High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure is a chronic disease affecting millions of Americans today. Also known as high Hypertension, it simply means that the blood flowing through your arteries to your heart and other organs is moving at an abnormally high pressure and could potentially cause harm to your arteries and organs if left untreated. The good news is that once you are diagnosed, it is a manageable condition and one that is easily treated.
How Blood Pressure is Calculated
The quickest way to determine whether you are suffering from hypertension is to have your blood pressure checked. To do this, the nurse or doctor will use a device known as a sphygmomanometer, also known as a blood pressure cuff. The cuff is placed around your upper arm, and inflated using an air pump. Once it has been inflated to a pressure that will cut off the flow of blood through the brachial artery in your arm, the administrator of the test will begin to release the pressure in the cuff.
While the cuff deflates, we will place a stethoscope on the arm under the cuff, so that we can listen to the artery. Once we first hear a pulse from the artery, we will note the pressure at which it was heard, giving us your systolic pressure number. We will continue to listen as the cuff continues to deflate and once we can no longer hear a pulse from the artery, the reading at that point will give us your diastolic pressure number. The numbers are read as systolic/diastolic, and are the measuring guide to determine whether you have high blood pressure.
The Numbers and Your Health
The accepted average blood pressure is considered to be below or at; If it is between 120/80 and 139/89, you are considered to be pre-hypertensive or borderline. If it goes above 139/89, then you are considered to have high blood pressure.
Having high blood pressure increases your risk of developing some very serious health conditions later on, as well as damaging vital organs. Heart disease, kidney disease, and hardening of the arteries are chronic in America today, and untreated high blood pressure can also lead to your eyes being damaged from the pressure, or give you a stroke, damaging your heart and brain.
Unfortunately, most people will never show any signs of high blood pressure until it is too late. If you ever experience chronic headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath or blurred vision, there is a good chance that you have hypertension. It can be treated with lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or reducing stress. It is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.