What is Blood Pressure? How can it be measured?

The heart's muscles move in a cycle of contraction and rest. The heart contracts and sends blood through the vessels to the organs. Blood pressure measures how heavy the blood is pulsing against the arteries during a heartbeat cycle.

The two-number system of measuring blood pressure is something you are probably familiar with. It starts at the beginning of any doctor's visit. The top number is your systolic (or heartbeat) blood pressure. The bottom number is the pressure when your heart is at rest. These numbers are calculated using the unit of measurement mm Hg or millimetres.

Any restriction or slowdown in blood flow through the heart can lead to complications in the circulatory system and connected organs. To ensure that all parts of the body work together, blood pressure needs to be maintained at a healthy level.

What does blood pressure have to do with stroke?

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can wear down the structure and resilience of blood vessels over time. They constrict and become less elastic. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clots forms and is trapped in a blocked or narrowed blood vessel. This area of the brain can suffer more damage if it is not able to receive blood flow. Blood vessels that become too worn and eventually break down can also cause hemorrhagic strokes.

Hypertension is an abrupt rise in blood pressure. It is often a sign of a severe underlying issue or life-threatening condition. Blood vessels can't sustain blood flow to the brain at these high-pressure levels.

Hypertension can also be dangerous if blood pressure is too low. Hypotension is a condition that causes shock to the body. Low blood pressure, similar to hypertension, can cause complications such as dizziness, breathing problems, and heart disease.

What are the Healthy and Unhealthy ranges of blood pressure for people at risk for stroke?

Blood pressure should not exceed 120/80 to avoid cardiovascular problems. 120 is the active systolic number. 80 denotes the resting diastolic pressure between heartbeats. Pre-hypertension is any systolic number between 120 to 140 or diastolic numbers between 80 and 90. This could indicate an underlying problem in your overall health and lifestyle.

Each person will respond differently to numbers below 120/80. Low blood pressure symptoms may manifest differently in different people. Hypotension is a condition that can lead to severe complications.

People with hypertension -- with blood pressures around 180/120 -- are at high risk of suffering a stroke. This is regardless of whether or not they have had a stroke previously. Blood vessels can become damaged and may not allow blood and clots through the body when they are under such extreme pressure.

Everyone with low or high blood pressure should see a doctor regularly to ensure their individual cases reflect a healthy body.

Strategies to Maintain Safe Blood Pressure

Unbalanced blood pressure symptoms can be pronounced, such as dizziness, chest pain, or shortness of breath. However, many people don't realize they are at risk of developing blood pressure-related problems.

Lifestyle changes can help reduce many risk factors. One of the best ways to balance your blood pressure is to control your diet and exercise habits. You should avoid high sugar, sodium, saturated fats, cholesterol, and a demanding lifestyle to maintain. Instead, create a fun and easy daily exercise routine that you can fit into your life. You must be consistent. Make sure you make small changes that are easy to maintain and expand upon.

Both first- and secondhand smoking can cause damage to blood vessels. Doctors recommend that you limit your intake of alcohol to one or two drinks per day. Alcohol can increase the risk of blood clots.

While some risk factors such as race, age, or genetics cannot be eliminated, it is essential to keep an eye on your blood pressure and consult your doctor for advice. This will help you avoid strokes. This is particularly important after a stroke. High and low blood pressure can increase the chance of having a recurrent stroke. A regular exercise program, controlled diet, and prescribed medication directed by your doctor can offset this risk.

Three Reasons to Monitor Your Blood Pressure Actively

High blood pressure is something that many people are familiar with. However, not all of them take action to reduce it. High blood pressure is a common problem in America, with 1 in 3 Americans suffering from it. Some people take matters into their own hands and make changes that will positively impact their health. Many people will find excuses for not making a change and push the idea of control back to the sidelines. You will usually hear excuses such as "I'm in good shape" or "I'm too young to worry about it." People are often preoccupied with other things and never get to them.

Even though it might not be on your mind, there are three good reasons to take control of your life today.

  1. High blood pressure can increase the risk of stroke and heart disease. Your chances of suffering from stroke or cardiovascular disease will increase. Do not wait for this to happen.
  2. There won't be any obvious signs of high blood pressure, which is why it's called the silent killer. You should keep your blood pressure under active surveillance as you might not experience any symptoms that could damage your liver and heart.

3. There are many risk factors, including:

  • Age - The potential risk of hypertension increases with age. This becomes more common in middle age, with women more likely to develop hypertension after menopause. This can happen to anyone, regardless of age. Active monitoring is essential.
  • Ethnicity - African-Americans are more likely to have a high blood pressure than Caucasians. As a result, extreme issues like strokes and heart attacks are more common in African-Americans.
  • Family History- Tends towards being genetic.
  • Obese or Overweight - This means that your heart must work harder to pump oxygen to your body, causing elevation.
  • Inactivity - Less active People tend to have higher heart rates, which causes your heart to work harder.
  • Smoking cigarettes and using tobacco - In addition to increasing blood pressure in the short term, chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes can cause long-lasting damage to your arteries.
  • Too Much Alcohol: Drinking more than two drinks per day can cause an adverse effect.
  • Too much salt (sodium). An excessive amount of salt can cause the body to retain more water, increasing blood pressure.
  • Lack of Potassium- You may have too much sodium if you don't get enough potassium.

The conditions described here should be a wake-up call. Active daily monitoring is the first step to understanding your blood pressure and helping you lower it. You can use a personal blood pressure machine to find out what factors contribute to your blood pressure increasing or decreasing to manage your overall health. They are affordable and easy to use for anyone.

Start improving your health now by getting a blood pressure machine.