How is blood pressure related to heart failure?
One of the most commonly heard concerns in every family is blood pressure. Everyone has at least once in their life got their blood pressure checked. And on today’s date, almost every person has a family member who suffers from high or low blood pressure. In most cases a fluctuation is temporary and stabilizes easily. However, those who suffer from consistently high blood pressure need to be extra careful and monitor the same to avoid major health complications like cardiovascular diseases.
What is blood pressure?
For the uninitiated, let us understand what blood pressure is, and why it is so vital for our overall health. It is the natural force that helps circulate blood through the veins into our organs. It is what drives the circulatory system in our bodies. With this force it moves around a lot of vital things in our bodies.
- Blood pressure will enable oxygen and nutrients to reach the tissues and organs, ensuring nourishment at the cellular level.
- Apart from these, blood pressure also helps transport the WBC or white blood cells & antibodies that boost our immunity and insulin hormone which manages the sugar levels in the body.
- During circulation, it helps blood carry out the toxic metabolic waste produced by the body. This includes the carbon dioxide we exhale and the things we excrete through our kidneys.
- Different parts of the body will have different levels of pressure.
What causes blood pressure?
Simply put, the pumping action of your heart creates pressure by forcing blood out with every contraction. Blood pressure is highest at the origin, i.e., the heart. Thereafter it keeps lowering as it moves to the aorta and eventually the smaller branches of arteries. This is how blood flows and pressure ensures it reaches every end of our body.
Arteries in the circulatory system act like pipes, restricting them will increase the pressure where blood is stuck or restricted in the artery. With the flexible walls of the arteries, the blood pressure will drop faster as it pumps away from the heart. Therefore, the condition of the arteries will decide the blood pressure levels. Which means narrowed arteries can block the supply of blood completely, resulting in a stroke or heart attack.
How many levels of blood pressure exist?
- Normal BP | Range 120/80 mm Hg | Outcome: Stick to healthy habits
- Elevated BP | Range Upto 129/ less than 80 mm Hg | Outcome: likely to develop high blood pressure
- Hypertension Stage 1 | Range Upto 139 systolic/ 80-89 mm Hg | Outcome: Prescribed lifestyle changes or blood pressure medication based on your risk of heart attack or stroke
- Hypertension Stage 2 | Range 140/90 mm Hg or higher | Outcome: blood pressure medications and lifestyle changes
- Hypertensive crisis | Range 180/120 or above | Outcome: Rush to ER. There is a high chance of organ damage
How to control blood pressure?
The ideal blood pressure level for a normal healthy person is 120 systolic pressure by 80 diastolic pressure, i.e.,120 over 80 mm Hg. The systolic pressure is always a higher figure, and caused by the heart’s contraction. The diastolic number is the lower pressure denoting the brief resting periods between heartbeats. Anything beyond these levels would be a cause of concern.
Any treatment at an earlier stage, should be through lifestyle changes and monitoring levels of blood pressure regularly. In case of high blood pressure, these lifestyle changes can reduce the dosage of medication:
- Lose the extra pounds: Weight gain around the waist increases blood pressure.
- Treat underlying conditions like sleep apnea, which can raise blood pressure.
- Exercise: Brings down your blood pressure and reverse hypertension. Try doing this at least twice a week including cardio and strength exercises.
- Watch your diet: Whole grains, fruits & vegetables, low-fat dairy products and low in cholesterol & trans fats can lower high blood pressure.
- Reduce salt in your diet: More potassium in your diet reduces sodium which increases blood pressure. This means cutting down on processed foods and beverages.
- Limit your alcohol: Binge drinking often leads to rise in blood pressure and it can also reduce the effectiveness of medications.
- Quit smoking: Chain smokers develop high blood pressure and hardening of arteries leading to a greater risk of heart disease.
- Sleep properly: Get your circadian rhythm back on track. Lack of proper sleep increases cortisol and disrupts the
- Reduce stress: Emotional and physical stress triggers blood pressure, shooting up abruptly and leading to sudden conditions like hypertension, anxiety, stroke or heart attack.
Apart from these, the best medicine to manage your blood pressure will be prescribed by your physician.
Does blood pressure rise with age?
With age our body undergoes a lot of changes. As the vascular system ages, arteries get stiffer, which in turn shoots up blood pressure. This can happen to anyone, which is why blood pressure is often called “the silent killer,” for the symptoms almost never surface.
In old people blood pressure cannot be controlled with lifestyle changes and medication, it can lead to serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease (such as heart disease and stroke), vascular dementia, eye problems, and kidney disease. The good news is that blood pressure can be controlled in most people.
Blood pressure affects our bodies in more ways than we know. The biggest impact falls on our arteries that help the blood to pass. With an unhealthy lifestyle and age the arteries lose their agility creating a complete blockage of blood supply to and from the heart. This in extreme circumstances leads to heart failure, as the heart fails to pump any more blood. Regular monitoring will help you save yourself from blood pressure. In case of any medical assistance for the same, reach out to Dr…… at the CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram for a proper treatment plan to monitor and control your blood pressure.