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Understanding Blood Pressure Readings

Understanding blood pressure readings is the most important part in the process of diagnosing heart problems. Heart problems that mostly start from the increased or decreased blood pressure from the normal level. But what is the normal level and how is it read, understood, and categorized?

Since a blood pressure consists of two values what do they stand for, what do they signify and what should the limit of each one be?

When you know a reading is normal and one is not then, and only then, can you apply the treatments to normalise it. Furthermore, you will also know if the ab-normalcy of the blood pressure can be controlled by the laymen or whether an expert should be consulted.

The two values are a very critical feature of a blood pressure reading. The first value is known as systolic and the other as diastolic. Both of these factors have a number that is considered normal and numbers that come in the extreme category. These of course might be very dangerous for the patient.

Crossing those limits means that the patient could suffer medically with the condition being diagnosed as hypertensive crisis. Hence, it becomes necessary for everyone to understand the blood pressure readings for he or she might have to apply his or her understanding at some point in life.

Blood Pressure Numbers

Having an overview knowledge of bold pressure numbers is critical as they are the ones categorising the blood pressure into different categories:

  • Normal blood pressure
  • Prehypertension blood pressure
  • High blood pressure (hypertensive) stage 1
  • High blood pressure (Hypertensive) stage 2
  • Hypertensive crisis

This categorization occurs by the indication of these numbers. Reading the number 120/80 as 120 over 80 indicates that a person has a normal blood pressure.

Likewise, as the upper reading ranges from 120 to 139 and the lower reading ranges from 80 to 89, a person is on the second stage also known as prehypertension phase.

As the value of the numbers increases, the stages change and approach the final stage which requires immediate medical care. This phase is known as the hypertensive crisis with a blood pressure reading as 180 over 120.

These numbers vary due to numerous reasons, but the simplest answer would be that they vary because of what they stand for. But also because of age, gender, and health of a person. Two men will not have a similar reading of blood pressure if one is in the early thirties and the other in his fifties. In the same way, two people in their thirties won’t have the same reading if one is a man and the other woman.

Systolic And Diastolic Blood Pressure

A blood pressure reading constitutes of systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurements. The variation in these factors determines if a reading lies in the normal blood pressure range or outside it. For a reading to make sense, it is necessary to understand exactly what systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.

Systolic blood pressure is the upper reading in a blood pressure datum. It quantifies the pressure in the unit of ‘millimetres of mercury’ that exists on the arteries when a person’s heart performs a heartbeat and the heart muscle contracts. So basically this is the numerical value of the pressure in the duration of a heartbeat.

Diastolic blood pressure is the lower reading or the next quantitative part in a blood pressure reading.

When a heart beats the blood pressure recorder records the systolic pressure. The next time the heart beats, the process repeats. However, there is still pressure on the arteries in the time a heart muscle relaxes from the previous contraction when the heart is undergoing the duration between two heartbeats. This pressure is diastolic blood pressure.

As the pressure on the arteries decreases because the heart muscle is in the relaxed mode the diastolic value is lesser than the systolic blood pressure.

Hypertensive Crisis

When the readings of both blood pressure elements go continually upwards, it becomes dangerous for the organs of a person and immediate medical help should be sought and provided.

If you are already in the habit of measuring your blood pressure, recognising this situation should be straightforward. But many people do not measure their bp, so how are they suppose to know that medical assistance is required?

Suspecting you have high blood pressure is a suspicion that can save your life. Accordingly this suspicion, that arises from various symptoms, should be common knowledge to all the patients suffering from blood pressure problems and the people that surround them.

Top of this list is of course severe chest pains. This is closely followed by headaches, confusion, and blurred visions. With these symptoms the danger faced by the patients is of two levels:

  • They are suffering from an urgent blood pressure problem
  • They are suffering from an emergency blood pressure problem

The difference between these two situations is unresponsiveness. A person suffering with severe chest pains, but being responsive, is considered to be in the primary zone. However, an unresponsive person suffering from chest pains is likely to be in the emergency zone.

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