In order to have a better understanding of what is high blood pressure, and how we can take appropriate actions to lower our blood pressure, it is a must that we should first understand the properties of a normal blood pressure. To have a thorough knowledge of what it is all about will lead us all to good health.
Our body is made up of tissues and organs coming from fifteen trillion cells with specific functions. The heart, skin, kidneys, lungs, and other glands are responsible for the blood pressure. Everything from the muscle and the vascular tissues, as well as the cardiovascular and excretory systems play an important role.
The heart will pump blood loaded with oxygen to the aorta, the largest artery. This will be distributed to the arterioles and capillaries or the smaller arteries, which will be allocated to every tissues and cells.
Blood pressure will now be influenced by the amount of blood pumped, the speed by which blood is pumped and any resistance that it may encounter during the pumping process. Simply stated, blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood the heart will pump out and any factors that may restrict this blood output to flow.
The bringing of blood to and from the muscles and the skin by the arterioles and veins is called peripheral circulatory system. This is the stage where the so called peripheral resistance will be met. There are three contributing factors for peripheral resistance to take place while blood is being distributed. These are:
1. Viscosity – By viscosity, it means the blood either flows easily or not. The higher the viscosity, the more resistance to flow takes place, since it would have a consistency similar to that of honey.
2. Elasticity of the arteries and veins – refers to the ability of the veins and the arteries to stretch. Hence, if the veins are rigid and hard or pipe-like, the more pressure is exerted to let the blood flow.
3. The number, size, and state of the arterioles – will refer to the ability of the arterioles to dilate as ready receptacles for the blood that flows. Hence, if only a few arterioles are relaxed and dilated, much of the blood will remain in the veins causing pressure, since no form of release can be met.
During the process of distribution, pressure is needed to push the blood to the arteries. One is the systolic or higher pressure responsible for pushing the blood and the other diastolic or lower pressure responsible in keeping the heart to pump out blood.
High blood pressure then takes place, if our dietary intakes, lifestyle, or genetic abilities may in one way cause the three contributing factors to assume the properties that will cause resistance to blood flow. Blood viscosity that may be thick like honey has to pass through veins and arterial wall that are rigid and pipe-like and will be met by only a few dilated arterioles, the rest being constricted, or worse, closed.
Thus, the lower pressure continues to promote pumping of blood while the higher blood pressure will keep pushing to find an outlet for its pressure. Not finding any, all the pressure will remain in confinement within veins and arterial walls and will be liable to pop out of any exit points just to find release.
Anyone who is experiencing this kind of peripheral circulation and resistance, is experiencing high blood pressure already leading to a stroke, or much worse, death. This is why hypertension or high blood pressure was given the moniker: “the silent killer”.
Normal blood pressure varies from every individual. What is high blood pressure to some may be still normal to others. By ordinary standards, the normal blood pressure of adults on the average is 120 systolic and 80 diastolic. This is usually stated as 120 over 80 in millimeters of mercury or 120/80 as expressed in fraction.