What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force applied by the blood over the inner walls of the arteries. Although the average blood pressure for a person remains constant, it shows minor fluctuations throughout the day—declining while relaxing and momentarily increasing while being excited or under stress. An increase in the resting blood pressure can scar, stiffen, or harden the arteries.
Blood pressure is written as systolic and diastolic values. Hence, BP 120/80 mm Hg means 120 is the systolic number, and 80 is the diastolic number.
High blood pressure is more likely to cause:
What are the different blood pressure categories?
Blood pressure can be categorized into five different types, namely:
Normal: Blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg is considered to be normal.
Elevated: When blood pressure readings consistently range from 120 to 129 systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic, it is known as elevated blood pressure. People with elevated blood pressure are at risk of high blood pressure unless steps are taken to control it.
Hypertension stage I: In this condition, blood pressure readings consistently range from 130 to 139 systolic or 80 to 89 mm Hg diastolic. Doctors may prescribe blood pressure medications and some lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of heart diseases and stroke.
Hypertension stage II: In this condition, blood pressure readings consistently range from 140/90 mm Hg or higher. The doctors may prescribe a combination of both medications and lifestyle changes.
Hypertensive crisis: This is the most critical condition and requires emergency medical attention. In this condition, the blood pressure suddenly exceeds 180/120 mm Hg. Contact the physician immediately if the following symptoms are experienced:
How to treat high blood pressure?
Lifestyle changes and regular exercises can help to treat high blood pressure. Some of the suggested lifestyle changes by the physicians are as follows:
- Quit smoking
- Lose weight
- Avoid alcohol or at least limit the intake
- Eat a low-sodium and low-fat diet such as the DASH diet
- Avoid too much of stress
- Eat foods rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium such as bananas and milk
- Regular monitoring of blood pressure after reaching the age of 35 years
- Practice meditation and other stress-relieving exercises
- Cut back on caffeine
The physicians may prescribe the following medications:
How to treat low blood pressure?
Low blood pressure can be prevented or treated using the following methods:
- Consume lots of fluids
- Limit alcoholic drinks
- Stay hydrated, especially during the hot weathers or during viral flu
- Drink more of nonalcoholic drinks
- Exercise regularly to encourage blood flow
- Avoid sitting or standing quickly
- While rising, take care to sit upright for a few seconds and then getting off from the bed
- Stay away from heavy lifting
- Avoid standing still for a prolonged time
- Avoid straining while passing stools
- Avoid prolonged exposure to hot water such as sauna, hot water springs, and spas
- Compression stocking covering the thigh and calf restricts the blood flow to the lower part of the body
- Try eating smaller, more frequent meals to avoid post-meal dizziness
- Any consumption of over-the-counter medications should be reported to the physician.
Medically Reviewed on 9/21/2020