Blood Pressure : Causes Of High And Low Pressure, Symptoms, Treatment And 3 Important Ways To Maintain Stability As An Athlete

Blood pressure is the force exerted by the blood on the walls of the arteries as it is transported from the heart to various organs and tissues in the body.

According to Center for Diseases Control blood pressure can be explained as the pressures exacted on the walls of the arteries by blood cells.

In this article will discuss in details blood pressure, it’s causes, symptoms, treatment and how best to manage the situation.

Blood pressure refers to the pressure of blood flowing through the arteries.

Blood pressure explains the force exacted on arterial walls by blood.
Pictorial illustration

Blood pressure depends on two main factors: the volume of blood pumped by the heart and the resistance of the arteries.

A greater volume of blood pumped by the heart and narrower arteries will result in higher BP.

Blood pressure is determined by two readings:

The first number, known as systolic blood pressure, evaluates the pressure in your arteries during a heartbeat.

The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, gauges the pressure in your arteries while the heart is resting between beats.

For instance, a reading of 120 systolic and 80 diastolic would be expressed as “120 over 80” or written as “120/80 mmHg.”

Blood pressure classifications.

Normal BP is considered to be lower than 120/80 mm Hg.

Elevated blood pressure falls in the range where the top number is between 120 and 129 mm Hg and the bottom number remains below 80 mm Hg.

Stage 1 hypertension occurs when the top number falls between 130 and 139 mm Hg, or when the bottom number is in the range of 80 to 89 mm Hg.

Stage 2 hypertension is diagnosed when the top number is 140 mm Hg or higher, or when the bottom number is 90 mm Hg or higher.

Note: BP higher than 180/120 mm Hg is considered a hypertensive emergency or crisis. Seek emergency medical help for anyone with these blood pressure numbers.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure typically builds up gradually and is often linked to unhealthy habits like lack of physical activity.

Conditions like diabetes and obesity can also heighten the chances of developing high BP, which may also occur during pregnancy.

High BP, or hypertension, is a condition where blood circulates through arteries at a pressure higher than usual.

Blood pressure is assessed using two numbers.

Sphygmomanometer used in measuring BP

The first number, known as systolic pressure, indicates the pressure in your blood vessels during a heartbeat. This is the higher of the two numbers.

The second number, called diastolic pressure, represents the force of blood in your arteries when your heart is at rest between beats. This number is lower than the first.

Timely identification of elevated blood pressure is crucial. High BP, known as the “silent killer,” can be asymptomatic but significantly raises the chances of heart disease, heart failure, and stroke.

In 2013, over 360,000 deaths in the US were linked to high BP by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Causes of high blood pressure

It can happen because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as not getting enough regular physical activity.

Symptoms of High BP

Many individuals with high blood pressure do not experience any symptoms, even when their BP levels are very high.

High blood pressure can persist for several years without any noticeable signs. Some people with high BP may occasionally:
(1) Experience headaches,
(2) Shortness of breath, or nosebleeds.

But these symptoms are not unique to high BP and typically only appear in severe or critical cases.

Remedies to high BP

Treatment for high BP typically starts with lifestyle changes such as;
reducing salt intake,
losing weight,
quitting smoking,
limiting alcohol consumption, and
engaging in regular exercise.

Low BP

Medications are also commonly prescribed to lower blood pressure, each with their own benefits and risks that should be carefully considered.

It is common for individuals to require more than one medication to reach their BP goals. These medications should begin working within days, but consistency in taking them is vital due to the often asymptomatic nature of high BP.

Combining medications or opting for long-acting options may help simplify the medication regimen. It is important to continue taking the medication as directed by your healthcare provider.

Cause of lower BP

Medical conditions that can lead to low blood pressure include:

Pregnancy: During pregnancy, there is a rapid expansion of blood vessels which can cause a drop in BP. Low BP is commonly experienced in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, with levels usually returning to normal after childbirth.

Heart and heart valve issues: Conditions such as heart attack, heart failure, heart valve disease, and bradycardia can result in low BP.

Hormone-related disorders: Problems with the adrenal or parathyroid glands, like Addison’s disease, may lead to low blood pressure.

Additionally, low blood sugar and diabetes can also cause a decrease in BP.

Dehydration occurs when the body lacks water, causing a decrease in blood volume and a drop in BP. Factors like fever, vomiting, diarrhea, diuretic use, and intense exercise can contribute to dehydration.

Blood loss, whether due to injury or internal bleeding, also lowers blood volume leading to decreased blood pressure.

Infections that enter the bloodstream can result in a dangerous drop in BP known as septic shock.

Severe allergic reactions and nutritional deficiencies can also cause a sudden decrease in BP.

Symptoms of lower BP

Signs of low BP (hypotension) can include:
blurry or dimming vision,
feeling dizzy or lightheaded,
difficulty focusing, and

Severe hypotension can result in shock, which is characterized by symptoms such as
cold and clammy skin,
fast and shallow breathing, as well as a weak and rapid pulse – particularly noticeable in older individuals.

Remedies for low blood pressure

Gradually standing up from a seated or reclined position can alleviate symptoms, while
refraining from alcohol,
staying hydrated, and
consuming small, balanced meals with fruits and veggies may also be beneficial.

NB: Seek urgent medical attention if you
sweat excessively,
breathe rapidly and shallowly, or observe blood in your stool.

Schedule a doctor’s visit if you feel dizzy, tired, have difficulty focusing, or are on medication that lowers BP.

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