What is blood pressure and what effect it has?
Blood pressure is the tension the blood renders on the walls of the vessels; it is an excess pressure of the fluid in the circulatory system above atmospheric and is one of the indicators of vital functions and biomarkers.
Most commonly when talking about blood pressure, arterial tension is meant. This pressure with every beat of the heart is fluctuating between the smallest, diastolic and the greatest, systolic.
When measuring arterial tension, there are two indicators:
- The highest number is a systolic arterial tension that indicates the tension in the arteries at the moment when the heart contracts and pushes blood into the arteries, it depends on the strength of the contraction of the heart, the resistance that the walls of the blood vessels have, and the number of contractions per unit of time;
- The lower and smaller number is a diastolic pressure that indicates the pressure in the arteries at the moment of heart muscle relaxation. This is the minimum tension in the arteries; it reflects the resistance of peripheral vessels. As the blood moves along the vascular channel, the amplitude of blood pressure fluctuations decreases, and the venous and capillary pressure depend little on the phase of the cardiac cycle.
What is the norm of arterial tension?
The normal tension of an individual must be detected only at rest as any physical or emotional load or stresses substantially affect it. The body itself regulates the tension and in a moderate load its normal indications usually go up to plus 20 mmHg. It happens so that the functioning muscles and organs would receive more intense and qualitative blood supply.
The norm of arterial tension is a subjective term as it can vary from one person to another, especially between men and women and people of different ages. However, there are certain numbers that are taken as reference: for people aged 20-40, the norm is 120/80 mmHg, 130/85 mmHg is slightly elevated pressure, 139/89 mmHg is considered elevated and 140/90 mmHg and more indicates pathology of blood pressure.
Norms of arterial tension by age and sex:
Older than 70
How to measure arterial tension correctly?
For the measuring of arterial tension, a special device that can be bought at any pharmacy is used. It is called sphygmomanometer, or simply blood pressure meter. For home use, it is better to use automatic or semi-automatic and not the manual device which requires certain skills of use.
To measure the tension correctly, it is crucial to follow these rules:
- Exclude any physical activity at least for a half an hour before measuring tension;
- Do not smoke while measuring tension;
- Do not measure tension right after a meal;
- The tension should be measured when you are sited on a comfortable chair with a back.
- The hand on which the pressure meter is used should be placed at the level of the heart, i.e. you should be sited with the arm lying down on a table.
- When performing the measurements, do not talk or move;
- The measurement should be made on both hands with an interval of 10 minutes.
If you see a substantial deviation from the norm for your age, you should go to physician or a cardiologist and get tested. After tests are made, your healthcare provider will be able to appoint you the most appropriate and effective therapy.
hat are the causes of arterial tension disorder?
There are a lot of reasons that can cause arterial tension raise but the most common ones are the following:
- The inability of the heart to work as before and with the necessary strength;
- Change of blood texture. As we get older, the blood becomes thicker. The thicker it gets, the harder it is for it to flow by the vessels. Besides, there are diseases that can induce blood thickening such as diabetes or autoimmune diseases.
- Lowering of the vessels elasticity. It is caused by the age as it is usually related to the improper diet, excessive loads, and certain medical products;
- Formation of atherosclerotic plaques forming at elevated blood levels of "bad" cholesterol;
- Sharp contracting of the blood vessels due to hormones;
- Incorrect work of endocrine glands.
The majority of these causes can be eliminated and health maintained for as long as possible. All is needed is a healthy eating habits, moderate exercising, coping with stress through meditation, psychotherapy, and so on.
What are the dangers of high arterial tension?
Elevated arterial tension is one of the major preventable causes of death. People with elevated pressure have a much higher risk of:
- Heart attack;
- Ischemic heart disease;
The major problem with the condition is that is can exist without any symptoms till a serious life-threatening event occurs, e.g. stroke. Thus, it is recommended to control arterial pressure if you are older than 50 or even younger if your family has a history of arterial hypertension, stroke, myocardial infarction, or any other heart disease.
What are the risk factors for elevated arterial tension?
The risk of developing elevated arterial tension is increased with age, the older we get, the more disorders and unhealthy habits we accumulate which influences blood tension.
Other risk factors include:
- Excessive body mass;
- Unhealthy diet with an abundance of salt and fats;
- Lack of physical exercising and desk work;
- Tobacco smoking;
- Excessive consumption of alcohol;
- History of hypertension or other cardiovascular diseases in the family;
- Excessive physical load.
- Use of certain medications (for instance, hormonal birth control for women).
How to prevent arterial hypertension?
To avoid the development of the condition, it is important to exclude the risk factors that you can:
- Lose excess weight if you have it;
- Improve your eating habits (chose healthy natural products over fast food, etc.);
- Incorporate regular exercising in your life (at least walking for 30-40 minutes each day);
- Quit smoking;
- Consume alcohol moderately;
- Learn coping with stress through meditation and so on;
- Check that you don’t use any medications that can elevate the risk of high blood pressure.
