Blood Pressure: Definition Of Cardiovascular Disease

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Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a disease that affects the heart or blood vessels (NHS,2020). Several risk factors lead to CVD and one of them is high blood pressure and therefore, every person should be aware of the risk that comes with high blood pressure and how to get it under control. For further help and guidance may be to visit a general practice. This article will look at the basic information everyone should be aware of.

Blood pressure (BP) is a pressure that is measured when the heart contracts. It pushes the blood out through the arteries that carry blood around the body. Certain force is needed for the blood to be able to travel from a higher pressure area to a lower pressure area in the body (BHS, 2020). The pressure is measured with two measurements where the higher number is the systolic pressure and it measures the force of blood through the arteries and the smaller number is the diastolic pressure and it measures the blood pressure when the heart is relaxed between the beats (Cripps, 2020).

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Measuring blood pressure is one of the aspects of assessing overall health and it is widely used as a primary diagnostic tool (Turner, 2018). It is measured with a tool called a sphygmomanometer (blood pressure cuff) (Moini, 2013). The results of the blood pressure reading are recorded as a fraction of systolic pressure over the diastolic pressure, for example, 120/80mmHG. The ranges of different blood pressure are shown in figure 1.

People with low blood pressure (hypotension) will experience symptoms such as weakness, light-headedness or dizziness, feeling sick (BHS, 2020). However, people with high blood pressure (hypertension) do not have any symptoms, and the only way to discover it is to get it measured. Between 90–95% of hypertension cases are primary hypertension (the cause of hypertension cannot be identified by a specific factor, for example being overweight, age, gender, lack of physical activity, ethnicity, stress) and the remaining 5–10% are secondary hypertension (causes are underlying issues such as kidney disease, interference of renal blood flow) (Gerard and Derrickson, 2014).

Measuring the blood pressure is an easy, painless procedure that can be done at the doctor’s surgery or in a familiar setting of the patient’s home using an automatic device. It is widely acknowledged that people who have their blood pressure measured in clinical surroundings will have raised blood pressure and this is known as white coat hypertension (Pickering, 1998).

In the special issue of the Journal of Clinical Hypertension O’Brien and Stergiou (2018) referred to the importance of the BP measurements to make sure these will be accurate for different groups of people such as pregnant women, children, the elderly, patients suffering from other cardiovascular diseases (diabetes and atrial fibrillation) and patients with limited resources. They pointed out the importance to change the methodology behind the BP measurements to avoid the effect of overestimating BP and prescribing extreme treatments.

To get the blood pressure under control lifestyle changes need to apply such as losing weight, limiting alcohol intake, physical activity (30 to 45 minutes a day several times per week), reduction in salt consumption, stop smoking, and managing stress (Gerard and Derrickson, 2014).

If the hypertension is untreated it will lead to renal, heart failure and that’s why it is very important to be aware of the numbers as it can save a life.


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