Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What do you know about blood pressure?

Knowing about blood pressure is important in order to take care of yours and yours family health. Blood pressure is a force of blood against the artery walls while passing throughout the blood vessels. It ranges from 120 mmHg (13 kPa) in the moment of heart beat in aorta, to almost 4 kPa in small capillaires and 2 kPa in veins.
Blood pressure is always given as the systolic and diastolic pressures. Both are important. They are usually written one above or before the other, such as 120/80 mmHg.
Another very important fact you should know about blood pressure is that only way to know for sure your blood pressure level is by measuring it. High blood pressure often has no symptoms or only vague symptoms, but it can be deadly. This is why measuring your blood pressure regularly is very important.  Your blood pressure is influenced by the time of day. For most people the highest blood pressure occurs about noon and the lowest in the early morning, around 3-4 AM. Some people, called "non-dippers", dont have a morning dip and for them the highest blood pressure is usually around 6 AM to 9 AM in the morning. Some physicians make vast assumptions because they are not aware of this. A non-dipper may have 150/90 in the morning, and 135/85 in the evening. Such phenomenon is usually associated with heavy snoring, sleep apnea, drug and alcohol abuse. Advices to check your blood pressure once a year is insufficient. You should check your blood pressure far more often because, as already said, the value is influenced by the time of day, exercise, food etc. You can have high blood pressure but if you are measuring after excercise and in the morning, get a low value and misdiagnose. Thing you should also be aware about blood pressure is „white coat syndrome“. Some people are tense in the doctor's office and get higher blood pressure readings. When they leave the doctor's office, their blood pressure returns to normal. Unfortunatelly, not rarely they are prescribed with drugs for high blood pressure, even though they don't suffer from it. This is another good reason to use home monitors because you can keep track how your own body is responding to daily changes.
Although symptoms of high blood pressure are usually vague or even nonexistent, if you notice headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath and chest pain you should take this as a possible warning sign  and contact your doctor. Most people don't discover their high blood pressure until they already have organ damages.

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