If your family has a history of the disease, you should especially pay attention to all possible risk factors and monitor your pressure regularly to catch the possible start of hypertension timely.
How is arterial tension treated?
The first important treatment method is the following of a healthy diet and incorporating moderate exercising to your life. These methods of control over the blood tension are recommended for anyone without exceptions.
The medications to treat elevated arterial tension should be chosen by a health care provider. Usually, they are used daily along with the control over the blood pressure to assess the efficacy of the medication and so that a doctor would be able to adjust the therapy in case of adverse effects or its insufficient effect.
Medications used to treat arterial hypertension
There are several groups of medications used for arterial hypertension:
Diuretics or water pills lower the volume of blood plasma and vascular resistance.
Thiazide diuretics are the most frequently prescribed ones. They also have a slight vessel dilating effect.
Loop diuretics are used only for individuals with poor renal function.
All diuretics except potassium-sparing ones cause potassium washing out from the body. Potassium-saving diuretics are not first-line therapy as they are less effective than other water pills.
The medications from this group slow down the heartbeat and diminish the contractility of myocardium thus lowering the arterial tension. All medications from the group have a similar antihypertensive effect. These medications are contraindicated for individuals with asthma and COPD as they can induce bronchospasm.
The formulations are especially effective in individuals with angina pectoris, after heart attack, or suffer from heart failure. However, some of the beta-blockers are unsafe for individuals with ischemic heart disease.
Calcium antagonists (calcium channels blockers)
These formulations are blocking calcium channels and they powerfully widen the vessels that drops the arterial tension through the diminishing of the total peripheral vascular resistance; they sometimes cause reflex tachycardia. Ca-blockers, such as Verapamil and Diltiazem, slow down the heart rate, worsen the atrioventricular conductivity and contractility of the myocardium. Thus, these formulations are contraindicated in patients with grade 2 and 3 atrioventricular block or left ventricular failure.
These medications lower the arterial tension due to the effect on the transformation of angiotensin type I into form II through the preventing the breakdown of bradykinin, which leads to a decrease in peripheral vascular resistance without the provoking reflex tachycardia. This group has a kidney protective effect so they are a first choice for individuals with diabetes. But the medicines are not advised for people of African descent as they have a higher risk of stroke associated with ACE inhibitors.
Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers
These medications block the receptors to the effect of angiotensin type II and influence the renin-angiotensin system. Angiotensin II receptor blockers and ACE inhibitors have similar efficacy. However, this group of medications is associated with fewer adverse reactions.
Direct renin inhibitors
Like ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers, direct renin inhibitors (e.g. Aliskiren) cause an increase in serum creatinine and potassium. They should not be combined with ACE inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers in individuals with diabetes or kidney disease.
Medications that affect adrenergic receptors
This class of medications includes alpha-2 agonists, alpha -2 agonists, and peripheral adrenergic blockers.
Alpha-2 agonists, for instance, Methyldopa, Clonidine, and others stimulate alpha-2 receptors in the brain stem and diminish sympathetic nervous activity, which leads to a lowering in arterial tension. But they can cause sluggishness, and apathy, which is why they are not widely used.
These formulations including Minoxidil and Hydralazine act directly on the blood vessels regardless of the autonomic nervous system. Minoxidil is more effective than Hydralazine but it has more negative reactions, including such as water and sodium accumulation in the body, as well as hypertrichosis, which is poorly tolerated in women. Minoxidil should be a reserve medication for severe hypertension. Hydralazine is used in pregnant women (for example, in the treatment of preeclampsia) and as an auxiliary antihypertensive medication.
Blood pressure medications you can buy at our online drugstore
- Thiazide: Indapamide (thiazide-like diuretic), Hydrochlorothiazide
- Potassium-sparing: Spironolactone, Amiloride, Moduretic.
- Beta-blockers: Sotalol, Carvedilol, Propranolol, Metoprolol, Atenolol, Toprol, Toprol XR, Bisoprolol
- Calcium antagonists (calcium channels blockers): Nifedipine, Verapamil by Abbott, Diltiazem, Lotrel (a combined drug with ACE inhibitor), Amlodipine, Felodipine.
- ACE inhibitors: Quinapril, Ramipril by Ipca, Captopril, Perindopril, Benazepril, Lotrel (a combined drug with Calcium channel blocker), Tritace, Enalapril, Bisoprolol (ACE inhibitor+ diuretic), Lisinopril (Zestril).
- Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers: Candesartan, Avalide, Irbesartan, Olmesartan, Losartan, Valsartan, Terazosin, Hyzaar, Telmisartan.
- Medications that affect adrenergic receptors: Methyldopa, Doxazosin, Clonidine, Prazosin (Minipress by Pfizer).
At our med store you can get any of the listed medications without Rx but we highly advise you to buy blood pressure medications only when your doctor prescribes and use them in accordance to the instructions given individually. It is especially important if you suffer from any heart disease, take any medications, are pregnant or planning pregnancy.