Archive for October, 2006

Blood Pressure Variations Explained

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on October 24th, 2006

One of the most frustrating things about checking your blood pressure is that it can vary greatly not only from day to day, but from moment to moment. Blood pressure can, in a way, be compared to breathing—it varies depending on what you are doing at that particular moment. Lower or high blood pressure readings also occur due to the position of your body, your hormone level, and your overall health. However, you can still efficiently and effectively monitor your blood pressure at home, if you remember that variance is possible.

‘White coat’ syndrome is a term often used when speaking about high blood pressure and its variances. To understand this form of high blood pressure, you must also understand your own body. White coat syndrome specifically occurs to blood pressure levels that spike only when you visit a doctor’s office or have your blood pressure measured by a professional member of the medical community. Although this is a somewhat real phenomenon, white coat high blood pressure may not be simply a case of the nerves. Instead, you could be inaccurately measuring your blood pressure at home. Even if white coat syndrome actually is occurring, it is also important to look at overall trends in your blood pressure.

Spikes in blood pressure due to this condition may be nothing to worry about, but if they are exceedingly high, you should be concerned. This condition can also be fatal for someone who already has high blood pressure. Before you dismiss doctor’s office spikes, understand your own body and how it works. You may need treatment even if your blood pressure has previously seemed normal.

Blood pressure changes for a variety of other reasons as well. First, home test are not as accurate as some of the test you can use to regulate your blood pressure in a hospital setting. Inaccuracies occur frequently, and the packaging should be able to tell you how accurate the tests are. Even if they are not perfect, home blood pressure regulation is still very important—just remember that changes from one day to the next are ok if they are small. Monitor your blood pressure at the same time every day if possible, while you are doing the same activity. A good time is in the morning before you begin your day, but medications can also throw off your blood pressure, so if you take pills first thing in the morning, measure your blood pressure before that.

Drinking alcohol, taking drugs, or eating certain foods can also cause your blood pressure to spike momentarily. To more accurately get a reading of your blood pressure (as well as prevent high blood pressure), it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. If you smoke or otherwise introduce chemical substances into your body, doing so in moderation can increase your risk for high blood pressure, and also help you more accurately check it. Exercise also plays a huge role in blood pressure, so if you’ve recently been working out or doing other activity that has you breathing heavily, your blood pressure reading will be different than if you’re resting. Even standing up versus sitting down makes a difference in your blood pressure.

Remember that 30 or even 40 mm Hg differences during a day are not uncommon. More should result in you calling your physician to schedule an appointment for a more accurate reading. Blood pressure is sometimes difficult to regulate, but it is very important in understanding the overall health of your body.

 

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Understanding High Blood Pressure

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on October 17th, 2006

Imagine a garden hose. If there is little water pressure as you are trying to wash your car, the hose is flimsy and kinks easily. However, if there is high water pressure, the hose is firm, the water sprays out in greater amounts, and the hose may even burst. Your body’s arteries and veins work in the same way. Blood pressure is basically the force exerted on the walls of your blood vessels. Typically, blood pressure is measure in your larger arteries, and it is measure in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg).

When you measure your blood pressure, you will get two different numbers, known as systolic and diastolic. The systolic number records your blood presure at its peak in the cycle (remember, your heart pumps in a beat, so blood flow is not consistant every single moment), while diastolic blood pressure measures your blood flow at its lowest moment in the cycle.

A healthy adult’s blood pressure is usually around 120/80 mm Hg. Blood pressure varies slightly from beat to beat and can vary greatly over the course of the day, so to get an accurate estimate, you should measure your blood pressure at the same point in the day every day. Adults are considered normal if they fall in the 90 to 135 mm Hg range for systolic blood pressure and the 50 to 110 mm HG range for diastolic blood pressure.

High blood pressure is a common disease among adults. There are many causes of high blood pressure, but overall, long-term high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and diabetes. Because this is a serious disease, doctors and other health care professionals (or simply people worried about the health of themselves and their families) are taking great steps to prevent high blood pressure. However, it is important to remember that the first step to lowering your high blood pressure is to understand it in the first place.

To go back to the garden hose example, high pressure can occur in a number of ways. First, the pump could start pumping water through the hose at a higher rate. This will cause more water to flow through the hose, and put extra strain on the pump, or, in your body’s case, the heart. However, imagine trying to pumping honey through the hose instead of water. Even if you pump at a slower rate, you still need to have extra effort exerted from the pump. This occurs in the blood if your blood thickens, which can happen if you have high blood sugar or a higher than normal red blood cell count.

Now, imagine you hook up a skinner hose to the same pump—water pressure would be greater in this case as well. The same thing happens if your blood vessels are smaller than normal, which can be the case if you have fatty build-up in your arteries. Finally, the amount of blood flowing through your system effects blood pressure. Unlike with a graden hose, you blood is part of a closed system moset of the time—that is, it doesn’t leave the body, at least not in large amounts. When it does, the body quickly produces more to counteract the loss. However, if your body produces too much, this can also lead to high blood presure.

