High blood pressure or hypertension is a common condition in which the force of blood on the wall of arteries is often too high. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood away from heart to tissues with oxygen and nutrients. Heart is made up of two chambers called ventricles these ventricles contract with each heartbeat to push blood to lungs and through arteries to the body. When the heart beats the pressure of the blood on the walls of arteries is called systolic pressure. When the heart relaxes between the beats it is called diastolic pressure.
Factors affecting Blood Pressure
- The first factor that affecting blood pressure is cardiac output, it is the amount of blood that ventricles push out from heart each minute. The blood pressure goes up as the cardiac output increases.
- The second factor that affecting blood pressure is the blood volume it is the total amount of blood in the body. Blood pressure goes up as the blood volume increases.
- The third factor that affecting blood pressure is resistance, several factors contribute to resistance.
- The major resistance factor is the flexibility of the artery wall. Healthy arteries expand with each heartbeat help to reduce blood pressure on the wall. The other resistance factor is the diameter of arteries. The body is able to increase the diameter of arteries to lower blood pressure or to reduce the diameter to raise the blood pressure. The resistance factor is the blood viscosity or thickness. The blood contains additional particles such as fats and proteins increase the viscosity. If the blood is thicker blood pressure goes up as the heart works harder to push it through the arteries.
Your blood pressure can be measured with a device called a sphygmomanometer or blood pressure cluff. The blood pressure may change throughout the day; it should normally be less than 120 millimetres of mercury for systolic pressure and less than 80 millimetres of mercury for diastolic pressure. If a systolic pressure frequently stays above 140 or your diastolic pressure stays above 90 you have high blood pressure.
Over time the high blood pressure will damage the walls of arteries. The artery wall become weak and forms an enlargement called aneurysm or the wall may burst and bleed into the surrounding tissue. Damage to arteries raises blood pressure even more by making the heart beat more forcefully. Artery damage and reduced blood flow lead to conditions such as a stroke, heart attack, kidney disease.
Blood Pressure Treatment
- In most cases the causes of high blood pressure or hypertension is unknown. Treatment of hypertension includes lifestyle changes such as eating healthy diet.
- Limiting the intake of sodium salt and highly processed foods. Sodium may cause to retain water in your body which increases both blood volume and blood pressure.
- Other lifestyle changes that can reduce blood pressure include avoiding excessive alcohol intake. Getting regular exercises, losing weight if you are overweight and quitting smoking.
- Some of the recommended medications are diuretics commonly which are called water pills cause kidneys to move more salt and water from blood into urine which in turn reduces blood volume and pressure.
- Beta blockers reduce the work load on heart by decreasing both the rate of heartbeat and strength of hearts contraction.
- Several types of drugs act directly or indirectly to reduce blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels these drugs include ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, calcium channel blockers and direct acting vasodilators.