Blood pressure is the measure of the pressure against the walls of the arteries. There are two forces that form blood pressure. One of the forces is created when the heart pumps blood into the arteries through the circulatory system. The other force is due to the arteries as they resist the flow of blood. Blood pressure is always stated in two numbers, systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. The higher number is systolic pressure which represents the pressure while heart contracts to pump the blood to the body. The lower number is the diastolic pressure which represents the pressure when heart relaxes between the beats.
What is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?
High blood pressure or hypertension means high pressure or tension within the arteries. Arteries are the vessels that carry blood from heart to all the tissues and organs of the body. High blood pressure usually has no visible symptoms. There are lots of people whose blood pressures are high, but they do not realize it until it is too late. For this reason, high blood pressure is also called as the silent killer. Hypertension damages the blood vessels. This in turn risks heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. So it is very necessary for one to reduce blood pressure.
Methods to Reduce Blood Pressure
Various scientific studies have shown that following are some of the effective ways one could reduce blood pressure:
1. Weight loss if obese or overweight : It is very important for one to reduce weight if one is obese or overweight. Weight impacts the strain on the heart which disturbs the pumping of blood due to which the pressure increases.
2. Restriction on intake of sodium : The intake of sodium should be restricted or in limit as sodium increases the blood pressure. Sodium intake causes water retention in the body. It is advisable to check the labels of the food packets like potato chips, bread, cheese, etc before buying them. Sodium mustn’t be there in the ingredients. Limit intake of sodium to 1,500 to 2,400 milligrams per day.
3. Increase intake of potassium, magnesium and calcium : A proper intake of minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium helps proper functioning of heart, due to which blood circulation increases and chances of high blood pressure decreases.
4. Reduce or stop intake of alcohol : Avoid alcohol as much as possible. If you cannot avoid it completely, you must limit it to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
5. Limit intake of caffeine : Excessive intake of caffeine creates acidity causing stress on heart. This stress may increase the blood pressure.
6. Regular physical exercise : Regular exercise not only increases the blood circulation but also helps in maintaining the weight. It helps the body to perform its functions normally.
7. Increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables and fiber rich food : Increase in consumption of fruits, vegetables and fiber rich foods increases the energy required for the body to perform activity.
8. Cut down high cholesterol and high fat foods : Cholesterol and fats build up blocks in the heart which reduces the circulation of blood from the heart.
9. Stop smoking and stop intake of tobacco : Cigarettes contains nicotine. Nicotine and tobacco causes blood vessels to constrict and your heart to beat faster, which raises your blood pressure.
10. Reduce stress in your life : Reduce the stress in your life as much as possible by relaxation technique, biofeedback or just by avoiding stressful situations and conditions.
Reduce Blood Pressure – Some Treatment Approaches
To treat patient with blood pressure, one should be check if the patient is diabetic or not.
Diabetes increases the chances of cardiovascular disease. So control of blood pressure in diabetes is tougher. The goals for treatment in blood pressure are:-
For diabetic patients:
Systolic pressure: less than 140mg
Diastolic pressure: less than 85mg
For non-diabetic patients:
Systolic pressure: less than 130mg
Diastolic pressure: less than 80mg
Medicinal methods that are used to treat patient with blood pressure are:
1. ACE inhibitors : ACE inhibitors stop the production of hormone called angiotensin. Angiotensin causes the narrowing of blood vessels. ACE inhibitors expand the blood vessels and improve the blood flow.
2. Beta blockers : Beta blockers block the effect of hormone adrenaline and help in conditioning the nervous system of the body. Due to this the heart relaxes and beats slowly and thus the blood pressure reduces.
3. Alpha blockers : It causes blood vessels to widen and relax. It is generally a good combination with beta blockers for effect on resistance of circulation.
4. Calcium channel blockers : It reduces the muscle tension in the arteries, expanding them and creating more room for blood circulation. It also relaxes the heart muscles, reducing the blood pressure.
5. Diuretics : It helps to get rid of salts and excessive fluids through kidney. Helping the blood vessels to relax and reducing strain on blood circulation.