Blood pressure is the measure of the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls as it flows through the body. It is something that is ever changing and can be forced up or down for a whole variety of reasons. It is a very reciprocal relationship between good health and having a healthy blood pressure level, one that depends greatly on your lifestyle, but can still be greatly affected by genetics and existing medical issues.
When you read your blood pressure, it has a top number (systolic: measures amount of pressure on arteries and vessels while heart is beating), and a bottom number (diastolic: pressure that is exerted on the walls of various arteries around the body between heart beats, or when the heart is relaxed).
Before diving into things, however, let it be known that a ‘normal’ blood pressure is should usually be somewhere around less than 120 over 80, or 120/80. There can be slight variations and still be considered healthy, but this is a more ideal pressure reading to have.
We will take a brief look at what may cause your blood pressure to drop or rise, how you can pin point the symptoms for either, and what potential consequences are. We will also succinctly discuss what it is you can do when you have either high or low blood pressure, to help alleviate and even get rid of those symptoms you may experience.
High Blood Pressure
Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure ultimately means that there is a high amount of tension within the vessels, making it much harder for the heart to pump blood through them. This would not necessarily mean you have emotional tension or stress, but they are both things that can contribute to a rise in blood pressure.
Other things that will contribute to heightened blood pressure include: smoking, being overweight or obese, lack of exercise, high intake of sodium, high intake of alcohol, and older age. As mentioned before, genetics and existing disease or disorders (especially those having to do with kidneys or thyroids) are big contributors to hypertension.
Some people have claimed experiencing nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping, or facial blushing as symptoms of hypertension; others have claimed headaches, nosebleeds, and blood spots in the eyes. Most of these symptoms are inconclusive, and many people will not actually experience symptoms. What is absolutely necessary is having your blood pressure checked at the least somewhat regularly by your doctor. That is the only sure way to know where your levels are at.
If you do have high blood pressure, eating healthier and involving yourself in physical activity are immediate ways to start lowering it. Not only will your blood pressure go down, but other areas of your health are going to improve as well. If you are a smoker, the obvious and really, only option there is to stop smoking. This will drastically improve your health, especially your blood pressure.
If you do not address and start to alter your life style to lower your blood pressure, you will run risks of developing heart disease, kidney disease, hardening of the arteries, eye damage, and stroke. The quicker you make efforts to normalize your pressure, the lesser chance you’ll run into any complications down the road.
Low Blood Pressure
Referred to as hypotension, low blood pressure is a harder issue to diagnose, because for many the point at which blood pressure could be too low varies from person to person. In reality, the lower your blood pressure reads, the better, as long as no troubling health symptoms are present. People have had blood pressure as low as 85/55, and have experienced no health complications, so really it is definitely just something you need to pay attention to; too low of pressure could cause inadequate blood flow to the heart, brain, and other vital organs.
Some things to be weary of if they are occurring are: dizziness or lightheadedness, fainting, dehydration (which can cause low blood pressure), lack of concentration, blurred vision, nausea, cold and clammy skin, shallow breathing, fatigue, and even depression. A lot of these symptoms can be symptoms of so many other ailments, even just the common cold. So if they persist you should definitely have yourself checked out.
Hypotension can also be a symptom itself of underlying problems; heart problems, endocrine problems, severe infection, allergic reaction, or nutritional deficiencies could be the actual issue you’re facing, and a drop in blood pressure could be telling you something. Alcoholism can also cause a severe drop in blood pressure; it was listed above in relation to hypertension, which with it being related to both, it should just be clear that alcohol should be consumed in total moderation.
Having too low of blood pressure as mentioned is not necessarily going to be a complete health issue; it is also very avoidable if you’re sure to take care of yourself. Be sure to drink plenty of water, eat healthy, exercise regularly, and get checked by your doctor. Low blood pressure is a much easier thing to deal with, if it gets too low. In many cases however, it won’t, so don’t worry too much about it. This complication mostly occurs with elderly people, who are possibly going to have a higher chance of the above mentioned health issues.
When it comes down to it…
Unless you have unfortunately inherited a tendency to have high blood pressure, or have developed a disease or disorder that would bring it on, the ball is completely in your court in terms of what your blood pressure levels are at. As we have seen, too low of blood pressure is very rare, and high blood pressure can be brought down through very easy means. It is not only avoidable, but very controllable.