Few Important Aspects About Hypertension

ID-10038425It is important to understand what is hypertension or high blood pressure. Hypertension is “the pressure exerted by the blood on its vessel wall, due to the volume of blood and speed of the blood flow”.

It is actually difficult to determine a cut-off blood pressure (both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure) above which it can be considered hypertension. That is why, ideally we should consider a blood pressure, above which it put risk of hypertension related medical complications/complications in a significant number of people. In another simple word a blood pressure level above which one is at risk of developing complications (such as cardiovascular, renal, cerebral or brain and other complications) that are seen with individuals with hypertension.

Several studies have shown that systolic blood pressure of more than 115-120 mm of Hg and diastolic blood pressure of more than 80 mm of Hg, increases the risk of hypertensive complications in significant number of people. Therefore, ideally systolic blood pressure should be below 120 mm of Hg. The risks of cardiovascular and other complications of hypertension double with every 20 mm Hg increase in systolic pressure and 10 mm Hg increase in diastolic pressure.

Most experts on hypertension accept the following classification of hypertension:

  • Normal blood pressure: systolic blood pressure less than 120 mmHg and diastolic BP less than 80 mmHg
  • Pre-hypertension: systolic blood pressure 120–139 mmHg and diastolic BP 80–89 mmHg
  • Stage I hypertension: systolic blood pressure of 140–159 mmHg and diastolic BP 90–99 mmHg
  • Stage II hypertension: systolic blood pressure of more than 160 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure of more than 100 mmHg
  • Isolated systolic hypertension: systolic blood pressure is more than 140 mmHg but diastolic blood pressure below 90 mmHg

Blood pressure is not constant throughout the day. For example, in the morning the blood pressure is usually higher than in the evening. Blood pressure also rises after exercise, emotional problems, mental tension etc. That is the reason myocardial infarction (heart attack) and strokes are common during morning hours.

Blood pressure is usually lower by 10-20% during nighttime and during sleeping.

 

“Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

 

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