Blood Pressure -Hypertension and Hypotension

Blood pressure (BP) is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Each time your heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure. When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is called diastolic pressure. Blood pressure is usually expressed in terms of the systolic pressure (maximum during one heart beat) over diastolic pressure (minimum in between two heart beats).

Normal resting blood pressure in an adult is approximately 120 millimetres of mercury (16 kPa) systolic, and 80 millimetres of mercury (11 kPa) diastolic, abbreviated “120/80 mmHg”.

High blood pressure is when your blood pressure is persistently higher than normal. A blood pressure reading under 120/80mmHg is considered optimal. Readings over 120/80mmHg and up to 139/89mmHg are in the normal to high normal range. Blood pressure that’s high over a long time is one of the main risk factors for heart disease.

Blood pressure that is lower than normal is called hypotension and blood pressure that is higher than normal is called hypertension. Both have many causes. and may be of sudden onset or of long duration. Long-term hypertension is a risk factor for many diseases, including heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Long-term hypertension is more common than long term hypotension.

If you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about the best way to control it.


Causes of hypertension:

The exact causes of high blood pressure are often not clear. Your blood pressure may be strongly influenced by:

  1. Weight 
  2. Family history
  3. Eating patterns, including salty foods 
  4. How much physical activity you do.
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