What is it about blood pressure that haunts people, especially adults in this 21th century? Many have heard news about people getting stroke and being paralyzed due to high blood pressure. Worse still, if that person is someone you know. Either they are your close friends or your siblings. Let's us first understand what blood pressure really is, what constitute a normal blood pressure and how it can change to affect our health and well being.
Blood pressure is the pressure exerted on our blood vessels wall when blood flows around our body. It has a maximum (systolic) and a minimum (diastolic) pressure as blood is pumped from our heart towards organs furthest away from our heart like our toes and fingers etc. A normal adult will have a blood pressure reading of 120/80 mm Hg. People with a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher is said to have hypertension or high blood pressure in layman term and should seek medical attention from doctor immediately.
So what causes our blood pressure to increase from its normal level? There are a number of reasons why our blood pressure increases. It may be due to an unhealthy lifestyle of consuming too much carbohydrate and fatty foods with little or no exercise. Over time, cholesterol will build up in our blood vessel wall making it more difficult for blood to flow through. When our heart pump blood through a smaller vessel (due to the cholesterol blockage) a higher pressure will result. Similar to a water hose in our garden, when we accidentally step on the hose, the water at the other end will eject out in a more powerful manner due to a smaller opening for water to flow through as we step on it. Other reasons for change of blood pressure are, lack of sleep, emotional stress, consume too much alcohol or over eating, smoking and high physical activities.
Why do we need to seek doctor's medical attention if our blood pressure reaches 140/90 mm Hg and above? Well, let's illustrate using a balloon. When we pump air into the balloon, is will grow bigger and bigger until to a certain extend when the wall of the balloon cannot with stand the excess pressure of the air, it will burst open. The same goes with our blood vessels. It will burst open if our blood pressure is too high causing internal bleeding which may result in stroke or even death if too serious.
If we are just on the borderline of 140/90 mm Hg, we can reduce the reading by adopting a healthier lifestyle in the form of controlling our diet and doing more exercises on a regular basis. Whereas if our blood pressure is too high until in the hypertension zone of 140/90 mm Hg and above, doctor may prescribe us with some medication to control our blood pressure. However, we can always control our blood pressure using the "Natural" ways without the need of taking blood pressure controlling medicine. Essentially, these so-called blood pressure controlling medicines are in fact medicines which help to thin our blood by flushing away excess sodium and also to relax our blood vessel. We will discuss more on how to reduce high blood pressure "Naturally" in my next post.