Blood is carried throughout the body by means of blood vessels. The blood exerts some force on the walls of the vessels. This pressure exerted by blood on the blood vessels is called blood pressure. Every time the heart beats, it pumps blood out into the arteries. When the heart is pumping the blood, the blood pressure is at the highest. This pressure is defined as the peak pressure in the arteries is called systolic pressure. Between the beats, the heart is at rest. During this time, the blood pressure falls. This low blood pressure is called diastolic pressure.
Blood pressure is always given by two numbers indicating both systolic and diastolic pressure since both are important. The typical values for a healthy, resting adult are – systolic 120 mm Hg and diastolic 80 mm Hg. Blood pressure is usually written as 120/80 mmHg with systolic pressure indicated first, followed by diastolic pressure.
However, the measures of blood pressure undergoes variations and do not remain static throughout the day. Blood pressure is usually lowest when sleeping and rises when one gets up. The natural variations of blood pressure occur throughout the day in response to stress, nutrition, disease, medication. Blood pressure can rise when you are active, nervous or excited.
If the blood pressure is constantly high or constantly low – both these conditions are cause of concern. The level for good health is 120/80 mmHg. If a person has blood pressure greater than or equal to 140/90 mmHg it is referred to as high blood pressure or hypertension. High blood pressure is in itself a health fear, but its long term effects increases one’s chances of stroke, heart disease, heart attack, and kidney problems.
Contrary to the earlier conception, low blood pressure or hypo tension is now looked upon as a sign of severe disease or something that requires medical attention. Low blood pressure can cause dizziness and fainting. Long term low blood pressure can deprive the vital organs of the oxygen and nutrients. This is a life threatening condition.
If you are being treated for high blood pressure or low blood pressure, always remember you still might have any of the conditions even if you have several normal reading. Therefore, never stop taking medication and precautionary measures without consulting with your physician.