blood-pressure
John Roufaiel, MD, MS

John Roufaiel, MD, MS

Blood Pressure | Why so much hype?

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

Blood Pressure Definition

Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood against the walls of the circulatory system. The circulatory system is not just your arteries, but also your veins and heart. However, we most commonly measure blood pressure in your arm. In the arm we use a specific artery to measure blood pressure: the brachial artery. Whether the measurement is taken manually or electronically, it produces two numbers. It is important to understand the meaning of these two values so you can monitor your health.

Click the Switch to Open Quiz

Blood Pressure Chart

We refer to the top number as the systolic value. The bottom number is the diastolic value of your blood pressure. When taking the blood pressure on the arm, the systolic value is the pressure of the blood against the wall of the brachial artery during a heartbeat. The diastolic value is the pressure of the blood against the wall of the brachial artery between heartbeats. Systolic blood pressure reading is more often looked at than diastolic reading, therefore we will focus on it here. According to the blood pressure chart from the American Heart Association (AHA), normal systolic blood pressure is less than 120 mm Hg.

blood-pressure-chart
Blood Pressure Chart from American Heart Association (AHA)

Abnormal Blood Pressure Readings

High blood pressure is medically termed hypertension. In medicine, we use the term hyper- to mean elevated. In regards to systolic blood pressure, that would be a value above 130 mm Hg. Between 120 and 130 mm Hg we use vague terminology such as elevated blood pressure or pre-hypertension. After that, Stage 1 hypertension is between 130 – 139 mm Hg. After that, Stage 2 hypertension is between 140 – 179 mm Hg. Finally, Stage 3 hypertension is 180 mm Hg or greater and is a medial emergency termed Hypertensive crisis. Look at the blood pressure chart to see the diastolic values. In contrast, low blood pressure is termed hypotension. A blood pressure reading below 90/60 mm Hg is generally considered low. WebMD provides more detail about hypotension.

High Blood Pressure Symptoms

As the ADA mentions, “High blood pressure is a largely symptomless ‘silent killer.’ If you ignore your blood pressure because you think a certain symptom or sign will alert you to the problem, you are taking a dangerous chance with your life.” Certainly, high blood pressure can cause blind spots in your eyes, nose bleeds, facial flushing and dizziness, but not always. Above all, it is very important to regularly see your physician for blood pressure checks and self-check your blood pressure. Furthermore, you can self-monitor your blood pressure for free at a local pharmacy. Additionally, you can order your own blood pressure monitor online to monitor from home.

High Blood Pressure Medication

Several classes of blood pressure medication exist. For instance, there are blood pressure medications that work to slow your heart rate, some that change the diameter of your vessels and others that work on your kidney to help you urinate more frequently. For example, a blood pressure medication that works to slow your heart rate are beta blockers. The class of medications that work on making your artery diameter large are calcium channel blockers. Several medications work on the kidneys and are called diuretics, because they make you urinate more frequently in order to decrease the amount of fluid in your blood. A fourth class of blood pressure medicine is called Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs).

blood-pressure-medication-recall
FDA Blood Pressure Medication Recall 2018 - 2019

Blood Pressure Medication Recall

The ARBs have been facing a lot of federal and public attention recently in the news. Many of them have been facing a recall issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Read more about the high blood pressure medication recall issued by the FDA in recent news. If you see your medication or the blood pressure medication of someone you know on the list, then make sure to consult with your doctor on a proper course of action.

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
blood-pressure

Blood Pressure | Why so much hype?

Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood against the walls of the circulatory system. The circulatory system is not just your arteries, but also your veins and heart. However, we most commonly measure blood pressure in your …

Read More »
blood-pressure-medication-recall

Blood Pressure Medication Recall by the FDA | Learn More

Blood pressure medication recall currently is causing a media frenzy. People are rushing online to see if there is a recall for their blood pressure medication. With 1 in 3 adults having hypertension (high blood pressure), everyone knows someone with hypertension. When you hear about a recall, it is very important to…

Read More »

Be the first to know when a new article is posted!

PhysioStasis LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com