© WikiMedia (Wikimedia) GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba – A Navy corpsman applies a blood pressure cuff d
© WikiMedia (Wikimedia)
Blood pressure readings are taken as two numbers. The systolic blood pressure and the diastolic blood pressure.
Systolic pressure versus diastolic pressure
Systolic pressure is the blood pressure as the heart is beating and pumping blood while the diastolic pressure is when the heart is at rest and in between its beats. It is read as systolic over diastolic.
Understanding blood pressure measurement
Blood pressure norms are readings that are under 120/80 mmHG. Readings over 120/80 mmHG reveal an increased risk of heart problems while levels over 140/90 mmHG are considered as high blood pressure for the majority of people in the world. A high blood pressure monitor is now available for home use for easier control.
While high blood pressure is a common occurrence, it is still a serious health risk. In the United States, 33.3% of people have high blood pressure. There are many factors that can raise your risk for HBP such as gender, obesity, age, race, family history, stress, and lifestyle. The older you get, the higher your chances for high blood pressure.
There are some medications that will raise blood pressure, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. These include female hormones such as birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy.
Birth control pills versus hormone replacement therapy
Birth control pills raise both the systolic and the diastolic blood pressure readings while hormone replacement therapy raises just the systolic readings.
Other medications which can contribute to high blood pressure include asthma medications like corticosteroids. Some cold and flu remedies will raise blood pressure unless noted on the packaging, especially non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs. Illegal drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine will also raise your HBP.
Conditions that cause high blood pressure
Having some medical conditions may raise blood pressure readings as well. These can include thyroid disease, chronic kidney disease, and sleep apnea. Other conditions that have the same effect include anxiety, alcoholism, fever, endocrine disorders like Cushing’s syndrome, atherosclerosis, and narrowing of the aorta. Even pregnancy and a deficiency of potassium can cause HBP.