Blood Pressure Definition
To know your blood pressure, get a clear and understandable definition of blood pressure, let’s, first of all, define these terms independently.
Blood simply is a body fluid in humans and animals that transports necessary substances. It transports metabolic waste products away from cells. Also, it delivers nutrients and oxygen to the cells in different parts of the body.
Pressure simply put, means how much something is pushing on something else. That is, the force something exerts on another.
Now we’ve got a definition for these terms, let us define blood pressure.
Blood pressure simply put, is how much blood pushes against the walls of the vessels/media in which it goes through. This is the force that blood exerts on the walls of the arteries, arterioles, capillaries, venules, and veins.
Every human being has blood pressure, regardless of age group. Blood pressure only varies in the type experienced. Let’s go on to see the various types of blood pressures there are, and how they affect us.
Blood pressure may be measured in veins and capillaries. Also, it is measured in the vessels of the pulmonary circulation. However, without any specific descriptors, the blood pressure typically refers to systemic arterial blood pressure.
Basically, the different types of blood pressure get their names from the vessel or medium blood flow through. From this, we get:
- Arterial (blood) pressure – blood pressure in arteries.
- Venous (blood) pressure – blood pressure in veins
- Capillary (blood) pressure – blood pressure in capillaries
We won’t delve into these forms of blood pressure deeply, as they incline more physiologically.
Now, let’s look at the abnormalities of blood pressure.
Abnormalities of blood pressure
Here, we refer to blood pressures that are normal and can pose risk to individuals. They abnormal blood pressures include:
- High Blood Pressure
- Low Blood Pressure
Now, let’s take them one after the other.
#1. High Blood Pressure
This is also known as Hypertension. High blood pressure is a condition where the long-term force of the blood against the walls of the artery is high enough that it can lead to a health problem.
The amount of blood the heart pumps determines the blood pressure. Also, the amount of resistance to blood flow in the arteries influences blood pressure. As the heart pumps more blood, and the narrower the arteries, blood pressure remains high.
People with high blood pressure may have these symptoms:
- Bleeding nostrils
- Shortness of breath
- Blood in urine
- Pounding Chest
However, these signs and symptoms aren’t specific. They usually don’t occur until high blood pressure reaches a severe stage.
Health risks of high blood pressure on patients include:
- Vision loss
- Heart failure
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Kidney disease and failure.
#2. Low Blood Pressure
This condition is also called Hypotension. This happens the flow of blood against the walls of the blood vessels drops too low. However, there is no particular measurement at which day-to-day blood pressure is considered too low, provided none of the symptoms of trouble are present.
Some of the symptoms of the trouble of Low blood pressure include:
Some of the underlying causes of Low Blood Pressure are:
- Prolonged bed rest: Staying in bed longer than normal, or longer than you should, can cause blood pressure to drop.
- Pregnancy: The blood pressure of pregnant women often decreases during the first 24 weeks.
- Certain medications: Certain drugs can cause low blood pressure. For example, diuretics and other drugs that treat hypertension.
- Heart complications: Among the heart conditions that can lead to low blood pressure are an abnormally low heart rate (bradycardia), problems with heart valves, heart attack and heart failure. Your heart may not be able to circulate enough blood to meet your body’s needs.
- Endocrine problems such as an under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism), parathyroid disease, adrenal insufficiency can cause Low Blood Pressure.
- Severe infection (septic shock): Septic shock can occur when bacteria leave the original site of an infection (most often in the lungs, abdomen or urinary tract) and enter the bloodstream. The bacteria then produce toxins that affect blood vessels, leading to a profound and life-threatening decline in blood pressure.
These are a few causes of hypotension.
Definitely, there are some health risks from having low blood pressure. Here are a few:
- Unclear vision
How To Know Your Blood Pressure
Knowing your blood pressure reading and understanding it is of vital importance. However, before blood pressure readings are taken, a few things have to be made certain.
Things to make certain of prior to taking blood pressure readings are:
- Ensure you are stress-free before taking readings.
- Do not exercise.
- Ensure not to expose yourself to extremely cold temperatures.
- Avoid certain medications that can cause a rise in blood pressure before taking a reading.
- Do not take caffeine.
- Avoid smoking. This can lead to a temporary rise in blood pressure.
Now, to know your blood pressure readings using a manual or digital blood pressure monitor, do the following:
1. Choose the Right Tools
You will need:
- A good stethoscope
- The correct size of a blood pressure cuff
- A blood pressure measurement instrument; sphygmomanometer or an automated device with a manual inflate mode.
Ensure you’re relaxed. Do this by allowing 5 minutes to relax before the first reading. Also, sit upright with your upper arm in a position where it is near your heart. Furthermore, ensure that feet are flat on the floor.
Also, remove any clothing that is likely to interfere with the BP cuff or constrict blood flow in the arm. Do not talk while taking the reading.
3. Select the Proper Cuff Size
Measurement errors occur when you do not take the time to choose the proper cuff size. Wrap the cuff around your arm. Use the Index line to find out if your arm circumference falls within the Range area. If not, select the appropriate smaller or larger cuff.
4. Find your Pulse
Find your pulse by gently pressing your index and middle fingers near the bend of your elbow. That is where the brachial artery is.
The Artery marker points to the brachial artery. Wrap the cuff snugly around the arm.
5. Position the Stethoscope
On the same arm that you placed the cuff, examine the arm at the crease of the arm to locate the strongest pulse sounds and place the bell of the stethoscope over the brachial artery at this location.
6. Inflate the Cuff
Start pumping the cuff bulb while listening to the pulse sounds. The point when the cuff has inflated enough to stop blood flow, no sounds will be heard through the stethoscope.
The gauge should read 30 to 40 mmHg exceeding the person’s normal BP reading. If you can’t tell this value, you can inflate the cuff to 160 – 180 mmHg. If you hear no pulse sounds right away, inflate to a higher pressure.
7. Slowly Deflate the Cuff
Start deflation. 2 – 3 mmHg per second, that’s where the pressure should fall. If faster may likely result in an incorrect measurement.
8. Listen for the Systolic Reading
The systolic pressure is the first occurrence of rhythmic sounds heard as blood begins to flow through the artery. This sounds like a tapping noise at first.
9. Listen for the Diastolic Reading
Continue to listen while the BP cuff pressure drops and the sounds reduce. Observe the gauge reading when the rhythmic sounds stop. That is the diastolic reading.
10. Double Check for Accuracy
You have to do this twice to ensure that your readings are correct. you could do this for both arms for better certainty.
How to Interpret Your Readings
To know your blood pressure readings, readings higher than 120/80 mm Hg are a red flag. This means you need to take on heart-healthy habits. Also, when your systolic pressure falls between 120 and 129 mm Hg and your diastolic pressure is less than 80 mm Hg, this tells you that you have elevated blood pressure.
Your blood pressure readings are low if readings are lower than 90 mm Hg systolic or 60 mm Hg diastolic.
Your blood pressure is normal it falls at 140/90 mm Hg for people younger than age 65. For those ages 65 and older, 150/80 mm Hg is considered normal.
Now, from all thus far, certainly you can know your blood pressure; when it is normal or not.
With this healthcare tip, you can surely live a healthy life.
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