Easy Ways to Understand Blood Pressure

Introduction:The first time your doctor prescribes blood pressure medicine is scary. Also medical terminology is not easy to understand. If you have questions about your condition, here are easy ways to understand blood pressure and the difference between high and low blood pressure.

  • 01

    Easy Way to Understand Blood Pressure

    Blood pressure equals the force of blood that pushes against the walls of blood vessels. The strength of that force depends upon how easily the blood flows through the blood vessels and the strength of the heartbeat.

    High blood pressure signals that stroke, heart attack and/or kidney failure could follow. Low blood pressure does not get an equal amount of press, but it can lead to permanent damage of the heart, brain and/or kidney.

  • 02

    Easy Way to Understand High or Low Blood Pressure

    The medical term for high blood pressure is hypertension. The high pressure can damage the brain, if blood vessels rupture. Ruptured blood vessels could cause a stroke. If your doctor diagnoses hypertension, he will prescribe medications and explain reasons to change your diet.

    The medical name for low blood pressure is hypotension. It the heart doesn't pump enough blood, all body organs can suffer because they are not getting enough oxygen.

  • 03

    Some Things That Affect Blood Pressure

    If you are diagnosed with hypertension or hypotension, your physician may suggest home blood pressure monitoring. Your doctor or pharmacist will show you how to operate home blood pressure equipment. Here are some things that will affect your "numbers".

    Exercise - exercise is good and necessary to help control blood pressure, but do not test immediately afterwards. When you exercise the blood pressure increases to supply more oxygen and blood. Rest about 15 minutes after exercise before monitoring your blood pressure at home.

    Time - Blood pressure normally is lowest during early morning and rises late in the afternoon, depending on activity. If you keep records of your numbers, take the time of day into consideration.

    Fever - If you have a fever, your heart will pump more blood each time it beats, so the blood pressure will be higher. If you must stay in bed a long time because of illness or injury, your blood pressure will be lower. The first time you get up make sure someone is with you, because it is possible you will faint due to low blood pressure.

    Emotions - If you are under more stress, if you are angry, afraid or in pain, your blood pressure may read higher than it normally does.

    Medications - Some prescription and over-the-counter medications affect the rise and fall of blood pressure. Read the side effects before beginning a new medication.

  • 04

    Easy Way to Record Blood Pressure at Home

    Note the date, time and any unusual things that may have affected your blood pressure. The top number is called systolic. This number is a record of you heartbeat action. Write it on top and make a slash to record the bottom number. The bottom number is called the diastolic, which is the artery resting blood pressure. Your reading will look similar to this: 120/80.

  • 05

    Easy Way to Understand Blood Pressure Ranges

    Healthy blood pressure ranges (numbers) vary with age. Your doctor will tell you your healthy blood pressure ranges. As a general guideline, you should contact your physician if your top number is over 200 and your bottom number is under 50. Also, contact your doctor if your readings continue to be above or below your normal range.


Final Thoughts

While it's important to understand blood pressure, it is critical to work hand-in-hand with your doctor to keep your high or low blood pressure under control.

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