To understand blood pressure effects, let’s get a bit technical; any pump be it man made or nature engineered, results in pressure in the liquid that is being pushed (otherwise the liquid will not move). Pipes connected with the pump need to be appropriate for the pressure that is exerted in the liquid – a thin pipe meant for low pressure will rupture if connected to a pump that delivers high pressure.
The heart and blood pressure effect
The rule of the pump explained above also applies to our heart. A pumping heart will exert quite a bit of pressure in the blood that is being pushed. After all, the blood has to reach all the way to your toes! If for any reason your heart weakens, your blood pressure will drop and parts of your body will be left without nutrition and oxygen. This could result in extensive organ damage.
Abnormal blood pressure effect
If your blood vessels are blocked, you could end up with an even more serious situation – abnormally high blood pressure in part preceding the blockage and abnormally low pressure in the part after the blockage. This situation could potentially lead to a rupture in the blood vessels where the pressure is high. Internal bleeding unless treated immediately will result in death.
‘Normal’ blood pressure
Contrary to popular belief, blood pressure does not stay uniform. The heart is more than just a pump – it is connected to the brain and the brain acts as the regulator that controls the volume of blood the heart pumps. During some excitement or if we are in the midst of some intense physical activity, our limbs and organs need more nutrition and oxygen. Accordingly, the brain signals the heart to pump faster. Similarly, when we are sleeping or watching the sunset or reading a book the brain signals the heart to slow down. The signals issued from the brain will result in varying levels of blood pressure and this is quite normal. This is also the reason you are asked to sit down and relax before your blood pressure is checked.
Normal blood pressure in an adult is roughly 120 (systolic) and 80 (diastolic). Anything below these two figures would be low blood pressure and anything over these two would be diagnosed as high blood pressure. There’s also Systolic high and Diastolic high but we will write about that some other time.
Continuous abnormal blood pressure
Continuous abnormal blood pressure could result from a variety of causes including injuries, lifestyle issues such as addictions, improper diet and inadequate sleep; diseases and age. If your blood vessels are blocked or there is undue pressure exerted on the blood vessels (e.g. due to obesity), the organs will signal inadequate blood supply to the brain which in turn will command the heart to pump faster leading to continuous high blood pressure.
High blood pressure effect
As mentioned earlier, our blood vessels and organs are meant to operate within a certain blood pressure range (termed normal blood pressure). When the pressure exceeds 120 (systolic) and 80 (diastolic), the blood vessels, heart, brain, kidneys and eyes come under intense pressure. Common sense tells us that if too much pressure is applied something will usually give away. The same applies to our organs.
If you are over 40 years of age, it would be a good idea to check your blood pressure at least once every few weeks. If you get an abnormal reading during any two or more consecutive tests, you should consult your physician as quickly as possible.
Hope you have fun this St Valentine’s Day and remember that diet and nutrition can save your health 😉