Blood Pressure: An Overview
We have all grown up believing and seeing that fluctuations in blood pressure is generally associated with old generations. People aged 65+ but having a deep insight would make it clear that it is a disease as much as cold, fever, or any other normal illness. People of any age group can be prone to it.
There are certain reasons for the occurrence of low/high BP, which we would learn through the course of this blog. Let us start by learning what exactly is BP.
What is Blood Pressure
As the term suggests, BP is the pressure by which the heart pumps blood to the body. It is measured in Millimeter of Mercury (mmHg) which is denoted as Systolic/ Diastolic (120/80) The BP uses two numbers which are categorized as-
- Systolic Blood Pressure: It is the force that is used to pump blood to the body.
- Diastolic Blood Pressure: This is the force used when the heart rests while beating.
Types of Blood Pressure
- High blood pressure-High BP, also known as Hypertension, is often a result of unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as smoking, consumption of excessive alcohol, overweight, and not getting enough exercise.
- Low Blood Pressure-Low BP, also called Hypotension, is not an alarming situation without symptoms and it is a condition where the flow of blood to the organs of the body is insufficient.
What do we infer from the Readings?
Ideal Blood Pressure
A healthy heart is the one with readings between 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg.
High Blood Pressure
When the readings are 140/90 mmHg or higher. It is considered as High BP.
Low Blood Pressure
The ideal readings for BP are 90/60 mmHg. Anything below this is considered as Low blood pressure
Stages of High Blood Pressure
High BP in itself is dangerous, but further complications arise with the shooting BP. It falls into 4 categories given below-
- A doctor or a specialist measures the BP. It is checked by placing an inflatable arm cuff around the arm, using a pressure-measuring gauge.
- Home BP monitors are inexpensive and are widely available over the counter. You don’t need a prescription to buy one. However, using a home BP monitoring device isn’t a substitute for paying visits to the doctor as home BP measuring devices may have some limitations.
Long term effects of High Blood Pressure
Since high blood pressure cannot be detected without a blood test it is also termed as ‘Silent Killer’. and if left unnoticed for a long time, it causes the heart to pump harder and work overtime, possibly leading to several serious and life-threatening, long-term health conditions such as-
- Coronary heart disease
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Kidney failure
Causes of fluctuations in Blood Pressure
- Age– BP normally rises with age and those aged 65 or above tend to be prone to it.
- Race/Ethnicity– High BP is a common phenomenon among African Americans.
- Being Overweight– People who are overweight are likely to develop high BP.
- Sex– Sex is also an important factor as men are more prone than women to develop high BP before the age of 55 whereas, after the age of 55, women are more likely to develop it.
- Lifestyle– Poor lifestyle or ill habits can raise your risk for high BP, few examples are eating too much sodium (salt) or not consuming enough potassium, lack of exercise, too much alcohol, or smoking.
- Family history– If high BP runs in your lineage then the risk of developing high BP automatically increases.
It is essential to limit the amount of salt (sodium) and increase the amount of potassium in your meals in order to manage your BP. Consume plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Leafy greens, high on potassium such as romaine, lettuce, arugula, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, spinach, beet greens, and Swiss chard helps a lot in lowering high BP. Banana, unsalted seeds of pumpkin, squash, or sunflower is also a rich source of potassium.
Consume Low Fats
Skimmed milk and yogurt are a rich sources of calcium and low in fats. These are great for lowering increased BP.
Take food items rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
Fatty fish like salmon or mackerel are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation, lower triglycerides and regulate your BP.
Consume Natural Ingredients that lowers blood pressure
Garlic contains nitric acid which helps in lowering high blood pressure and herbs such as basil, cinnamon, thyme, rosemary helps in cutting your sodium intake.
Home Remedies for High Blood Pressure
- You can also use ayurvedic products for BP available in the market. ‘ Aarogyam Shakti BP Norma Lotion’, is one of the best natural products for high blood pressure. It works wonders on lowering your high BP. All you need to do is to apply the lotion as per directions given on the bottle and you will notice the changes within few days of its use.
- There are certain natural ingredients that are treated as Ayurvedic medicines to control blood pressure such as Honey, Amla, Gotu Kola, and Ashwagandha. These are some of the best herbal remedies for BP.
- Regular Exercise– Exercise is great for keeping yourself fit. It also keep you away from diseases and it can also help in lowering your BP. Try stretching exercises and spend at least 2 and a half hours per week.
- Maintain Healthy Weight– Being overweight increases your risk for high BP. Maintaining a healthy weight can help you in keeping your BP under control which also reduces your risk for other health problems.
- Avoid Alcohol Consumption- Drinking too much alcohol can raise your BP and also increases your calories intake which further results in weight gain. Men should limit their quantity to two drinks per day, and women should only take one.
- QUIT Smoking and Tobacco- Smoking and tobacco increase your blood pressure which puts you at higher risk for serious health issues such as a heart attack or stroke.
- Manage your Stress- Managing stress is the key to a healthy life. It can improve your emotional and physical well-being. This further reduced your risk to high BP. Relaxing activities such as listening to music, focusing on something that keeps you calm or peaceful, and meditation really helps.
Medication for Blood Pressure
If there are no improvements in the increased BP. You might also need to follow a proper course of medicines to regulate your BP.