There are many factors to good health and your blood pressure is one of them. In its simplest terms it is the force or pressure your blood exerts on the walls of your arteries and veins. Without this pressure your blood would not circulate through your body carrying oxygen and nutrients to your cells while removing carbon dioxide and cellular waste from these same cells. Understanding this process will help you see why this area of health is so important to your overall wellness. For as your blood flows so flow you!
Mechanics of Blood Pressure
It all starts with your heart which pumps blood out of the heart into your body’s arteries. The large arteries that leave your heart taper down into smaller arteries called arterioles. These arterioles then taper into smaller vessels called capillaries. It is at the capillary level that your blood exchanges the oxygen and nutrients it carries for the cells’ waste products such as carbon dioxide and toxins. This blood then flows out of the capillaries into your veins returning your blood to the heart.
As your heart pumps blood through the lungs the carbon dioxide is exchanged for oxygen. And, as your blood is pumped through the liver, the liver removes most of your toxins. Given this closed pumping system, there are two main factors that can contribute to changes in your blood pressure:
As you can see there are multiple factors that affect your blood pressure. Although heart strength is one of them, most of the factors that affect this area occur once your blood leaves the heart. This is why in 90 to 95 percent of high blood pressure cases the cause is unknown. The remaining 5 to 10 percent of cases usually have a known cause which could be:
Most of these problems can be corrected. The challenge is dealing with the remaining 90 to 95 percent of these cases.
When you go to the doctor’s office or hospital, one of the first things done is a nurse or health practitioner will take your blood pressure. They wrap a large cuff around the upper part of your arm. Then they manually pump air pressure into the cuff causing it to expand which puts pressure on your arm. Eventually the pressure in the cuff is greater than the pressure in your arm’s artery. This then stops blood flow.
The next step is the health practitioner will have place the bell of their stethoscope over the artery in your arm and begin to slowly release the pressure in the cuff. They are listening for two sounds. When your blood pressure is greater than the pressure in the cuff, then your blood will pulse through your arm’s artery again. This makes a sound and this first sound is called your systolic pressure. When the sound finally goes away this final sound is called your diastolic pressure.
Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers such as 110/70 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury). The systolic pressure is the first and larger number. It represents the pressure generated by your heart when it contracts to pump blood out of the heart into your body. The second and smaller number is the diastolic pressure. This is the pressure of the blood in your arteries when your heart is refilling itself just before it contracts again. It is the diastolic pressure that enables your blood to continue to circulate through your body.
The medical community has determined a normal range for both these systolic and diastolic pressures. Anything above this normal range is considered either “prehypertension” or “hypertension.” The range is as follows:
Depending upon who you read, anywhere from 60 million of 72 million Americans have high blood pressure which means 1 in 4 or 1 in 3 adults have this “Silent Killer!” It is called this because there usually are no symptoms. This means that most who have high blood pressure don’t even know it.
Now you might think that if there are no symptoms then what harm can it be to your body. Here is a list of the potential damage it can do to your body if left unchecked:
That’s quite a list of potential life-threatening health issues. This means that you need to pay attention to your blood pressure. In my article “7 Natural Steps to Take the Hyper out of Hypertension!” we will look at the ways you can reduce your risk for this silent killer.
If you don’t know what your blood pressure numbers are, then make it a priority to visit your pharmacist, local clinic or doctor’s office in the next seven days and have a qualified person take your systolic and diastolic readings. It is your first step in addressing this potential killer especially if you want to slow down the aging process and improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Until next time, may we both age youthfully!
P.S. As a convenience, I’ve also included links to the following Heart & Blood Pressure articles:
The information contained in this website and posted articles are for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information contained in this website and posted articles has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.