Blood pressure is the force of blood against the artery walls every time the heart beats and pumps blood to the body.
When blood moves with a higher pressure than normal it could cause hypertension and lead to health problems when held high for long periods of time. It could be a high risk for stroke, heart disease, kidney failure and even vision problems.
It is known as the silent murderer because hypertension often has no symptoms.
Although the exact causes of hypertension are not known there are several factors that can cause high blood pressure. Habits like smoking, eating too much salt and fat, being overweight, drinking too much alcohol, or not exercising makes it more likely to develop high blood pressure.
It is also caused by having another health problem or by taking certain medications.
A tensiometer, which measures blood pressure, lists first the systolic pressure and then diastolic; for example, 140/80. A normal pressure is considered below 120/80.
Although hypertension is not curable, it can be controlled, usually by losing weight, exercising and changing your diet. These are essential to normalize your blood pressure.
Systolic pressure: the first measured value when blood pressure is read. It indicates the pressure to the heart muscle when it contracts. It must be below 120.
Diastolic pressure: the second figure measured during a pressure test. It reflects the pressure on the vessels after dilation of the heart muscle. It should be below 80.
Hypertension: It is commonly known as high blood pressure. It occurs when normal levels of blood pressure increase, be it systolic or diastolic. It is estimated that a patient begins to be hypertensive when their pressure is equal to or greater than 140 /90 mmHg.
Hypotension: It is commonly known as low pressure. It occurs when blood pressure is below the normal level during and after each heartbeat. The effect is that blood does not reach the heart, brain and other body parts with as much force as it should.
Prehypertension: Between 120/80 and 139/89. It is very likely to develop high blood pressure in the future. You should consult your doctor to help prevent it.
-Maintain a balanced diet low in salt/sodium. Limit sodium in your diet to 2,300 milligrams (mg) or less per day.
-Choose fruits and vegetables instead of salty chips or crackers.
-You can use herbs or spices instead of salt to flavor food.
-Read food labels to compare sodium content.
-Control your weight and avoid a sedentary life.
-Lower your stress, stay away from tobacco, and reduce your consumption of alcohol.