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High Blood Pressure - types, symptoms, causes and treatment

Team AckoAug 23, 2022

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one of the main contributors of cardiovascular diseases (cvd) like stroke and heart attack in India, is uncontrolled Blood Pressure. It is also responsible for one-third of the country's deaths; an alarmingly high number! Thus, it is crucial to know about high blood pressure, its types, symptoms, causes, treatments and prevention measures. In this article, we will enumerate all these and more.

Normal Blood Pressure

What is Blood Pressure?

Blood Pressure is the pressure exerted on the artery's walls by blood pumped from the heart. This is how blood is circulated to different parts of the body. Your Blood Pressure usually fluctuates throughout the day. It is generally the lowest when you sleep and the highest when you are awake and active.

What is the function of Blood Pressure?

The function of Blood Pressure is to circulate blood throughout the body to accomplish the following.

  • To distribute nutrients and oxygen necessary for nourishing tissues and organs.

  • To remove toxic waste from the body and transport hormones like insulin.

  • To carry white blood cells (WBCs) to all the parts of the body to defend against pathogens.

Types of Blood Pressure

Based on Blood Pressure test measurements, the following are the two broad Blood Pressure types.

Systolic Blood Pressure: This type refers to the measurement value of your Blood Pressure when your heart is beating.

Diastolic Blood Pressure: This type refers to the measurement value of your Blood Pressure when your heart is resting between beats.

Blood Pressure chart by age and gender

The normal Blood Pressure level in humans is 120/80 mmHg. In the below Blood Pressure chart we have further classified healthy Blood Pressure by age and gender.

Normal Blood Pressure in males

Age Systolic Blood Pressure Diastolic Blood Pressure
21 to 25 years 120.5 78.5
26 to 30 years 119.5 76.5
31 to 35 years 114.5 75.5
36 to 40 years 120.5 75.5
41 to 45 years 115.5 78.5
46 to 50 years 119.5 80.5
51 to 55 years 125.5 80.5
56 to 60 years 129.5 79.5
61 to 65 years 143.5 76.5

Normal Blood Pressure in females

Age Systolic Blood Pressure Diastolic Blood Pressure
21 to 25 years 115.5 70.5
26 to 30 years 113.5 71.5
31 to 35 years 110.5 72.5
36 to 40 years 112.5 74.5
41 to 45 years 116.5 73.5
46 to 50 years 124 78.5
51 to 55 years 122.5 74.5
56 to 60 years 132.5 78.5
61 to 65 years 130.5 77.5

When is High Blood Pressure diagnosed?

High Blood Pressure is diagnosed when a BP value of 140/90 or higher is recorded during a test. This condition is also referred to as Hypertension and usually brings about other health complications.

Based on severity, Hypertension is usually classified into two stages.

Stage 1: In this stage, your Systolic and Diastolic levels are a little above normal. Meaning, that your Systolic Pressure ranges from 130 to 139, and your Diastolic Pressure ranges from 80 to 90.

Stage 2: Here, your Systolic and Diastolic levels are significantly higher than normal. This stage is usually diagnosed when your Systolic Pressure is 140 or higher, and your Diastolic Pressure is 100 or higher. If left untreated in this phase, several health complications may ensue.

Signs and symptoms of High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure usually shows no symptoms and so, is referred to as “the silent killer”. However, this is not always the case. High Blood Pressure symptoms sometimes show up as the following.

  • Headache

  • Nausea

  • Dizziness

  • Pain in the chest

  • Difficulty talking

  • Back pain

  • Blurred vision

  • Pulsations in the head or neck

  • Shortness of breath

  • Bodily weakness or numbness

How is High Blood Pressure diagnosed?

High Blood Pressure is diagnosed using a sphygmomanometer and stethoscope. It is usually a painless test and involves the following steps.

  • The cuff of the sphygmomanometer is attached to your arm and inflated electronically or manually.

  • The inflation suppresses the brachial artery and temporarily halts blood flow.

  • The air is gradually allowed to deflate from the arm cuff. Meanwhile, the pulsations are recorded using a stethoscope.

What causes High Blood Pressure?

Medical research has not yet discovered the exact causes of High Blood Pressure. Nevertheless, it is speculated that the following factors may trigger this condition.

  • Old age

  • Sleep apnea

  • Obesity

  • Lack of Potassium in the diet

  • Adrenal or thyroid disorders

  • Chronic kidney disease

  • Excessive alcohol consumption

  • Smoking

  • Excessive salt consumption

  • Lack of regular exercise

  • Family history of the disease

Treatment for High Blood Pressure

The following medications are commonly prescribed by doctors for individuals diagnosed with High Blood Pressure.

  • ACE inhibitors: Lowers Blood Pressure by relaxing arteries and veins.

  • Alpha-blockers: This medication averts the tightening of arterial walls by norepinephrine.

  • Beta-blockers: Reduces pressure by inhibiting the effects of epinephrine.

  • Calcium channel blockers: This drug prevents calcium from entering the arteries and heart.

  • Diuretics: Reduces sodium levels in the body and consequently reduces Blood Pressure.

  • Vasodilators: Stimulates the widening of blood vessels, allowing ease of blood flow.

How to prevent High Blood Pressure

You can prevent the onset of High Blood Pressure by making the following lifestyle changes.

  • Avoid alcohol consumption

  • Practice stress-relieving exercises

  • Exercise regularly

  • Reduce the intake of caffeine

  • Add banana, milk, yoghurt, nuts, fish, etc., to your diet

  • Follow a low sodium and fat diet

  • Quit smoking

  • Avoid stressful situations

Frequently asked questions

The following are the common questions and their answers regarding High Blood Pressure.

Is anxiety linked to High Blood Pressure?

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Yes, anxiety is linked to High Blood Pressure. If you are anxious, your blood pressure will spike temporarily.

What is the definition of Blood Pressure?

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Blood pressure definitions may vary slightly from source to source. Nonetheless, for explanatory purposes, Blood Pressure is the pressure that blood exerts on the walls of arteries after being pumped out of the heart.

What causes low Blood Pressure?

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Low Blood Pressure can be caused by a low heart rate, heart valve disease or a heart attack.

Does drinking water help to lower your Blood Pressure?

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Yes, drinking water regularly can help to lower your Blood Pressure.

When is Blood Pressure the highest?

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Your Blood Pressure starts increasing after you get up in the morning and reaches a peak during midday. It gradually reduces after that.

Does drinking coffee increase your Blood Pressure?

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Yes, drinking coffee triggers a temporary spike in Blood Pressure. However, this response occurs only in some people.

Which arm should be used to measure Blood Pressure?

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If you are a right-hander, then your left arm is more suitable for measuring your Blood Pressure. Nevertheless, seek the advice of a doctor before taking a measurement.

References: 

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet. As this content piece is not vetted by a medical professional, please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.

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