Blood pressure is the force that keeps blood circulating throughout the body. Each heartbeat pumps blood through the arteries to the body’s organs.
There are two blood pressure readings you should know. Systolic pressure is when the heart pumps, and pressure in the arteries increases briefly. Diastolic pressure is between beats, when the heart relaxes, reducing pressure in the arteries temporarily.
Normal blood pressure readings fall between 100 and 140 mmHg for systolic and 60 to 90 mmHg diastolic. Readings above 140/90 are considered high blood pressure.
Having high blood pressure is much more common than having low blood pressure.
High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure.
Low blood pressure leads to the body’s cells not getting the oxygen and nutrients they need to thrive.
Risk factors for high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, include smoking, obesity, sleeplessness, stress, dehydration, genetics or family history, and heavy consumption of alcohol.
The first line of treatment for hypertension is lifestyle adjustments. Getting regular, moderate exercise, eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruit and low in refined salt, drinking more water, and taking certain supplements, like nattokinase, can all lower blood pressure without prescription drugs.
There are several different types of medication for treating high blood pressure. Doctors may prescribe beta-blockers, diuretics, and/or calcium channel blockers. Side effects are common with all these medications. They include symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, erectile dysfunction, headache, muscle cramps, dehydration, frequent urination, and other issues.
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