Blood pressure is the amount of pressure exerted by the blood as it is forcefully pumped out by the heart per output. The challenge with high blood pressure is that when there is elevated blood pressure, the heart has to do more work or exert more force to overcome that pressure to pump blood out. This wears out the muscles or valves of the heart, and also the smooth muscles of the blood vessels suffer as well.
This could lead to a decreased supply of nutrients and oxygen to parts of the body. Medical professionals discovered a long time ago that the value of blood pressure could be used in determining the health of the heart and that of the blood vessels, especially the arteries. Blood pressure is significant in managing heart problems because the heart is a vital organ of the body as it continuously pushes blood to all organs of the body.
Blood pressure is measured using Sphygmomanometer, which could either be the old one using mercury or the electronic one. According to the World Health Organization, when there is High Blood Pressure, one can be said to be hypertensive, and consequently, when the blood pressure value is low, one has hypotension. So, how do you know if you have blood pressure, what signs do you watch out for when you have high blood pressure, and how do you know if you are in the danger zone?
Normal Blood Pressure
Let’s begin our journey to the danger zone of blood pressure from the normal values. When it comes to measurement of the values of the body, it is measured in ranges and not just a specific normal. This is because there are a number of variations from one individual to another, and people of different geographical location. When the sphygmomanometer measures one’s blood pressure as 120mmHg / 80mmHg, it is considered as normal.
However, as earlier discussed that these values could vary, the normal blood pressure ranges from 120mmHg to 90mmHg for the Systolic blood pressure, which is recorded first or as the top value. Whereas, the diastolic blood pressure, which is recorded last or the bottom value is between 80mmHg and 60mmHg. Once the measured blood pressure is higher than 120mmHg / 80mmHg that is regarded as elevated or high blood pressure, and any value lower than 90mmHg / 60mmHg is referred to as hypotension or low blood pressure.
High Blood Pressure – Danger Zone
There are a couple more distances between the upper value of the normal systolic blood pressure range and the danger zone. This is 120mmHg to as high as 180mmHg and for the normal diastolic blood pressure which is 80mmHg to as high as 120mmHg, this looks something like this – 180/120mmHg. Whenever you get this blood pressure value, if you have measured your blood pressure outside the hospital, go and see a physician immediately.
According to the American Heart Association [AHA], this shows that one has Hypertensive Crisis. Even nothing is showing that one really have a serious health crisis, you must receive treatment instantly. However, some people are not so lucky as they can even have distressing symptoms like the ones below:
- Chest pain
- Hematuria or the presence of blood in the urine
- Loss of consciousness
- Paralysis or a loss of muscle control in the face or the limbs
- Shortness of breath
- Visual changes
However, not to worry some people may present with such high blood pressure values without any of these symptoms and the blood pressure may return to normal after a short period. This is the reason patients are not declared hypertensive by doctors unless the blood pressure has been measured twice. So, if one has a blood pressure of 180/120mmHg or higher twice, such a value is regarded as the final value, and the patient has to be taken care of with utmost care urgently.
It is, therefore, of considerable significance to prevent such a high value for one’s blood pressure. The following are preventive measures to avoid becoming hypertensive and having a hypertensive crisis:
- Cultivate healthy stress management
- Lessen your caffeine intake
- Start exercising
- Stop drinking alcohol
- Stop smoking
- Watch your sodium intake
- Watch your weight and try to keep it within normal Body-Mass-Index [BMI]
Hypotension or Low Blood Pressure
Since we just highlighted ways to curb high blood pressure as it can lead to the danger zone. However, the danger zone is bordering both extremes of the blood pressure values. So there may be a hypertensive crisis at the upper margin, while hypotension is also a danger zone as it can be life-threatening.
However, the same consideration as that of hypertension is used as well, and it won’t be considered hypotension unless it has been measured on two different occasions with a minimum of 6 hours apart. Below are things that should be avoided to prevent low blood pressure:
- Blood loss
- Endocrine problems
- Heart problems
- Specific drugs
If hypotension comes due to any of these above reasons, how then do we identify that signs that give it away so that one can confirm by measuring blood pressure and go to the hospital as fast as possible. The following symptoms are signs that accompany hypotension:
- Blurred vision
- Cold, clammy, pale skin
- Confusion, especially in older people
- Difficulty in breathing
- Weak and rapid pulse
If any of the above symptoms are noticed, if you have a sphygmomanometer close by, take the blood pressure of the person promptly and get to the nearest hospital as far as possible. The danger zones of blood pressure are both extremely high and low blood pressure. Therefore, measure your blood pressure periodically and watch out for those causes of both hypertension and hypotension. Lifestyle changes are crucial to both conditions, but it can be quite difficult, but necessary. Health is wealth, and early detection of severe cases can prevent complications and untimely death.