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Introduction

Basic Knowledge

Your healthy body should maintain good blood pressure and healthy arterial pulse waveforms.

But what happens when both do not behave as well as it should be?


Blood pressure


Blood pressure is the amount of force your blood exerts against the walls of your arteries.

Blood pressure (BP)
is represented by two numbers (SBP/DBP) eg. 122/78 mmHg.
Systolic blood pressure (SBP) is the pressure in your blood vessels when the heart contracts.
Diastolic blood pressure (DBP) is the pressure in your blood vessels when the heart relaxes.


How your blood pressure and what conditions can affect your health?

Normal blood pressure effectively and harmlessly pushes the blood from your heart to your body's organs and muscles so they can receive the oxygen and nutrients they need.

Blood pressure is variable -- it rises and falls during the day. When blood pressure stays elevated over time, it is called high blood pressure or hypertension.


Why Is High Blood Pressure a clinical concern?

High blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart work too hard. It also makes the walls of the arteries hard. High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, the first- and third-leading causes of death for Americans and Singaporeans. High blood pressure can also cause other problems, such as heart failure, kidney disease, and blindness.


What Causes High Blood Pressure?

The causes of high blood pressure vary. Causes may include narrowing of the arteries, a greater than normal volume of blood, or the heart beating faster or more forcefully than it should. Any of these conditions will cause increased pressure against the artery walls. High blood pressure might also be caused by another medical problem. Most of the time, the cause is not known. Although high blood pressure usually cannot be cured, in most cases it can be prevented and controlled.


ImageEffect of High blood Pressure on Your Body

Brain: High blood pressure is the most important risk factor for stroke. Very high pressure can cause a break in a weakened blood vessel, which then bleeds in the brain. This can cause a stroke. If a blood clot blocks one of the narrowed arteries, it can also cause a stroke.
 
Eyes: High blood pressure can eventually cause blood vessels in the eye to burst or bleed. Vision may become blurred or otherwise impaired and can result in blindness.
 
Arteries: As people get older, arteries throughout the body "harden," especially those in the heart, brain, and kidneys. High blood pressure is associated with these "stiffer" arteries. This, in turn, causes the heart and kidneys to work harder.
 
Kidneys: The kidneys act as filters to rid the body of wastes. Over time, high blood pressure can narrow and thicken the blood vessels of the kidneys. The kidneys filter less fluid, and waste builds up in the blood. The kidneys may fail altogether. When this happens, medical treatment (dialysis) or a kidney transplant may be needed.
 
Heart Attack: High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack. The arteries bring oxygen-carrying blood to the heart muscle. If the heart cannot get enough oxygen, chest pain, also known as "angina," can occur. If the flow of blood is blocked, a heart attack results.
 
Congestive Heart Failure: High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for congestive heart failure (CHF). CHF is a serious condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to supply the body's needs.

 

High blood pressure
ESH-2007 guidelines – source 2007 guidelines for hypertension

Category

Systolic


Diastolic

Optimal

< 120

and

< 80

Normal

120 - 129

and/or

80 - 84

High Normal

130 - 139

and/or

85 - 89

Grade 1 hypertension

140 - 159

and/or

90 - 99

Grade 2 hypertension

160 - 179

and/or

100 - 109

Grade 3 hypertension

180

and/or

110

Isolated systolic hypertension

140

and

< 90

 

Blood pressure related infomation

Click here for webcast of teaching seminar on blood pressure related information.

 

 
 
 

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