Ref: CHB/HB/026/15                                                         

CHB NEWS BULLETIN

BLOOD PRESSURE

Blood pressure is the amount of force (pressure) that blood exerts on the walls of the vessels as it passes through them.

Why Is It Important?
 
As blood is pumped from the heart into the blood vessels, enough pressure is created to send it to all other parts of the body. As blood vessels travel away from the heart, they branch off and gradually get smaller, just like the branches of a tree. One branch may go to the brain, while another may go to your kidneys. Blood pressure keeps the blood flowing through all these branches so the body's cells get the oxygen and nutrients they need.
 
There are two types of Blood Pressure:- High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) & Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)

What is High blood pressure?
 
Is defined as high pressure (tension) in the arteries, which are the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
 
Complications of high blood pressure include heart disease, kidney (renal) disease, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis), eye damage, and stroke (brain damage).
 
Hypertension is a major public health problem. The American Heart Association estimates high blood pressure affects approximately one in three adults in the United States, or about 76.4 million people.

What causes high blood pressure?

The causes of hypertension are multifactorial, meaning there are several factors whose combined effects produce hypertension.

  • High salt intake or salt sensitivity: This occurs in certain populations such as the elderly, people who are obese, or people with kidney (renal) problems.
  • Genetic predisposition to high blood pressure: People who have one or two parents with hypertension have high blood pressure incidence about twice as high as the general population.
  • A particular abnormality of the arteries, which results in an increased resistance (stiffness or lack of elasticity) in the tiny arteries (arterioles): This increased peripheral arteriolar stiffness develops in individuals who are also obese, do not exercise, have high salt intake, and are older.

What are the signs and symptoms of high blood pressure?

High blood pressure may not have any symptoms and so hypertension has been labeled "the silent killer." Longstanding high blood pressure can lead to multiple complications including heart attack, kidney disease, or stroke.

Some people experience symptoms with their high blood pressure. These symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blurred vision
  • Feeling of pulsations in the neck or head
  • Nausea

Low blood pressure?

Low blood pressure, also called hypotension, is blood pressure that is low enough that the flow of blood to the organs of the body is inadequate and symptoms and/or signs of low blood flow develop.

What causes low blood pressure?

Dehydration is common among patients with prolonged nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive exercise which shunts blood away from the organs to the muscles. Large amounts of water are lost when vomiting and with diarrhea, especially if the person does not drink adequate amounts of fluid to replace the depleted water.

Other causes of dehydration include exercise, sweating, fever, and heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. Individuals with mild dehydration may experience only thirst and dry mouth. Moderate to severe dehydration may cause orthostatic hypotension (manifested by lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting upon standing). Prolonged and severe dehydration can lead to shock, kidney, confusion, acidosis (too much acid in the blood), coma, and even death. 

What are the signs and symptoms of low blood pressure?

People with hypotension may experience unpleasant symptoms when their blood pressure drops below 90/60. Symptoms of hypotension can include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Nausea.
  • Clammy skin.
  • Depression.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Blurry vision.

 
We strongly advise all to undergo regular health check-up (minimum once a year) and carry out blood pressure (BP) test monthly, those identified with high BP, should do daily check.


 
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