At least once in a lifetime, blood pressure was measured for each person. If you ask most patients what indicator they consider normal, they will answer without hesitation — 120/80. And they will be only partially right. This is a fairly average figure, and for some patients it is completely uncomfortable, since the blood pressure indicator is very dynamic and individual. In many ways, the figures depend on gender and age, the level of physical activity and even the model of the tonometer that is being measured. It is always important to know your baseline blood pressure in order to determine the presence of hypertension or hypotension based on these data.
Blood pressure in the vessels: where does it come from?
Similarly to the flow of water in taps, blood pressure is formed inside the vessels. If the pump does not create pressure in the pipes, the water flow in the taps will be very weak. The role of the pump in the body is performed by the heart, it pushes blood in portions under sufficiently high pressure into the aorta — the largest vessel of the body. From the aorta, blood flows through large arteries to the tissues of the body. The pressure level, according to the decrease in the size of the arteries, also decreases, reaching the minimum values to the level of the capillaries, nevertheless sufficient to carry out a full-fledged gas exchange.
You can measure any pressure — inside arteries, capillaries or veins, there are methods and devices described in detail. But the most common measurement in practice is blood pressure for its simplicity and accessibility to each patient. This term refers to the level of pressure that the blood flow exerts on the area of the artery walls.
Systolic pressure and diastolic — what is it?
When measuring, the tonometer records two digits of pressure: upper (or more correctly, systolic), as well as lower (it is also diastolic). Doctors also evaluate the difference between them, calling it pulse pressure. A greater value is formed in the period of maximum compression of the heart walls and the release of a portion of blood into the vessels — the aorta and the arteries extending from it. The lower indicator is the blood pressure inside the arteries at the moment when the heart has relaxed as much as possible and is filled with blood for the next contraction.
The value of pulse pressure for a doctor is no less important than the other two digits. Even if the results obtained are quite within the age limits, but the pulse pressure itself is very small, the patient’s well-being can suffer extremely seriously.
Low blood pressure during childhood, this is due to the elasticity of the arterial walls. With age, they become firmer, and the strength of heart contractions increases — the pressure naturally grows. This feature is necessary for a full-fledged blood supply to a growing organism. With age, the vascular walls lose elasticity, this increases the pressure and makes it impossible to actively regulate sharp changes by changing their lumen.
Physical activity and pressure norms
The amount of pressure is unstable, it varies significantly throughout the day and night, it is largely influenced by physical exertion and excitement. Against the background of rest and in sleep, the pressure is the lowest, against the background of stress, experiences or active physical activity, it rises to maximum values. This is a completely natural process that provides the body’s cells with oxygen in conditions of dynamically changing metabolism, increasing energy requirements for metabolism. On average, physical activity, if we are talking about a healthy person, gives an increase in pressure in the range of 10-20%, in numerical value — an increase to 20-30 mmHg. This difference is quite enough to cover the increasing costs and adequate blood delivery to the tissues. If this is a trained person or a professional athlete, the pressure level during physical exertion is only slightly increased or remains stable, the body is able to use resources more fully and economically, tissues are adapted to changes in load.
Alarm signals: hypotension and hypertension
A dangerous sign is a sharp increase in pressure against the background of loads and stresses with a long recovery period. This is a reason to visit a doctor and examine the cardiovascular system, often hypertension manifests itself for the first time. This term hides a persistent excess of normative values, a pressure level of more than 130/80 mmHg. Hypertension can have a stable or crisis course, divided by indicators by severity. This condition is dangerous due to the presence of serious complications from the heart and blood vessels due to the increasing load. If hypertension is detected, it is important to be observed by a doctor.
The opposite condition is hypotension (hypotension), a pressure drop below 100/70 mmHg, which leads to microcirculation disorders.
How to measure pressure: using a tonometer
Today, many homes have a portable device that allows you to monitor the pressure — a tonometer. This is a mechanical, semi-automatic or automatic device consisting of a cuff, a system of elastic tubes, a pear and a pressure gauge (in automatic machines they are replaced by the device itself), which measures the pressure level. With the help of a tonometer, following the instructions, it is possible to accurately outpace the pressure level both at rest and after loads. This is especially important for people who lead a healthy lifestyle and take care of their health, as well as those who suffer from hypertension or hypotension, to monitor the condition and effectiveness of therapy.
For several weeks, using a tonometer, you can determine your baseline pressure level by measuring it in the morning without getting out of bed. Knowing this indicator, it is possible to determine the reaction of blood vessels to stress and stress, changes in well-being and crises.
If the pressure is measured throughout the day, you need to do it in a calm state, sit or lie down before measuring, give up smoking and taking coffee, alcohol. Then the numbers will be as accurate as possible. Detailed instructions for use are included in the kit, depending on the model of the tonometer, measurements must be carried out exactly with the technique so that the values are not distorted.