Blood pressure refers to the pressure exerted by the blood on the walls of arteries. There are two readings of the pressure, systolic (upper limit) and diastolic pressure (lower limit). A person's ideal diastolic blood pressure should be below 120 and their systolic blood pressure below 80. A person is said to have high blood pressure if their systolic, or upper number is between 130 and 139 or the diastolic, or lower number is between 80 and 89. Having high blood pressure over a prolonged period, it can cause serious damage to your blood vessels.
Early detection of high blood pressure is very important. Often referred to as the "silent killer" because it may show no symptoms, high blood pressure puts you at an increased risk for heart disease, heart failure, kidney disease and stroke.
High blood pressure or hypertension is a common occurrence in people of all age groups. It can further lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, disability, and premature death over time. Timely diagnosis and management are key to bringing your numbers down.
According to Dr Chetan Bhambure, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Wockhardt Hospitals, (Mira Road), timely diagnosis and management are key to bringing your pressure down.
He said: "Not measuring blood pressure can make it challenging for people to get a correct diagnosis and medication. As even the slightest difference in blood pressure levels can impact the treatment that is decided to be administered. It is important to monitor your blood pressure. Also measuring your blood pressure regularly can make you more aware of your health and can help the doctor to detect any problem. Blood pressure tests help to know about the pressure in the arteries as the heart pumps blood. This test is done to understand if one has high blood pressure."
High blood pressure is a major health concern impacting the majority of the population not only in India but all over the world. High blood pressure is associated with factors such as age, genetics, and behavioural risk factors such as eating more salt and fat, being physically inactive, obesity, alcohol and tobacco use, and stress. It can raise the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, disability, and higher morbidity and mortality rates. Thus, early diagnosis of blood pressure can be life-saving.
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Dr Bhambure answers some frequently asked questions on blood pressure-
How to check blood pressure?
Blood pressure tests help to know about the pressure in the arteries as the heart pumps blood. This test is done to understand if one has high blood pressure. Get your blood pressure checked at the doctor's clinic or your home using a blood pressure monitor, as per the doctor's suggestion. You will need to record the readings regularly. This will allow the doctor to know about the readings and make a proper diagnosis. People of every age group must check their blood pressure at least thrice a month.
What can affect blood pressure readings?
Being anxious, stressed, or depressed can impact one's blood pressure readings. Sometimes, the blood pressure readings measured at the doctor's clinic will be high and one may get normal blood pressure readings outside the clinic.
How to measure blood pressure?
Rest the arm on a table at the level of the blood pressure monitor and correctly put the measuring cuff as advised by the doctor. This will help to get accurate readings. If you have smoked or consumed alcohol or caffeine, or have engaged in some physical exercise within 30 minutes of taking the readings, there is a chance that readings might come inaccurate.
The last word: To keep hypertension at bay, exercise daily, eat a well-balanced diet, avoid salty foods, stay stress-free, and cut down on smoking, alcohol, and caffeine.