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Understanding blood pressure readings to manage High blood pressure

Assessing blood pressure levels or understanding blood pressure readings can help in the early detection and management of High blood pressure or Hypertension. 

Maintaining a normal or healthy level of blood pressure is essential to loving a disease-free lifestyle.

However, a variety of lifestyle factors like stress, transitions, disorders or genetic conditions can result in hypertension or high blood pressure. 

Having a mechanism in place to track your blood pressure levels can be the first step towards a healthier future.

Blood pressure readings are often measured using two figures: systolic pressure first and diastolic pressure second. 

The former is caused by the heart’s contraction, while the latter is a lower pressure in the arteries during resting periods between contractions. 

Here are a few standard categories of blood pressure to help you assess levels:

  • Normal range: Under 120 by 80 mmHg
  • Elevated range: systolic pressure between 120-129 and diastolic pressure falling below 80.
  • Stage 1 hypertension: a systolic pressure ranging between 130-139 and diastolic pressure between 80-89 mmHg
  • Stage 2 hypertension: a systolic pressure of 140 or a diastolic pressure of at least 90 mmHg. 

As a person’s blood pressure can range from High to low for several reasons, here are a few risk factors to consider that can result in High or Low blood pressure.

  • Age

Higher a person’s age, more are likely to develop high blood pressure or hypertension as a result of genetics and lifestyle factors. 

Similarly, people in their old age are also likely to experience a drop in blood pressure after eating or while trying to stand up.

This can sometimes be accompanied by dizziness, blurred vision or chronic fatigue.

  • Family History

Having one or more family members with a condition of hypertension or low blood pressure levels elevates your risk of the same.

As we share certain lifestyles, genes, behaviors or environments that influence our health and risk of disease. 

Individuals whose both parents have been affected by hypertension are likely to develop the condition.

Being at a healthy weight along with wise lifestyle choices can help you control hereditary high blood pressure.

  • Obesity

Those with an unhealthy weight are more likely to develop hypertension or at a risk of elevated blood pressure levels. 

Because of a higher level of blood circulation through the vessels, there is more pressure on the vessel walls leading to higher systolic levels.

A lack of physical activity or a sedentary lifestyle further elevates this risk. Unhealthy eating patterns like eating too much salt (sodium) or too little potassium along with stress in life can put people at an increasing risk for hypertension. 

  • Abnormal or increased stress levels

We all face situations beyond our control that result in increased distress or sudden physical manifestations of our disrupted mental well being. 

Stress is a notorious state of being that can quickly turn into a chronic condition if its symptoms are not managed in the long run.

Stress can cause hypertension if your blood pressure levels continue to elevate repeatedly. 

Although anxiety or stress by itself cannot cause this condition, if lifestyle changes aren’t implemented and the body’s general well being is neglected, recurring spikes in blood pressure levels might be harmful for heart health. 

Managing your blood pressure or understanding symptoms by taking regular readings can be helpful in the detection and treatment of this condition.

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