Thursday, September 16, 2010

What is High Blood Pressure?

Frequently, there is confusion in labeling patients as hypertensive and categorizing them. It is usually measured in lie down, sitting or standing position; or in all the positions in certain cases, such as what is called an orthostatic hypertension.

Blood pressure has two components; one is systolic, the pressure during pumping state or systole phase of heart and the other is diastolic; the pressure during resting or diastolic phase of heart.

The cuff of an equipment called sphygmomanometer is usually tied round the arm and air pressure is built up; sound on the artery is heard by the help a stethoscope while air pressure is gradually released to record the systolic and diastolic components of blood pressure (BP).
The normal BP of an adult more than 18 years of age without any associated diseases like diabetes and kidney disease is below 120/80 millimeter of mercury and above 90/60 millimeter of mercury.
Categories for Blood Pressure Levels in Adults (in mmHg, millimeters of
Systolic (top number)
Diastolic (bottom number)
Less than 120
Less than 80
High blood pressure

     Stage 1
     Stage 2
160 or higher
100 or higher

For adults 18 and older who are not on medicine for high blood pressure; are not having a short-term serious illness; and do not have other conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease.
Note: When systolic and diastolic blood pressures fall into different categories, the higher category should be used to classify blood pressure level. For example, 160/80 mmHg would be stage 2 high blood pressure.
There is an exception to the above definition of high blood pressure. A blood pressure of 130/80 mmHg or higher is considered high blood pressure in people with diabetes and chronic kidney disease.
Less sodium, physical exercise, meditation, relaxation, more fruit, more vegetables, more mono or poly unsaturated oils as recommended in dietary approach to stop hypertension (DASH) are helpful in controlling hypertension to a larger extent.
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