What exactly is ‘Blood Pressure’?

Blood Pressure (BP) – be it High BP or Low BP is a household name, thanks to the lifestyle changes of our generation.  But do we know what blood pressure is, really? What do we understand in depth from those two numbers?

 What exactly is Blood Pressure?

BP or Blood Pressure is roughly the pressure exerted by the blood on the wall of our arteries. While the blood is being pumped out of heart into the arteries, blood pressure is caused by the flow of the blood and the resistance it encounters when it moves through those closed vessels.
Blood pressure.PNGBlood Pressure is determined by:

  • The diameter of the arteries
  • Amount of blood that is pumped by the heart

Okay. And what is 120/80?

The constant pumping of the heart maintains blood pressure – When the heart contracts, blood flows faster and hence exerting a higher pressure called Systolic pressure.

Heart and blood pressure.PNG

When the ventricle relaxes, the blood is pushed back and hence the pressure drops which is measured as diastolic pressure.  Since blood pressure in arteries increases immediately after a systole, systolic pressure is always higher than the diastolic pressure.

Why and how are we measuring it?

Measuring BP is indirectly a way through which we can understand how healthy a heart is or how much stress it is under. Healthy blood vessels in general stretch according to changes in pressure whereas damaged blood vessels are less stretchy which increases blood pressure.

Clogged vessel.PNG
A clogged blood vessel

When fat gets deposited in the vessel, over time it clogs the vessel leading to damage and and a blood clot may form in the artery which eventually leads to a heart attack.  The measurement is done through a BP Monitor.

BP Monitor

A BP monitor is a device that is attached to either your upper arm or the wrist. While a physician uses a Sphygmomanometer, a home BP monitor is of utmost importance for you to keep your BP at check.

BP_arm type

It comes with a cuff which inflates till it cuts off the blood flow in the vessel and the pressure increases. As the air is let in slowly, the pressure built is released and the blood starts flowing. The point at which it first starts flowing is marked as ‘Systolic Pressure’. The point at which the blood flow in itself is enough to hold the vessel open is marked as ‘Diastolic Pressure’. The pressure measured is indicated in mmHg.

Blood Pressure and Cardiac Arrests

It is no secret that India is turning into cardiac capital of the world. We have 64 million cardiac patients in India. A staggering 51% of the strokes are caused by High BP but how aware are we of blood pressure and its consequences? Unfortunately, 46.7% of high BP goes undiagnosed.  A home BP monitor from BPL helps keep BP in check:

B8

  • Displays systolic and diastolic blood pressure
  • Classifies blood pressure according to WHO guidelines – you can know if you have high/low BP, borderline or have a healthy heart
  • Detects irregular heart beats
  • Shows last 3 results average
  • Stores up to 120 records in memory so that you can show a trend to your doctor when you meet

It is therefore highly advisable to keep a BP monitor handy and do regular checks so that you are steered clear of cardiac problems in future.

While there are multiple causes due to which BP develops, you can always keep it at bay by adapting a healthy lifestyle, eating a balanced diet and by exercising regularly.

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