Understanding Blood Pressure Readings

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OrijoReporter.com, Blood Pressure Readings

The complex human body is usually able to keep blood pressure (BP) within safe/acceptable limits, but sometimes changes in lifestyle, health, stressful situations, anxiety, side effects from prescription drugs, or changes in metabolism, make this difficult. This can cause the BP to become consistently higher or lower than normal, or spike up and then drop down.

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Compensatory mechanisms that control BP involves changing the diameter of veins and small arteries (arterioles), the amount of blood pumped out from the heart per minute (cardiac output), and the volume of blood in the vessels.

====>Normal resting BP in adults is under 120/80 with 115/75 or 110/70 considered as being optimal/ideal. Prehypertension is defined as systolic of 120-139 mmHg and diastolic of 80-89 mmHg. Stage 1 is systolic of 140 to 159 and diastolic of 90 to 99. Stage II is systolic of 160 to 179 and diastolic of 100 to 109. Stage III is systolic greater than 180 and diastolic greater than 110. Stage IV is systolic of 210 and greater, and diastolic of 120 and greater.

Sometimes, high BP can suddenly become a “hypertensive crisis”, which is described as when diastolic is greater than 120, and there are signs or symptoms of damage to the brain, heart, kidneys or other organs. If/when applicable, quick-acting drugs can be administered in the ER setting to reduce BP.

Noteworthy, temporary increases or high spikes in BP, which was at one time was thought as being relatively harmless, can in fact be deleterious (may/can even cause a hypertensive brain attack) in some individuals, especially in those who already have hypertension or weakened arteries in the brain.

Health dangers from BP vary among different age groups and depending on whether systolic, diastolic, or both, is elevated. Isolated diastolic hypertension, isolated systolic hypertension and diastolic/systolic hypertension, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, renovascular disease.

High systolic BP appears as a significant indicator for heart complications, including death, in all ages, but especially in middle-aged and older adults.

High diastolic BP is a strong predictor of heart attack and brain attack in young adults and in those of any age with essential hypertension, high BP from unknown causes, which occurs in the great majority of cases.

Pulse pressure is also important, which is the difference between systolic (heart’s pumping phase) and diastolic (heart’s resting phase). Usually, the resting (in sitting position) pulse pressure in healthy individuals is 40 mmHg, give or take a little. A consistantly narrow (say 20 or 25 mmHg or less) or wide (say 60 or 65 or more) pulse pressure is not good.

Culled from leading source for health and medical news, WebMD.

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