The heart is a tough operating mechanism which moves blood around the body through a very advanced system called arteries and capillaries; the blood is then carried back to the heart by means of veins. Blood pressure is the thrust of this blood in the body pushing up against the inside walls of the arteries as the heart is pumping.
As the heart compresses it will drive this blood into the arteries which makes an increase in pressure. This increase in pressure is noted as systolic pressure.
When the heart decompresses and fills with blood, the pressure in the arteries then declines which is noted as the diastolic pressure. When the blood pressure is evaluated in the arm, it is both of these pressures which are evaluated.
Blood pressure is always applied as a systolic and diastolic pressure number, and is an important measurement. The measurements are always written one preceding or before the other number, such as 120/80 and always stated in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
The systolic pressure is the 1st or top side number, and the diastolic pressure is the 2nd or lowermost number (for example, 120/80), so if your blood pressure is 120/80, it is translating to 120 over 80.
Blood pressure will have a wide range with a variety of people. For example, the top reading which is when the heart contracts (systolic) can change from 90 to 240 mmHg and the bottom pressure which is when the heart relaxes (diastolic) can often change from 40 to 160 mmHg.
Blood pressure can also vary significantly depending on what you are doing during the day. The lowest blood pressures usually happen when you are sleeping or if resting all the muscles. Standing for periods of time, or if you’re performing any form of exercise, any anxiety and problems, or nerviness can also create increases in blood pressure.
That means in one day the blood pressure could change by up to a 30 to 40 mmHg systolic reading with like changes in the diastolic pressure. This is why it’s so crucial to have the blood pressure taken under the same conditions each time.
For the bulk of the waking hours, the blood pressure remains about the same whether you are sitting or standing still, so ideally, the blood pressure should be 120/80 or lower when the body is rested.
High Blood Pressure or Hypertension
If the blood pressure is steady and remains high at 140/90 or higher, this may indicate a disease called hypertension which essentially means high blood pressure. When the blood pressure is high, the heart has to work more to get the blood through your arteries. These then take a beating from having the blood pressured into them, and the danger of a stroke, heart attack, or even kidney troubles then become that much of a greater risk.
High blood pressure is a serious disease because it has the heart working much harder. If the heart has to work harder for extended periods, it will become large. If the heart is slightly enlarged, it can and should still work alright, but if it becomes greatly enlarged it won’t work alright. High blood pressure can also cause damage to the arteries which can lead to arterial disease.
The higher the blood pressure is the more risk you have of acquiring heart disease and stroke. This means somebody with a blood pressure of 130/80 mmHg is at greater risk than someone with a blood pressure of 120/70 mmHg. And is the reason it is so important for all to lead a wholesome lifestyle to make sure their blood pressure is as low and as healthy as it can be.
High blood pressure can damage blood vessels in the kidneys, reducing their ability to work properly. When the force of blood flow is high, blood vessels stretch so blood flows more easily. Eventually, this stretching scars and weakens blood vessels throughout the body, including those in the kidneys.
If the kidneys’ blood vessels are damaged, they may stop removing wastes and extra fluid from the body. Extra fluid in the blood vessels may then raise blood pressure even more, creating a dangerous cycle.
High blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure in the United States after diabetes.
You don’t have to put up with Hypertension as it can be treated. Modest cases of Hypertension can usually be treated through lifestyle changes such as the diet, or increasing the workout levels. Some find that losing weight is all that is needed to lower their high blood pressure.
Doctors will prescribe medications such as diuretics and beta blockers for severe cases of Hypertension.
However, these drugs come with their own problems or side effects.
Diuretics aid the body in getting rid of any excess fluids and salt. That can help lower blood pressure because it lowers blood volume. One side effect of diuretics is a loss of potassium, which is carried out of the body in urine along with the sodium. Potassium is needed for proper muscular movement and a deficiency of this mineral can result in fatigue, weakness, leg cramps, and even problems with the heart.
Beta blockers lower blood pressure by acting directly on the heart. These reduce heart rate and force of pumping, as well as reduce blood volume. Some of their side effects can be traced to that mechanism of action. Dizziness, weakness, fatigue, and fainting are possible. Beta-blockers also affect the respiratory system, so other side effects include shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, and chest pain. Beta-blockers should not be withdrawn suddenly, as that could result in a heart attack or even sudden death.
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