What is blood pressure
The blood, circulating in the arteries, exerts a force (or “pressure”) against the walls. This force is called blood pressure. What happens in case of hypertension
The heart contracts and expands continuously: this phenomenon is called “beat”. The beat allows blood to flow out of the left ventricle through the aortic valve. From here it passes into the main artery (the aorta) and branches into all arteries. What are systolic and diastolic pressure
– The SISTOLIC (or “maximum”) pressure is the pressure that occurs when the heart contracts, pushing blood into the arteries.
– DIASTOLIC pressure(or “minimal”) and that which occurs when the heart expands and fills with blood, emptying the arteries, so to speak. How blood pressure is measured Blood
pressure, systolic and diastolic, are measured in millimeters of mercury: for example 110/70 mmHg. What is hypertension
High blood pressure is a condition rather than a disease as such. However, it is a situation that puts you at risk (myocardial) heart attack, stroke (brain), heart failure, peripheral arterial disease, chronic renal failure, aneurysms, age-related diseases such as memory impairment and disability, retinopathy. For this reason it is of fundamental importance to prevent it or, when already present, to keep it under control. In this regard, we recall that cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in Italy and in the Western world. What are the values of hypertension
Arterial hypertension begins to be defined when there is an increase – especially constant – in blood pressure. In particular of the systolic pressure, but especially when there is an increase in both and the “minimum” is closer to the “maximum”.
According to the guidelines, we speak of hypertension when the systolic and / or diastolic values exceed 140 mmHg for the maximum or 90 mmHg for the minimum. Blood pressure: normal values
The classification of JNC 7 (Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure) considers “normal” a systolic pressure that is less than 120 mmHg and a diastolic pressure less than 80 mmHg. Values that go above the maximum 140 mmHg (and up to 160) or the minimum 90 mmHg (and up to 100) fall into the category of 1st degree hypertension. When the values are higher than 160/100 and 180/110 then we speak of arterial hypertension of II degree. Values over 180/110 indicate a III degree arterial hypertension.
(C) Health Network Hypertension Classification Table
Below is the Hypertension Classification table, reported by the SIIA and suggested by the WHO / ISH, based on the blood pressure levels in adults aged 18 years or over.
NB When the systolic and diastolic pressure of a patient fall into different categories, the classification must be made according to the higher category. (source: SIIA) What are the causes of hypertension ?
Blood pressure is influenced by several factors.
First of all the lifestyle, but also the environment in which you live. Often then, the prerequisites for a healthy pressure or not are determined from childhood.
An unbalanced diet – so dear to young people – which favors junk food rich in fats, calories, sugars and salt at the expense of fruit and vegetables, can be the prerequisite for creating a hypertensive future. The tendency to sedentary, increasingly favored by the massive use of technology for many hours a day, is also a predisposing factor. Last but not least, the habit of smoking.
Despite this, according to the Ministry of Health, in almost the majority of cases (90-95%) arterial hypertension does not have an obvious cause: in all these cases we speak of essential hypertension. In the remaining 5-10% of cases, hypertension is believed to be caused by a medical condition. Among the various causes are endocrine system diseases such as Cushing’s syndrome, hyperparathyroidism, pheochromocytoma, aldosterone-secreting adrenal adenoma, thyroid alterations. And then kidney diseases such as chronic renal failure, narrowing of a renal artery or, finally, the result of an iatrogenic disease, i.e. due to the intake of drugs such as painkillers or estrogen-progestogen combinations and others. In all these cases we speak of secondary hypertension. In some cases, hypertension can occur during pregnancy and be a source of more or less serious complications – both for the mother and for the unborn child. In these cases we speak of preeclampsia or eclampsia.What are the symptoms of hypertension
It is no coincidence that hypertension is called the “silent killer”. The reason is simple: it often has no symptoms. This is why it is also so difficult to understand that you are suffering from this condition. Discovery usually occurs following a blood pressure check.
There are cases, however, in which a sudden increase in pressure is evident. It is called a “hypertensive crisis” and can be shown by a nosebleed (or nosebleed), a violent headache, auditory buzzing or whistling, changes in vision such as blurring, narrowing of the visual field or small sparkles. And then dizziness, nausea, vomiting. In these cases, blood pressure values such as> 180/110 mmHg can be recorded. How hypertension is prevented
As mentioned, in the prevention of arterial hypertension the lifestyle is decisive, which should be as correct as possible.
First of all, the nutrition .
A diet that promotes healthy blood pressure and one that prefers whole foods, rich in fiber such as fruit (including dried nuts), vegetables, cereals. It also favors the use of virgin and cold-pressed vegetable oils (preferably organic) and reduces or limits the intake of red meats, sausages, processed meats. Similarly, refined foods, rich in salt, sugars, saturated hydrogenated fats (total or partial) should be avoided or limited. Limit or avoid canned foods, alcohol, and also limit cheeses. As per the dictates of the Mediterranean Diet, fish and white meats are allowed, without exaggerating.
