Blood pressure is the amount of pressure exerted by the blood flow on the walls of the blood vessel. Usually we take measurements from the brachial artery which is found on the upper arm. The two most common terms we encounter are hypertension and high blood pressure. These two are synonymous and can be used interchangeably.
Hypertension is also known as high blood pressure. It is a chronic condition in which pressure on the artery is high. If left untreated and uncontrolled it can cause serious health problems like heart disease, heart failure, heart attack, stroke, and kidney disorders.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is influenced by the amount of blood the heart can pump and the arteries resistance to blood flow. If the heart pumps more blood and/or if the arteries are constricted, there is an increase in blood pressure.
More often than not, hypertension has no symptoms and can go unnoticed for years. It had been dubbed the ‘silent killer’ due to the absence of symptoms. Although there are no symptoms, injury to the blood vessels, heart, and kidneys occur. And the patient will become aware of the disease when it has progressed and caused serious damage.
With routine checkups and a healthy lifestyle, hypertension can be avoided. Healthcare professionals can monitor the blood pressure of an individual. If the systolic reading (the first number) is greater than 120 and/or the diastolic reading (the second number) is greater than 80, consult your medical doctor. Maintaining the ideal and proper weight can greatly reduce chances of having hypertension. More often than not, obese individuals suffer from hypertension. Exercise and physical activities also help maintain low blood pressure. Try engaging in different exercises such as brisk walking at least twice a week. Excess salt and alcohol can cause an increase in blood pressure. Quit smoking. Smoking has systemic effects including vasoconstriction or narrowing of the blood vessels. As mentioned earlier, a narrow blood vessel can cause higher blood pressure. And last but not the least, stress management helps with the avoidance of hypertension.