Blood pressure plays a pivotal role in our health, serving as the metric which gauges the force exerted by our blood against the arterial walls while our heart circulates it throughout our body. Expressed in millimetres of mercury (mmHg), it typically presents as two values, for instance, 120/80. Let’s delve deeper into what these numbers signify.
The first figure, known as the systolic blood pressure, quantifies the force exerted on our arteries during the heart’s contraction phase. In contrast, the second value, called the diastolic blood pressure, gauges the same force when the heart momentarily rests between beats.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Regrettably, many find themselves battling with hypertension, a condition characterised by persistently elevated blood pressure. Specifically, when readings consistently exceed 140/90, it is indicative of this ailment. The repercussions of untreated hypertension can be severe, as it can compromise arterial health and impair critical organs, exacerbating risks associated with heart attacks, strokes, and kidney diseases.
Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)
Conversely, hypotension represents the spectrum’s opposite end, wherein blood pressure readings regularly fall below 90/60. While many brush off low blood pressure as innocuous, its symptoms, which include dizziness and potential fainting, shouldn’t be dismissed. Often, they can signify underlying health concerns that warrant medical attention.
Factors Influencing Blood Pressure
Several elements contribute to one’s blood pressure, encompassing age, gender, weight, and even one’s family history. Furthermore, modern lifestyle factors like high-stress levels, smoking habits, sedentary routines, salt-laden diets, and certain medications can escalate the risk of high blood pressure.
Measuring Blood Pressure
The most common method for determining blood pressure involves a sphygmomanometer or blood pressure cuff. This device encircles the upper arm, momentarily obstructing arterial blood flow. A stethoscope then monitors the resumption of this flow. The juncture at which blood flow first becomes audible denotes systolic pressure, while its eventual cessation indicates diastolic pressure.
The Importance of Regular Check-ups
Given that hypertension often masquerades without any overt symptoms, routine blood pressure checks are indispensable. If detected, healthcare professionals typically advocate for lifestyle alterations like healthier diets, consistent exercise, and cessation of smoking to counteract high blood pressure. Some individuals might also require medications to regulate their levels.
In conclusion, understanding and monitoring your blood pressure isn’t merely a routine healthcare procedure. It’s a proactive approach to safeguarding your long-term health. Regularly consulting with a healthcare professional can provide valuable insights and guidance in maintaining optimal blood pressure levels.