Salt: the daily salt intake should not exceed 5 grams (equal to one teaspoon of tea). The Ministry of Health reminds that “consuming no more than 5 g of salt per day reduces blood pressure up to 6-8 mmHg”.
Activity is also important. Exercising every day is essential. Even if you are forced to a desk for many hours of the day, it is good to take time out for physical activity: for example, park your car a little further from the office to take a few more steps or take the stairs instead of taking the ‘lift… According to the most recent scientific studies, even just 10-20 minutes a day of brisk walking can be healthy and prevent many of the “sedentary” diseases. According to data from the Ministry of Health, “regularly practicing aerobic physical activity (at least 30 minutes of brisk walking, cycling, swimming, at least 5 times / week) produces a reduction of 4-9 mmHg in blood pressure”. Other preventive actionsof hypertension are quitting smoking, losing weight if you are obese or otherwise overweight. Also in this case, the Ministry of Health makes it known that “for every 10 kg of weight lost, blood pressure is reduced by about 5-10mmHg”.
Then, as far as possible, you need to know how to manage stress by dedicating yourself to relaxing and pleasant practices: in addition to mental techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, yoga, etc. there are also activities more within everyone’s reach such as gardening or a hobby that does not require particular mental and physical efforts.
Finally, it is always good to measure your blood pressure regularly – especially from the age of twenty onwards – to avoid finding yourself disabled, or worse, without being aware of it. How blood pressure is measured
The device with which the doctor measures blood pressure is called a “sphygmomanometer”. But this professional tool is difficult to use if you are not practical: for everyone there are different types of practical and easy to use meters on the market. We measure blood pressure
We read the advice of the Ministry of Health to measure blood pressure correctly. With the sphygmomanometer : first of all «it is necessary to sit comfortably, in a quiet environment with the forearm well supported (for example on a table) and the arm at heart level.
Before applying the cuff it is necessary to remove all clothing that constrict the arm. The cuff of the sphygmomanometer is positioned around the arm, above the crease of the elbow, making sure to make it well adherent to the arm, but neither too tight nor too slow (in case of obesity it is necessary to use the appropriate bracelets for obese, higher and wider than the standard ones). Using the mercury sphygmomanometer or aneroid it is necessary to inflate the cuff up to 30 mmHg above the disappearance of the wrist. Place the stethoscope on the brachial artery (inner part of the arm, do not place the stethoscope under the cuff) and slowly deflate the cuff: the first audible tone corresponds to the systolic blood pressure, the last audible tone to the diastolic blood pressure. Take two measurements a few minutes apart. The average value between the two measurements is considered the value of the person “.
With the electronic meter it is sufficient to press the appropriate button to start the measurement procedure. Also in this case it is necessary to follow the procedures for positioning the person and the arm, described above. The automatic meter generally offers a complete reading of the systolic and diastolic blood pressure and, often, also of the heart rate.
Finally, blood pressure can be measured both on one arm and the other indifferently. However, since there may be differences between one arm and the other, it is good to measure the pressure in the arm where it was highest. The best times to measure blood pressure are in the morning upon waking and in the evening. How hypertension is treated
The treatment of arterial hypertension has several objectives. The first, as it is understandable, is to lower the pressure, in order to bring it back to the optimal values or in any case under a safe range. Another purpose is to protect, or remedy any possible damage, the organs that can suffer as a result of a condition such as hypertension.
According to the Ministry of Health, “reducing blood pressure by just 5 mmHg, reduces the risk of stroke by 34%, that of heart attack by 21% and reduces the risk of developing vascular dementia, heart failure, atrial fibrillation and of dying from cardiovascular causes “.
Given that the doctor will always have to decide and / or recommend the best therapy for hypertension, as regards drug therapy, different classes of drugs are available
– Beta blockers
– Calcium channel blockers
– ACE inhibitors / sartans / direct renin inhibitors
– Alpha blockers
– Clonidine. Treating hypertension with natural remedies
There are also a number of natural remedies that can combat high blood pressure, or high blood pressure.
A recent study published in the journal Hypertension suggested that probiotics contained in fermented foods may help keep blood pressure in check.
Another natural remedy is olive leaves. These too are considered by experts to be effective in controlling arterial pressure, thanks to their hypotensive and dilating action of the peripheral vessels. Hawthorn produces the same effect, which in addition has a sedative effect and against cardiac arrhythmias.
Another study from Tufts University in Medford has shown how drinking a karkade tea three times a day can reduce blood pressure values.
Folk medicine has been using raw garlic for centuries to keep blood pressure at bay or lower. The garlic, now also says science, is a good antibacterial and helps to purify the blood, also toning the cardiovascular system.
A study published in the Indian Journal of Biochemistry & Biophysics showed that taking a teaspoon a day of cardamom powder (a spice) significantly reduces blood pressure.
What is blood pressure