What Is Blood Pressure?
Your heart is an organ that pumps your blood to circulate it throughout your body. In doing this, it brings oxygen and nutrients to the different parts of the body that need them. Blood pressure is the force of blood against your blood vessels as it travels through the body. High blood pressure occurs when there is too much pressure on the blood vessels. High blood pressure can harm your blood vessels and result in health issues. At Ashley Manor, we are concerned about the health of our residents and make every effort to help them understand the need to maintain normal blood pressure and lead a healthy life.
What Do Blood Pressure Measurements Mean?
Blood pressure is described by two numbers. It is measured in millimeters of mercury. The first number is known as the systolic pressure. The second is known as the diastolic pressure.
Systolic pressure occurs when the heart contracts. It is the greater of the two numbers.
This is the smaller number of the two. Diastolic pressure occurs when your heart rests and fills with blood. The higher that the two numbers are, the more possible damage there can be to your blood vessels. When your numbers are greater than the ideal range, then this indicates that your heart is pumping your blood with too much strength.
What Is a Normal Reading?
A normal reading has a systolic pressure that is in between 90 and 120 and a diastolic pressure that is in between 60 and 80. Readings are expressed in millimeters of mercury.
Hypertension: Stage 1
You will be diagnosed with hypertension if your systolic pressure is between 130 and 139, or if your diastolic pressure is between 80 and 89.
If you get one reading that is this high, then it doesn’t mean that you have hypertension. What counts is if you have elevated readings over a certain period of time.
Hypertension: Stage 2
If you get readings of a systolic pressure that is 140 or more or a diastolic pressure of 90 or more, then it is diagnosed as stage 2 hypertension.
A reading of 180/120 or above indicates a serious health issue. A condition with this level of reading is known as a “hypertensive crisis.” Even if you have no other symptoms, this condition needs urgent treatment.
Blood pressure at this level may be accompanied by:
– Chest pain
– Blood in the urine
– Visual changes
– Shortness of breath
– Stroke symptoms
The Dangers of Hypertension
Hypertension may harm the body for years before you are aware of it. There doesn’t need to be any symptoms. If you don’t treat it, then you can be left with a disability or a poor quality of life. You may even die of a heart attack. About half of the people with untreated hypertension will die of heart disease because of poor blood flow. Another third of them die of stroke.
The following are the complications that you can suffer from untreated hypertension:
Damage to the Arteries
When your arteries are healthy, they are flexible, strong, and elastic. Their insides are smooth. As a result, the blood flows well, nourishing your organs and tissues with what they need.
Hypertension raises the pressure of blood flow. This may cause:
Damaged and narrowed arteries – Hypertension can harm the cells of the lining. As fats come into your bloodstream, they may gather in the arteries. As a result, the arterial walls become less elastic. This can limit your blood flow.
After a while, the pressure of blood traveling through an artery may result in a bulge. Aneurysms can rupture and result in internal bleeding. Aneurysms can develop anywhere, but they are most common in the aorta.
Damage to the Heart
Hypertension can result in:
Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease develops in the arteries that give blood to the heart. When the arteries narrow, blood cannot travel freely through the arteries. If blood cannot flow freely to the heart, then you may get chest pain, a heart attack, or arrhythmias.
Enlarged Left Heart
Hypertension causes the heart to pump harder than necessary to deliver blood to the rest of the body. This results in a thickening or stiffening of the left ventricle. Then, the ventricle has a limited ability to pump blood properly. This may lead to heart attack, heart failure, or sudden death.
After a while, hypertension may cause the heart muscle to weaken and pump less efficiently. Ultimately, the heart can fail.
Damage to the Brain
The brain relies on blood to function as well. Hypertension can result in a number of troubles:
Transient Ischemic Attack
This is a momentary disruption of blood supply to the brain. It can result from atherosclerosis or a blood clot. Both of these can be caused by hypertension. This attack serves as a warning sign that you may suffer a stroke.
A stroke happens when the brain does not get nutrients and oxygen. This results in brain cell death. Hypertension can result in stroke by harming the brain’s blood vessels. Hypertension can also lead to blood clots developing in the arteries leading to the brain. This may result in stroke.
Dementia is a brain condition that leads to difficulties with cognition. Many things can lead to dementia. Vascular dementia can be caused by the narrowing and blockage of the arteries that give blood to the brain. It can also be caused by strokes that come about by an interruption of blood flow to the brain. Both of these may result from hypertension.
Mild Cognitive Impairment
Mild cognitive impairment is a phase of cognitive changes that come with aging or Alzheimer’s. It can come about from blocked blood flow to the brain from arteries harmed by hypertension.
Damage to the Kidneys
The function of the kidneys is to filter the blood from excess fluid and waste. This process relies on healthy blood vessels. Hypertension can harm the blood vessels that are in the kidneys and that lead to the kidneys. This can lead to various illnesses. If you have diabetes, then this can compound the damage.
Hypertension is a typical cause of kidney failure. This is due to harm to the blood vessels that are involved.
There can be damage to the tiny clusters of blood vessels in the kidneys by scarring.
Kidney Artery Aneurysm
When you get an aneurysm in an artery leading to the kidney, it could rupture and cause internal bleeding.
Consult Mayo Clinic for more possible damages of hypertension to the body.
Maintaining a Healthy Blood Pressure
The way to maintain healthy blood pressure is the same for people of all ages. Whether you are a young adult or a senior, the advice is going to be pretty much the same.
The following are the steps that you must take to control your blood pressure. For more information, consult the following website.
- Healthy Diet
Weight control is essential to controlling your blood pressure. Eating a low-salt diet is also very important. There is a special diet called the DASH diet for controlling hypertension. The DASH diet is a low-sodium, low-fat diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and grains.
It is also important to exercise at least five times a week. You need to get at least 30 minutes of exercise in each session. It is best to combine cardiovascular activity with weight training if you can.
- Seek Medical Attention
For those who cannot control their blood pressure with lifestyle changes, there is always medication. Medications are categorized into three main groups:
These medications focus on the kidneys by aiding the body in eliminating sodium and water.
These medications make the heart beat more slowly and with less pressure. This reduces blood pressure. This type of medication is often paired with the first kind of medication.
Angiotensin-converting Enzyme Inhibitors
Also prescribed along with the first kind of medication, these counteract a chemical that narrows blood vessels. This, in turn, eases pressure on vessels.
As hypertension is a major cause of health problems and can shorten your life, it is crucial that you monitor your blood pressure regularly. It is also important that you put together a treatment program with your doctor if you suffer from hypertension. At Ashley Manor, we will ensure that you monitor your blood pressure properly and adhere to a program that will promote a long and healthy life.