High And Low Blood Pressure – Know The Difference!
Pressure! Yes, now it has become a common term today. Blood pressure is the pressure of the circulating blood in the body against the walls of blood vessels. One cannot feel one’s blood pressure. To measure one’s blood pressure level, we use the medical instrument- Sphygmomanometer.
Blood pressure disorders include high blood pressure and low blood pressure. It leads to multiple risks like stroke, kidney damage, heart failure, eye problems, or stroke. Blood pressure is usually expressed in terms of millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
High blood pressure
What is high blood pressure?
As the name suggests, we can understand that the blood pressure is high. High blood pressure is the condition where the pressure of the blood is consistently higher. That is, when the values are higher than or equal to 140/90, for a long duration of time. In simpler words, it refers to a condition when the blood pressure shows higher than the normal value.
It has higher values of risks. It can lead to stroke or cardiovascular problems like heart problems, heart attack, and aneurysm. Not to forget that Hypertension is its popular name.
We categorize Hypertension into two main types, known as primary Hypertension and Secondary Hypertension. This primary one is known as essential Hypertension. Through its leading causes are still a gist, there are other factors. It is due to physical changes in the body, which include electrolyte imbalances, arteriosclerosis, and atherosclerosis.
Certain medical conditions such as kidney and heart diseases can cause the second type of Hypertension, Secondary Hypertension. Some other factors that contribute to this type of Hypertension are the intake of birth control pills. Hence, it is essential to take the consultation of a physician before taking the medications.
Although the causes of high blood pressure are not exactly pinpointed, there are several factors that can lead to Hypertension. Some of the reasons are High salt intake or salt sensitivity, Smoking, Overweight or obese, lack of physical activity, Too much alcohol consumption, or even Stress. Other general factors include Age above 40, excessive body weight, gender, and Genetics/hereditary.
Most of the people are symptomless, and so, it is called the silent killer. But major symptoms include Severe headache, Severe anxiety, Shortness of breath, Nosebleed, and Feeling of pulsations in the neck or head.
Some inconclusive symptoms include blood spots in the eyes – subconjunctival hemorrhage, facial flushing when the blood vessels in the face dilate. And dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, and trouble walking though are not symptoms of Hypertension; this all leads to stroke, and Hypertension also is a major factor of stroke.
Aside from the medications prescribed by doctors, lifestyle changes, along with improvement in dietary choices, can help in treating Hypertension naturally. The lifestyle changes include engaging in a 30-minute intense exercise such as walking or swimming or cycling, or jogging. Giving up smoking could be the upper hand.
Dietary changes like reducing intake of salt, increasing intake of fresh fruits and veggies, high-fiber and whole-grain foods, low-fat dairy products. Cutting down alcohol consumption aids in faster relief from the hypertension condition.
The DASH diet
The DASH diet is recommended for people with Hypertension. It stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.” After intense research, the scientists of America developed a flexible and balanced diet plan.
This diet helps in lowering blood pressure, improving fat levels in the bloodstream, and also aids in the reduction of cardiovascular diseases in the body.
Low blood pressure
What is low blood pressure?
As we all guess, low blood pressure is a condition where the pressure of the blood is lower for a long time period. If the blood pressure value is less than or equal to 90/60, we refer to the condition as low blood pressure.
It has lower risk levels pertaining to low stroke or heart disease. This hypotension is gentle unless it becomes serious, only in extreme conditions. We also refer to it popularly as hypotension.
Its significant causes are dehydration, pregnancy, hormonal problems such as underactive thyroid, diabetes, or low blood sugar, building up of plaque in blood vessels. It can also indicate the condition of heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms called heart arrhythmias, heat strokes, liver disease, and many more.
It commonly occurs during pregnancy, getting older, severe infections, allergic reactions, lack of vitamins B-12, and folate or Parkinson’s disease.
Some common symptoms include lightheadedness or dizziness, nausea, fatigue, fainting, blurred vision, and rapid and shallow breathing. Also, low blood pressure itself can be an indication of diabetes, anemia, arrhythmia, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke.
Some other symptoms include lack of concentration, depression, thirst, cold, clammy, and pale skin, also in case of extreme conditions.
Simple practices are sufficient to treat this hypotension condition. The diet changes include adhering to a high salt intake in the daily diet, limiting alcoholic beverage intake. Furthermore, we recommend improving the hydration of the human body with a periodic intake of water.
Other physical changes, like participating in physical activities to improve blood flow, avoiding standing for a long duration, must be included. Also, we prescribe evading strenuous activities immediately after eating and cutting down the intake of carbohydrates.
When to consult a doctor?
To end with a lighter note, we recommend adults to get a test—people crossing age limits of 40 to get a test for any signs of Hypertension or hypotension. I found it at the extreme range of values, and we suggest an immediate consultation with a doctor.
Also, we suggest people who are overweight and obese and African-Americans get a test done for knowing the blood pressure levels. We also ask adults in the age group of 18-39 to get a regular blood pressure test every 3-5 years periodically.
Moreover, for long, healthy life, a proper, balanced lifestyle with proper dietary intake is all enough. Blood pressure, be it Hypertension or hypotension, is a common medical ailment. Hence it must not be a matter of Stress. Live a healthy life by following “Food is medicine.“