in the body's organs and detect the pressure of blood flowing through them. If they detect a change in pressure that could result in bodily harm, signals are sent to the heart that will then adjust the average arterial pressure by changing both the force and the speed of the hearts contractions. This is called the baroreceptor reflex, or baroflex for short. So, when the pressure level is high, the baroflex will lower it, and vice versa.
While the baroflex is good for short term changes in the body's blood pressure, the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) works well for more long-term regulation. The RAS kicks in when the pressure level begins to drop to a dangerous low, and works to bring blood-pressure up by activating angiotensin II.
Angiotensin II is what is known as a vasoconstrictor. Basically, it narrows blood vessels, which results in more pressure being placed on them. Angiotensin II is activated when the RAS uses the kidney to help bring up the pressure level.
Not all of these regulation processes are independent of each other. In fact, there is a very strong link between the RAS system and the release of aldosterone in the body.
Aldosterone, a steroid hormone, is released from the adrenal cortex once either angiotensin II begins to work or a high level of potassium is detected.
Aldosterone helps stimulate the release of sodium, which just so happens to be the main ion that determines the amount of fluid in the blood. Thus, aldosterone indirectly will increase blood-pressure when such a change is necessary.
While other regulators and regulation processes involved with blood-pressure are sure to be present, the three mentioned here is what is best known to occur.
There are several factors that claim that it might indeed be something that is passed down through genetics. This takes into account cases in which parents have high blood-pressure, and their children grow up to also have high blood pressure.
Because there is this common link, some people assume that it is all related to genetics, and there is nothing that you can do about it.
However, there are several other factors that are at work here. When a person has an unhealthy lifestyle, they are going to be more likely to have high blood-pressure. They are also going to be likely to pass their bad habits, when it comes to poor eating habits and poor exercise habits on to their children.
If their children grow up to do the same things wrong that their parents did, they will indeed have high pressure levels as well.
There is a correlation between salt intake and blood volume in many people, though the amount to which it raises blood-pressure varies.
If you are able to have a good diet that is not high in fat and if you exercise the proper amount, you are going to have a better chance of not having high blood pressure, even if it is in your genes.
Remember that while you inherit a chance of having high blood pressure, you also inherit your parent's bad habits that might have contributed to their high blood-pressure. Do your best to break these habits for yourself so that your children will have an even better chance of not having to deal with high blood pressure.
Testing your Blood Pressure:
There are two main ways in which blood pressure is measured in a human being. These are through invasive and non-invasive procedures. The most accurate way to measure arterial blood-pressure (the most common pressure to test for) is through an invasive procedure.
In such a procedure, a plastic tube known as a cannula is placed into a blood vessel and connected to an electronic pressure transducer. The pressure of the blood pumping through arteries is stronger than anywhere else in the body, and since the cannula is within the artery itself, it is able to gather the most precise data.
Usually, invasive procedures are used in intensive care situations, anesthesiology, and for research purposes. Other times, blood pressure is measured through non-invasive procedures.
Non-invasive procedures provide a way to measure blood pressure that limits the discomfort of a patient at the expense of accuracy. These procedures are also easier to perform and can be done at home by patients on a regular basis. Non-invasive treatments involve a sphygmomanometer, the cuff that most of us are familiar with.
These cuffs are placed around the upper arm and filled with air pressure. The cuff then measures the pressure of blood as it presses against the inflated material and gives a blood-pressure number, although it is usually not a precise one. Still, this technique gives an approximate figure that is used in most medical cases.
However, blood pressure is something that can easily be controlled, and something that can be fixed, if you start right away and do everything that you can.
It might be that you have been eating a high fat diet for many years, and you need to take the time to get your body back to where it should be. Or it might be that you have a condition that makes you have high blood-pressure, even if you don't do anything wrong.
In these cases, it might become important to use blood pressure medication. This will help you to regulate your blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about the different medications, and what they can do for you when it comes to lowering your blood-pressure.
Self Care strategies for Living with Blood Pressure problems
There are also a variety of natural techniques, like acupuncture and massage that can be used to lower your blood pressure. Look into all of these options before finding one that is right for you.
Even if you have a tendency to have high blood pressure, if you eat the right foods and get the right amount of exercise, you are going to be able to avoid that. Losing any extra weight you are carrying will usually provide immediate improvements to your blood-pressure levels.
You should also be sure that you are getting plenty of exercise. This is something that is important, but you have to make sure that it is the right kind. Remember that the best kind of exercise for lowering your blood pressure is something that gets your heart moving. You want to make sure that your heart is very healthy, and that you are getting enough exercise.
Diet change strategies:
First of all, you need to be sure that you are always eating a diet that is low in fat and cholesterol. This is your best defense against high blood pressure. If you can incorporate healthy food into your life as something that you are always doing, you are going to find that you are able to lower your blood pressure at least a little bit simply by eating the right foods.
This is important to do, and it is important to start right now. Eating healthy food is something that can help your body, but it is something that you have to keep up, and something that you have to do for a long time. If you have been in the habit of eating foods that are bad for you, you are going to find that it takes a long time for a healthy diet to make a real difference. However, you shouldn't give up, because it is something that will do wonders for you.
Vitamin & Nutrient Associations
One of the most powerful products that assist Blood pressure in a natural way is Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. This is a fish oil product.
The science that led to the discovery of the value of Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids was done by a doctor named George Piggot in the 1970’s. He did a study of Greenland Eskimos. He took a large trail group and separated them in half. One have stayed on their traditional diet. The other half adopted a western diet. After 6 months the half on the western diet were showing onset signs of all the cardiovascular problems the west experiences.
Increased blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, build up of plaque on their arteries.
Dr Piggot then separated the group on the western diet and put half back on their traditional diet and left half on the western diet.
Three months later the group on the western diet continued to show increasing problems but the half returned to the traditional diet had clear up all of the onset problems.
Further study brought the finding that the answer was deep sea, cold water, fish eaten raw, three times a day.
It was a tremendous discovery but when he returned to America there was interest in his findings but little interest in using raw fish.
Dr Piggot went on to work with industry to develop a retail product with Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids in the early 1980’s. .
If you are looking for health improvements in your own blood pressure levels, it would seem that Omega 3 fish oil products are worth investigating to so see if they may provide the safe and natural self care strategy for you too.
If you are looking for weight loss answers then check out A-Z page on Weight loss.
Preventing High Blood Pressure with Weight Loss
No doubt, there are number of treatments and medicines available for the treatment of high blood pressure. But as it is said, “Precaution is better than cure”. So, we must consider this saying and follow the recommended rules in order to prevent the high blood pressure.
Blood pressure is directly proportional to the body weight; it means that if your weight increases the blood pressure also rises. Overweight people have an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and other illnesses. Losing weight reduces the risk (Click title link above to continue reading this article)
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