Heart is the pumping engine of our body. Reminding us of a ‘Roller-coaster ride’, heart keeps on pumping blood through vessels to all the vital organs in your body.
Blood pressure mimics and ocean tide
Blood pressure in simpler terms is the force exerted by blood on the walls of the arteries and veins as it runs through your body. Similar to an ocean tide, it is normal for this pressure to fluctuate throughout the day. In fact, blood pressure is found to be the least when you are sleeping and rises up when you are active. But when this pressure is kept elevated over a certain period of time, it causes the heart to pump more forcefully than usual and work overtime, thus resulting in a spectrum of health conditions like hardening of the arteries, heart failure, stroke, brain hemorrhage, kidney malfunction and of course blindness, in later stages.
Blood pressure is measured in two values-systolic (pressure during a heartbeat) over diastolic (pressure between heartbeats). Normal blood pressure is usually less than 120/80 mmHg and according to newest clinical guidelines, physicians recommend patients to keep this value below 140/90 mmHg or even lesser than that especially when you are having co-morbidities like Diabetes or kidney diseases.
Rise in this level of blood pressure, known as ‘Hypertension’ can be categorized as follows.
• Between 120/80 to 139/89 – Pre-Hypertension
• Between 140/90 to 159/99 – Stage 1 Hypertension
• Between 160/100 to 179/109 – Stage 2 Hypertension
• Greater than 180/110 – Hypertensive crisis
Are you at risk?
As far as the etiology of hypertension is considered, it is discussed under two types as Primary and Secondary. Primary hypertension hasn’t got any identifiable cause beyond our control limits and it gradually develops over years within us often unknowingly. In contrast, Secondary hypertension owns an underlying cause like Congenital heart diseases, excessive stress, obesity or excess-weight, sleeping disorders, smoking, alcohol, and illicit drug usage, Kidney ailments, Diabetes Mellitus, Thyroid hormone disorders etc.
Isn’t ‘Prevention’ always better than ‘Cure’?
There is nothing more effective than nipping it in the bud!
In fact, Hypertension at its initial stage can be controlled well with sound mental and physical wellbeing where regular exercise, relaxation and stress management, dietary modifications, weight control and an overall healthy lifestyle play a paramount role. Furthermore, if you are diagnosed with an early stage of hypertension, appropriate medication will help you to delay further progression but, if you are already suffering with other underlying co-morbidities you would need further analysis and treatment for those. However, it is undoubtedly advisable to get a full body check-up done regularly for early detection of hypertension which can be controlled successfully with the right intervention at the right time.
Take home message
Unfortunately, the first most stages of Hypertension often go undiagnosed as they don’t show any obvious warning signs or symptoms. Hence, it’s your sole responsibility to make regular doctor visits and get your blood pressure monitored as a habit of joy, so that the culprit can be kept at two hand’s distance, before it invades your fine fettle.