Blood Pressure – Cardiology
High blood pressure (HBP) or hypertension refers to blood pressure in the arteries that carry blood from heart to all the organs and tissues in the body. Regular blood pressure is 120/70, pressure up to 140/90 is called ‘prehypertension‘and pressure above these parameters is considered to be high.
Systolic and Diastolic BP
The first number is a systolic pressure, which measures pressure in the arteries as your heart contracts and pushes blood into arteries. The second number is a diastolic pressure, which measures pressure in the arteries between heartbeats as your heart relaxes after contraction and is filling with blood. If either of these two parameters is elevated, a person is at risk of progression of a heart disease, atherosclerosis, stroke, kidney disease or eye problems. Hypertension is called a silent killer as it often doesn’t cause symptoms while it is causing harm to health.
Being often asymptomatic, hypertension may cause headaches, vision changes, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting. These symptoms often indicate a hypertensive crisis and require emergency management. In order to avert bad after-effects of the disease, it is vital to monitor your blood pressure regularly.
Things known to raise blood pressure are: obesity, sedentary life style, stress, alcohol and tobacco abuse, family history, aging, stress, potassium and Vitamin D deficiency, overconsumption of salt and sodium, chronic conditions as diabetes, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and kidney diseases.
HBP Diagnostics and Treatment
Many people learn about elevated blood pressure during a routine check-up. Blood pressure reading is repeated over a course of several appointments, usually 1 to 2 weeks apart before the diagnosis is confirmed. This is because blood pressure varies during the day. It is advisable to read blood pressure at home to exclude what is called ‘white-coat hypertension’ – increase in arterial blood pressure in consequence of anxiety at the doctor’s office. Your physician may also have you submit to urine test, blood test, cholesterol test and electrocardiogram. Based on the results he will prescribe you the treatment as clinically warranted. Lifestyle changes and healthy diet may sometimes be sufficient to lower blood pressure. If not, the cardiologist will put you on medication and prescribe antihypertensive medicines, diuretics, alpha-blockers, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, renin inhibitors, vasodilators and central acting agents.