Heart & Blood Pressure

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Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood in the circulatory system of the body. It rises with each heart beat and falls when the heart relaxes between beats. Blood pressure can change every minute with change in exercise, posture, sleep or stress and several other reasons. For adults over the age of 20 the normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. It is often measured as a part of diagnosis as it is closely related to the rate and force of heartbeat and the elasticity and diameter of the arterial walls. When the body is fit the blood pressures remains normal. However, there are various reasons because of which blood pressures may either by high or low.

Causes of high and low blood pressure:

High blood pressure happens when the walls in the arteries are receiving a lot more pressure repeatedly. Some of the main causes for such pressure in the arteries include:

  • Obesity or overweight
  • Physical inactivity
  • Alcohol intake
  • Smoking
  • High salt intake
  • High fat diet
  • Mental stress
  • Psoriasis
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • Some aspects of gender i.e. high blood pressure is more common in adult men than women
  • Cold Temperature
  • Family history
  • Old Age

Some of the causes of low blood pressure include:

  • Serious injury or internal bleeding
  • Dehydration
  • Endocrine problems
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Pregnancy
  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Diet deficiency
  • Eating disorders
  • Anorexia
  • Anaesthesia

Signs and Symptoms  

Some of the common signs and symptoms of high blood pressure include:

  • Headache that is lasting for several days
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitation
  • Epistaxis - nosebleed
  • Breathlessness, shortness of breath.
  • Preventive measures

Some of the symptoms of low blood pressure include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Cold, clammy, pale skin
  • Depression
  • General feeling of weakness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Thirst.

Preventive measures

There are various conditions that may lead to irregularity in blood pressure. However, following certain activities in daily life can ensure normal blood pressure level:

  • Aim to have a balanced meal: It is essential to fix diet after consultation with your doctor. He after taking into consideration several factors will guide you on a diet plan that you need to abide by. Include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and fluids in your diet. In case of low blood pressure salt intake and nutritional food needs to be taken. In case of high blood pressure high fat diet, spicy food should be avoided.
  • Exercise: Following a daily regime of exercise goes a long way in keeping the blood level normal. However, care should be taken to do exercise under proper supervision
  • Reduce stress level: Stress is one of the main causes of irregularity in blood levels. Ways and means should be adopted to reduce stress level by indulging in therapies and meditations and other techniques as advised by experts.

Myths and facts:

There are always some misconception about low blood pressure and high blood pressure. While some may be true there are others which might be completely a myth. Some common facts and myths are as follows:

Myth: Blood pressure and heart rate are always linked

Fact: It is true that heart rate and blood pressure often fall and rise together, but it is not always the case. Many a times the two does not fall or rise together. In such cases the doctor may have to look at treatment specific to either increased or decreased heart rate or high or low blood pressure. The doctor mat than suggest heart medications or medications to treat the abnormality in pressure.

Myth: There is one "normal" for heart rate and blood pressure:

Fact: There are guidelines about normal heart rate and blood pressure but it may vary from person to person and is not fixed.

Myth: Treatment does not work in case of high blood pressure

Fact: If you sit with your doctor and work out a plan that includes diet, exercise and medication and follow it religiously than it will have profound impact on your health and your blood pressure may also become normal. Regular checkups are also essential.

Diagnosis of disease

Diagnosis of high and low blood pressure can be done with the help of a device Sphygmomanometer. Sphygmomanometer consists of an inflatable cuff which is wrapped around the upper arm. During investigation the cuff is inflated which restricts in the blood flow. A mechanical manometer or mercury measures the pressure. Stethoscope is also used along with Sphygmomanometer to listen to the brachial artery at the elbow while the pressure at the cuff is being slowly released by the examiner.

Treatment for High and low blood pressure

High blood pressure treatment will be provided after taking into consideration several factors such as associated risks of developing any cardiovascular disease, severity of conditions and so on.

  • In case of slightly elevated blood pressure the doctor may suggest some lifestyle change.
  •  If the patient is suffering from moderate high blood pressure than chance of developing cardiovascular disease is quite high in the later years. Hence he or she may be prescribed with both lifestyle change as well as blood pressure drugs.
  • In case of very high blood pressure such as 180/110 mmHg or higher that the patient will require special care and will be treated under a cardiologist.

Atorvastatin- Atorvastatin is developed to lower cholesterol levels in your blood. It reduces the level of bad cholesterol and triglyceride in the bloodstream. However, it can raise good cholesterol in your blood. The tablets are not for everyone, including anyone who has a history of allergic reaction to Atorvastatin. Furthermore, the medication is not for those with hepatic insufficiency. Also, pregnant and nursing women should consult their physician before taking it. The medicine can lower the risk of high blood pressure, kidney problems, heart attack, stroke, or eye problems. The pharmaceutical drug is for adults and children over ten years of age whose cholesterol does not come at the targeted levels with exercise and low-fat diet.  

