Much is talked about high blood pressure and the need to reduce it, but how high is “High” and what is the optimum?
Look at the four blood pressure categories below and then determine which category you fall into.
If your blood pressure reading is in two different categories where systolic pressure is in one category and diastolic pressure is in another, then your correct blood pressure category is the higher one. For example, if your blood pressure reading is 119/85 you have Pre-hypertension.
Below 120 and Below 80 is considered Normal blood pressure.
120-139 and 80-89 is considered Pre-hypertension.
140-159 and 90-99 is considered Stage 1 hypertension.
160 or more and 100 or more is considered Stage 2 hypertension.
The 1st Number represents Systolic pressure. This is the pressure generated when the heart contracts.
The 2nd Number represents Diastolic pressure. This is the blood pressure when the heart is relaxed.
It is not possible to determine what blood pressure category you are in by taking just one reading. Blood pressure readings should be taken at four or five equally spaced periods throughout the day whilst you are at rest and these readings should be taken over seven days. The numbers should then be averaged to give a representative reading
It is important to understand just how dangerous high blood pressure is.
High blood pressure is a very high risk factor for congestive heart failure. This is a serious condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to supply the functional needs of your body. The result of your heart failing to pump enough blood can result in kidney damage and in extreme cases, even a stroke.
In relation to your kidneys, if high blood pressure remains untreated it can damage both the blood vessels feeding the kidneys and the kidney filtering membranes – called nephrons – as well.
High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for a stroke as well as creating the ideal condition for “a bleed” in the brain which can be just as life threatening.
Many patients who need to undergo heart bypass surgery need to do so because of damage initially caused by high blood pressure.
Here is a summary of the effects of high blood pressure:
- Damage to cerebral tissues or stoke, resulting in convulsions, impaired speech and impaired body function including partial or total paralysis.
- Atherosclerosis which is hardening of the walls of the arteries. This raises the risk for heart disease and further increases the severity of high blood pressure in a “vicious circle” of cause and effect coronary heart disease of varying severity.
If you discover that you have high blood pressure, you need to find a suitable method to reduce it, and you should treat this as very urgent. Delay is to be avoided, especially since you may have been unknowingly suffering with high blood pressure for quite some time prior to discovery.
Undoubtedly you should consult with your doctor, but you may also wish to discuss with your doctor alternatives to prescription drugs that although are very effective, do have some very unpleasant side effects.
Some known non prescription drug methods for effectively lowering blood pressure include meditation, aerobic exercise, controlled breathing exercises, healthy diet and stress management.
If you are a tobacco smoker you should without question seek urgent help to quit as quickly as possible. You may also need to understand that nicotine replacement (patches, gum etc) may not be suitable to assist you as they may actually exacerbate the condition.