Monitoring blood pressure regularly is an essential task, something that most people ignore and do not give immense importance and consideration. One’s blood pressure is an indicator of the individual’s cardiovascular health, and a blood pressure chart helps an individual remain aware of his or her blood pressure levels. A blood pressure chart give a complete picture and help the individual determine his or her future course of action. Some of the details on a blood pressure chart are related to the types of blood pressure levels, the exact measurement counts, etc. A decrease or increase in blood pressure may signal hypotension or hypertension. Higher blood pressure levels can be catastrophic and can lead to heart disease, heart attack, kidney problems, stroke, etc. Though some of the factors or triggers of blood pressure could be genetically-inclined, one’s alcohol consumption levels, diet, medications, smoking, physical activity levels or the lack of it could also have an impact.
Through testing blood pressure and a blood pressure chart, an individual can determine the amount of force that has been exerted on the blood vessels, as blood gets pumped via the body. There are basically two types of blood pressure complications — high blood pressure and low blood pressure. High blood pressure is called hypertension and low blood pressure is called hypotension. Both these problems have their own side effects and complications. These are serious problems and could be life-threatening in certain cases.
Heart Rhythm and Rate, Systemic Vascular Resistance, Fluid Volume and Pump Strength
Heart rate is one of the major factors affecting blood pressure. A heart rate of close to 65-80 beats every minute is more than enough to maintain blood pressure levels in an average adult. When a healthy average adult puts pressure on his physical self while running or swimming, the heart rate goes up as the body requires additional oxygen for feeding the working muscles. The blood pressure is increased by the pumped-up heart rate for accomplishing the task. The heart is primarily composed of four chambers. Between the heart beats, the chambers are filled with blood for preparing the next heart contraction. Very fast heart beat rates do not give enough time to the heart chambers for getting filled or emptied properly. As a result, little blood gets ejected with every heart beat. This further leads to less quantity of blood in the system, thereby causing less pressure.
With slow heart rate cases, such as bradycardia, the blood levels in the vascular system and the heart chambers are sufficient enough, but it works a bit too slowly and is not able to keep up pressure within the pipe. When there is erratic running within the pump, the vascular system pressure is almost impossible to maintain, which then leads to hypotension.
Systemic vascular resistance is the pressure within the pipes, which has to be overcome by the pump for pumping blood to all the areas of the body. Blood vessel narrowing, which is called vasoconstriction, increases blood pressure in an individual. Blood vessel widening or vasodilation brings down pipe pressure. Blood pressure levels in the body are also affected by the volume of fluid present in the pipe system. Pressure is usually elevated by lots of fluid and there is a drop in pressure with low fluid levels.
Several doctors and medical authors through their journals and other publications have discussed and highlighted how blood pressure cannot be maintained by a weak pump. Even if the volume of blood is sufficient or high enough, and the heart beat rate is fast enough, a weak pump would not be able to transport blood through the system. As a result, blood would remain in the pipe leading to a drop in the pressure levels.
High-fat or high-cholesterol diet could lead to fat accumulation within the arteries, which may result in hypertension or other problems relating to the heart. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy products may help maintain a healthy heart and keep related medical problems at bay. Using nonstick cooking sprays and canola or olive oil is a healthy practice as well.
Alcohol and Smoking
Both habits, smoking and alcohol, can aggravate one’s blood pressure when consumed in large amounts. Alcohol must be taken in moderation, preferably red wine that is antioxidants-rich. Red wine is a much safer option when compared to Scotch or a belt of vodka. Apart from leading to hypertension, alcohol causes weight gain as well. On the other hand, smoking causes hardening of the arteries and can lead to stroke, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Most medicines have their own side effects; increase in blood pressure being one of the most common side effects with medications. Pain relievers, steroids, diet pills, oral contraceptives and antidepressants may interfere with anti-hyperintensive medicines and can also increase blood pressure. To be on the safer side, medicines should always be taken after consulting a medical doctor and with a proper prescription. If an individual has issues of high blood pressure, the doctor could then often substitute alternative medicines for the treatment.
Regular exercising leads to healthy living. Individuals with heart problems are invariably people who indulge in very little or no physical activity. As per doctors and physical fitness professionals, at least 100-150 minutes should be allotted for cardiovascular exercises, such as walking, swimming, running, cycling or a combo of these physical activities. It is not necessary that physical activities are possible only if dedicated time is being allotted. To save some time and to also not feel the burden of exercising, incorporating such physical activities into one’s regular scheme of things is recommendable. Quitting the elevator and taking the stairs, walking to work, etc. are some examples.
As per the Merck Manual, close to 32 % of Afro-Americans in the United States have hypertension problems. This is higher than the 23 % among Mexican Americans and whites living in the United States. People who have a Chinese or Japanese ancestral background are also more likely to report increased blood pressure levels when compared to white Americans. In addition, the Texas Heart Institute has noted that patients with a history of high blood pressure problems in the family are at higher risks of hypertension.
The chances of high blood pressure among people increase with age. Older people are more likely to be affected with these problems when compared to younger adults or children. According to the Merck Manual, almost two-thirds of male and three quarters of female patients above the age of 75 have problems of high blood pressure. The manual reports that only 25 % of the population falling in the age bracket of 20 and 74 years in America has blood pressure problems.
Weight plays a key role in determining the blood pressure levels of an individual. In fact, overweight individuals are likelier to get inflicted with high blood pressure problems when compared to individuals with normal weight. With an overweight individual, the levels of blood pressure are elevated as the heart would have to work harder to supply nutrients and oxygen to the extra tissues in the body.
According to Mayo Clinic, tobacco usage is one of the factors that can cause hypertension. Tobacco increases the blood pressure levels almost instantly and the chemicals within the substance could cause major damages to the linings of the artery walls. The damages incurred could be irreparable as well in most cases. As a result, the arteries would become narrow and the blood pressure levels would increase.
Pregnancy may cause hypertension in women. The period of pregnancy is one of the most anxious and exciting moments in the life of any woman and that, as a result and unfortunately, could lead to some medical complications. According to AHA, women who have not had any history of blood pressure problems in the past can develop the issue during times of pregnancy. An increase in blood pressure levels is the highest during the final three months of pregnancy. Women with hypertension problems in the past or prior to their pregnancy are at an even bigger risk of blood pressure problems during their pregnancy months.
Excess consumption of sodium can cause water retention problems, which may cause the blood pressure levels to increase. Potassium deficiency may also trigger blood pressure levels. For even better understanding about blood pressure, consulting a doctor and getting an accurate blood pressure chart is recommended.