Metoprolol Succinate- Metoprolol succinate is clinically approved for the treatment of patients with high blood pressure or hypertension. It can be given alone or along with other pharmaceutical agents. The medication is an extended-release tablet that falls into the category of drugs known as beta blockers, which are among the proven medicines in cardiovascular medicine. The regular intake makes the heart beat slowly and with less force, thereby reducing blood pressure. Moreover, the medicine also helps blood vessels open up to improve the flow of blood. In this way, the heart blood pressure medicine reduces strain on the heart and causes it to function properly.

Olmesartan-  Olmesartan is an anti-hypertensive agent used to lower heart blood pressure. It may also reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. The medication works by blocking vasoconstrictor and aldosterone-secreting effects of angiotensin II on vascular smooth muscle and the adrenal glands. The overall impact of these changes is to lower blood pressure levels. Take one tablet daily with or without food. Twice daily dosing or taking doses higher than 40 mg offer no advantage over the total dose received once daily. The blood pressure medication can also lower the risk of stroke and heart attack

Quinapril Hydrochloride- Quinapril Hydrochloride is effective as monotherapy or concomitantly with other pharmaceutical agents like diuretics in patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) or heart failure. The heart blood pressure medicine comes under the category of drugs known as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors). You may have been prescribed it to treat hypertension as well. The medication is to widen blood vessels and reduce the workload of your heart. This action helps to decrease blood pressure levels in people who have high blood pressure than normal. Although, if the condition does not make you feel unwell always, but if left untreated, elevated blood pressure levels can damage blood vessels which can ultimately lead to a heart attack or stroke. Quinapril helps to reduce the risk of heart failure and appears to have a protective effect on the heart.

Rosuvastatin-Rosuvastatin is categorized as statin and is one of the most effective statin drugs to reduce cholesterol level in the bloodstream. It is a good choice because it is less likely to interact with other pharmaceutical or non-pharmaceutical agents that you may be taking. The medicine lowers the bad cholesterol and triglycerides concentration in your blood while increasing the good cholesterol or HDL concentration. This can be helpful in preventing cardiovascular events such as high blood pressure, myocardial infarction, or stroke from occurring because it is less likely the plaque will build up in your blood vessels. The medicine reduces the risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease.

The treatment of low blood pressure may vary depending on the symptoms.

  • If some elderly patients face postural hypotension, they may be prescribed with medicines.
  • If blood pressured is lowered below the normal level because of medicines than a change in the dose will probably do the trick.
  • Many a times fall in blood pressure is the result of some underlying illness such as a nerve condition, a thyroid disorder, a heart condition and so on. In such case the patient will be referred to a specialist to be treated further.
  • In case the low blood pressure is due to adrenal gland failure then it is treated by replacing the missing hormone aldosterone.
  • In case the hypotension is due to a nerve condition, the patient may be given medicine to stimulate the nervous system.
  • Increase in salt and intake of lot more fluids can result in increase in blood pressure to normal levels. The doctor may also prescribe a diet chart to be followed religiously in case the low pressure is due to lack of proper diet.

Steps to improve the health

Some of the steps which can be followed to bring high blood pressure to normal levels are:

  • Regular exercise
  • Reducing alcohol consumption
  • Eating healthy
  • Lowering salt intake
  • Losing weight
  • Lowering caffeine consumption
  • Adopting Relaxation techniques
  • Quality sleep

Steps to be followed to bring low blood pressure to normal levels are:

  • Drink lots of non-alcoholic fluids
  • Eat a diet higher in salt
  • Limit alcoholic beverages
  • Drink lots of non-alcoholic fluids.
  • Drink lots of water or fluid if you are sick with a viral illness or during hot weather.
  • Do regular exercise so as to promote blood flow
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines which may be the cause of low blood pressure
  • Be careful when rising from a sitting or lying down position
  • Avoid heavy lifting
  • Elevate the head of your bed by placing blocks and bricks under the head of the bed at night
  • Avoid straining while on the toilet
  • Try eating small but frequent meals and rest after eating. It is advisable to cut back on carbohydrate.
  • If required use of compression can be made so as to cover thigh and calf. This will restrict blood flow to the legs and thus keep more blood in the upper body.

Important things to know

Blood pressure needs to be regularly monitored in case suffering from low or high blood pressure and reported to your doctor at regular intervals. It is important to take medications as well as follow lifestyle changes as per doctor’s advice so that the desired blood pressure level can be achieved. In case the symptoms still persist you must get in touch with your doctor as soon as possible


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