So what is hypertension? Our body requires a constant supply of fresh oxygenated blood to perform daily activities. The heart is in charge of supplying essential nutrients and oxygenated blood to different parts of the body through a complex network of blood vessels. As the blood passes through these blood vessels, it applies pressure to the walls of the vessels; this pressure is referred to as “blood pressure”. The size and flexibility of the arteries and the volume and force of the blood are the two major factors that determine our blood pressure at any given time.
What is Hypertension? (High Blood Pressure?)
Hypertension, more commonly known as “high blood pressure” is a condition in which the pressure inside the arteries increases to unhealthy levels, this can happen as a result of various factors such as:
- the walls of the arteries lose their elasticity or become narrowed,
- too much blood in circulation, or
- heart contractility
How is Hypertension Diagnosed | What Is Hypertension?
The most common way of diagnosing hypertension (high blood pressure) is by using a device called a sphygmomanometer. The sphygmomanometer measures the blood pressure in units called millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The blood pressure is expressed by two numbers; the first number indicates the systolic pressure (the pressure in the arteries when the heart is pumping the blood), whereas the second number indicates the diastolic pressure (the pressure in the arteries while the heart is resting between beats).
The general classification of blood pressure reading is:
- Normal/healthy blood pressure – 120/80 mmHg
- High blood pressure (stage 1) – 140/90 mmHg
- High blood pressure (stage 2) – 180/110 mmHg
- Low blood pressure – 90/60 mmHg
Treatment of Hypertension | What Is Hypertension?
If your doctor has diagnosed you with high blood pressure, he/she may recommend you to regularly monitor your blood pressure at home in addition to regular healthcare visits. Since there is no permanent cure for hypertension, treatment for high blood pressure typically involves lifestyle changes accompanied by medications. Here is a list of some healthy lifestyle changes that can help you keep your blood pressure in the normal range and avoid health complications in the future:
- quit smoking
- eat heart-healthy food
- increase physical activity
- avoid salt
- maintain healthy weight
- manage stress
- avoid alcohol
Southgate Medical Centre
What is Hypertension