Blood pressure is extremely important to regulating the overall health of our bodies. By understanding this concept, we can grasp how to better take care of our health. Although confusing at first, blood pressure is actually as simple as using a garden hose, so anyone can learn how to measure blood pressure to better take care of their body.

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Do You Have High Blood Pressure?

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on October 10th, 2006

One of the riskiest medical conditions that often goes unnecessarily undiagnosed is high blood pressure. Testing for high blood pressure and treating it if this disease is diagnosed is relatively simple, but many people just do not regularly schedule check-ups or otherwise test their blood pressure. Unfortunately, high blood pressure is the precursor to many serious diseases and medical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. It can also lead to heart failure, heart attack, and stroke if not treated. By being sure to regulate your blood pressure closely, you can prevent something more serious from happening to your body.

High blood pressure causes an excess amount of stress on the artery walls. This causes the heart to have to pump harder, which promotes unhealthy tissue growth and a weakening of the heart muscle. When the heart muscle is weak, you can inadvertently cause it to stop if you overexert yourself. High blood pressure is also a symptom that points to over potential problems for your heart. For example, when high blood pressure is caused by plaque build-up in the artery walls, you should understand that the most major risk of this is heart attack. If too much plaque builds up at a specific section of the blood vessel, it could close off completely, causing heart attack. Similarly, even if it does not close completely, a piece of the plaque could break off from the wall, travel down the blood vessel, and get lodges in a smaller vessel or in the heart itself, also causing a heart attack.

Beyond the heart, a similar thing can happen to the brain. If a piece of plaque cuts off a blood vessel in the brain, you suffer from a stroke. While you can eventually regain heart-health again after a mild heart attack, the effects of a stroke can be long lasting or permanent, depending on where in your brain the effected blood vessel is located. Because blood is cut off from your brain, oxygen cannot travel to this area, and so pieces of the brain die. Some cannot be rebuilt, and some, if they die, result in death.

If that’s not scary enough, high blood pressure can cause or be an indicator of many other small health problems that can add up to a very sickly body. For example, high blood pressure is often an indicator of too much glucose in the blood stream, causing or caused by diabetes. Even if you do not have diabetes, you are still at risk for chronic renal (kidney) failure if you have high blood pressure.

It is unfortunate that so many people needlessly suffer from these diseases. High blood pressure is easy to diagnose at your doctor’s office, but even if you do not wish to make an appointment to have your blood pressure checked, you can still regulate yourself. Many home testing kits are available on the market to do just this, and if you follow the directions carefully, they can be quite accurate. There is really no excuse for going undiagnosed, so take care of your body by checking your blood pressure today.

 

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Exercising vs High Blood Pressure

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on October 3rd, 2006

Exercise is recommended for just about everyone, and if you suffer from high blood pressure it is no different. Exercising and maintaining a healthy lifestyle overall can, in fact, help you reduce your high blood pressure and prevent heart disease and other common ailments associated with high blood pressure. However, there are a few special considerations to remember when you are exercising if you have high blood pressure and, as always, check with your doctor before starting any new exercising program or routine.

Before you begin a new exercising program, check your blood pressure at a doctor’s office or hospital regularly. If your numbers are consistently 180/110 mm Hg or higher, you should take steps to reduce this to a more normal level before doing any kind of intense exercise or training. The same is true if your blood pressure is moderately high but you suffer from other conditions, such as diabetes or breathing problems. However, even at this point, you can begin an exercise program by simply doing less-intense motor activities such as walking. Once you have your blood pressure more under control, your goal should be about 30 minutes of physical activity for five days out of the week. This means that you should break a sweat and be slightly out of breath, but there is no need to overdo it.

There are, however, certain activities that people with high blood pressure should avoid in order to reduce the risk of worsening the condition. Lifting weights is the most popular example. Because this is very stressful on the heart, if you have high blood pressure, weight training is discouraged. Highly intensive cardiovascular workouts are also not good for people with high blood pressure, as blood pressure levels rise significantly after very difficult physical strains on your body, and these higher levels could be very dangerous in someone who already has high blood pressure. A good rule of thumb is to simply know your own body. Push yourself in your training, but don’t overdo it.

Yoga and other Eastern slow-movement exercise routines are especially useful for people with high blood pressure, as they tend to work the body in a more heart-friendly way. Warm up and cool down for these, as well as any exercise program is very important. While you may primarily think of warm up and cool down times as preventative measures you take to avoid cramps and injuries, remember that the heart is a muscle too. By warming up and cooling down, you slowly raise and lower your blood pressure, rather than causing dangerous spikes.

There is almost no one in the world who cannot benefit from moderate exercise. If you get little or no exercise currently, speak to you doctor about finding a routine that is right for you. Over time, exercise cannot only help you lower your weight and cholesterol, but also your blood pressure. Exercise promotes a healthy lifestyle in general, and so by choosing a program that fits your needs you can live longer and be more healthy than you have ever been before.
 

For more information on how to reduce high blood pressure please visit The Blood Pressure Reduction Guide.

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