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Beating out high blood pressure

July 16, 2012
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Being healthy is not an impossible feat. Eating healthily, exercising frequently and watching your everyday lifestyle is all that is needed, but while these are simple steps, it can be difficult to constantly keep yourself in check. This can lead to problems with your health, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or obesity. While the majority of these can be taken care of with the aforementioned steps, high blood pressure can affect you despite your weight.

Blood pressure, put simply, is the pressure of the blood as is pumped into the arteries through the circulatory system or to what level arterial walls resist blood flow. A sphygmomanometer is used to check blood pressure, and it is expressed in two figures: on contraction – the systolic pressure, and on relaxation – the diastolic pressure.

While all that is good to know, it’s not clear what a healthy and normal blood pressure is supposed to be. When blood pressure measurements are taken, the contraction and relaxation of the heart are measured. For an adult that is healthy, the contraction is measured at approximately 120 mm Hg, and the relaxation is measured at 80 mm Hg. The healthy range for an adult can be anywhere from 120/70 to 140/90. If you have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, your blood pressure will measure 140/190 or higher. Very high blood pressure is 180/110 or higher. In many cases hypertension does not provide noticeable symptoms as you can be affected and feel perfectly fine.

Blood pressure is not always consistent throughout the day. It will increase during exercise and decrease while sleeping.

The only way to know that you have high blood pressure is to be checked professionally or check it yourself. If your blood pressure is high, you can suffer from a heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease, or stroke.

In order to keep yourself at low risk of having hypertension, you should avoid stress, exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, keep your weight down, not smoke, reduce the amount you drink, and reduce your salt intake.

Otherwise, you might find yourself under the constant supervision of your medical advisor, and on a medicine regimen that includes one or more of the following: ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, alpha-blockers, and calcium channel blockers.

For some, merely working out and eating healthily is sufficient to keep high blood pressure at bay, but for others – those with adrenal and thyroid disorders, high stress, genetic history of hypertension, or those Advertisement

[ Fallbrook Medical Center ]with sleep apnea, for example – there is little to be done except manage the hypertension. According to WebMD, as many as 95 percent of reported high blood pressure cases in the US do not have a known underlying cause.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, individuals who have hypotension, or a low blood pressure, do not have to be as concerned with their condition.

Chronic low blood pressure is almost never a problem if it does not produce symptoms. However, if blood pressure drops suddenly, it can cause dizziness or lightheadedness because of a lack of blood to the brain. This typically occurs when someone rises from a sitting position.

This is called postural hypotension, which occurs when the cardiovascular system cannot react appropriately to sudden changes. According to WebMD, a body should be able to compensate for sudden movement by having the heart beat faster and having the blood vessels constrict, offsetting the drop in blood pressure. If this does not occur, then postural hypotension results.

As with hypertension, low blood pressure risks increase with age as a normal part of aging. “In addition, blood flow to the heart muscle and the brain declines with age, often as a result of plaque buildup in blood vessels. An estimated 10 percent to 20 percent of people over age 65 have postural hypotension,” according to WebMD.

Certain health conditions, such as pregnancy, an underactive thyroid, diabetes, low blood sugar, nutritional disease, dehydration, nerve problems, heart failure or arrhythmias, heat exhaustion and liver disease can cause low blood pressure. Prescription medication for high blood pressure, depression, or Parkinson’s disease can also cause low blood pressure, as well.

In order to raise your blood pressure (which should only be done with a doctor’s supervision), people may be encouraged to eat foods with more sodium, drink more fluids, avoid heavy lifting, avoid prolonged exposure to hot water, and use elastic support (compression) stockings that cover the calf and thigh. These may help restrict blood flow to the legs, keeping more blood in the upper body.

If you are a healthy adult, you should have your blood pressure checked at least every one to two years, but if you have risk factors for heart disease, then you will want to have your blood pressure checked more frequently. Because of the new advances in blood pressure monitoring systems, there is a variety of systems that can be used at home to keep track of your pressure.

Article source: http://www.thevillagenews.com/story/65138/

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