Blood Pressure: Too High and You Die

Blood pressure is simply defined as the amount of force blood exerts on the inside walls of blood vessels as it flows through them.

Sometimes high blood pressure (HBP), also called hypertension, is usually caused by high salt intake, obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, excess alcohol intake, and stress. Sometimes it is related to heredity factors which are non-modifiable. Lowering HBP involves examining the potential risk factors and taking the appropriate steps advised by your physician. Sometimes medication is needed to control blood pressure.

HBP is a leading cause of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. These medical situations can occur because blood vessel walls become damaged when pressure is too high. As a result, the vessels may rupture (aneurysm) or crack which can lead to narrowing of the passage as these cracks are healed.

And despite misconceptions, there are no obvious warning signs. It can only be detected by a physician or nurse doing a proper blood pressure check using a stethoscope and an arm cuff.

During a BP check there are two numbers you may hear e.g. 120 over 80. The first number is the systolic pressure which is the pressure exerted at the moment the heart is contracting. The second number is the pressure when the heart is at a relaxed state. Typically, the second number is more important because it represents the pressure that is constantly being applied to the blood vessel walls.

Blood pressure will change depending on your activity. But in a healthy individual the blood vessels will adjust and pressure should remain fairly constant.

Everyone should have a blood pressure check with their yearly physical. Even more often if there are heart disease risk factors involved.

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