Amenyah Seth, Consulting Dietician.
A Private Consultant, Health Blogger, and Author
CEO of Diet Care Clinic GH
An Affiliate of the Ghana Dietetic Association & Allied Health Professions Council
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Normal blood flow is very important for every cell in our body to carry out its metabolic activities. The heart constantly needs to beat (contract and relax simultaneously) to create some amount of pressure to keep the blood flow to all parts of the body at a constant rate. This pressure which the heart generates for blood flow through the blood vessels is called blood pressure.
There are two of the blood pressures figures. The top value denotes the degree of blood pressure the heart generated against the arteries at the time it was contracting to pump blood to other parts of the body. This top number is called systolic pressure in medicine and is normally supposed to be between 100 to 120-millimeter mercury (mm Hg) depending on age, gender, and physical activity level.
The bottom value denotes the degree of blood pressure the heart generated against the arteries at the time it was relaxing to collect blood from other parts of the body. This bottom value is called diastolic pressure in medicine and is normally supposed to be between 70 to 80-millimeter mercury (mm Hg) depending on age, gender, and physical activity level.
When blood pressure falls too low below the above-mentioned values, there are fatal health consequences such as low oxygen supply to the tissues or body cells (hypoxia), cell death (ischemia) and organ failure. on the side, when blood pressure rises too high above the above-mentioned values, fatal health consequences such as rupture of delicate (small thin) arteries and target organ damage may occur. Chronic kidney failure and hemorrhagic (intracerebral & subarachnoid) stroke are good examples of such cases.
In other for the above fatal health problems not to occur, the body itself has a complex, yet, efficient blood pressure control systems in place. This blood pressure control systems involved a coordinated communication between the heart itself, the brain, the kidneys, and the blood vessels themselves. These organs and tissue play a major role in ensuring that blood pressure remains optimal for normal health.
High blood pressure also called primary hypertension defined by ambulatory blood pressure reading exceeding 130/80 mm Hg on three different occasions occurs when the blood pressure control systems are out of order. Considering the complexity of how the body controls blood pressure, it is difficult if not impossible to know the exact cause of primary hypertension. This may explain why primary hypertension is said to have no known cause. There are however some known risk factors. These include genetics, high body weight or BMI, age, race, sodium sensitivity, low dietary potassium and magnesium, insulin resistance, alcohol, smoking among others.
With an increasing rate of obesity among the youth and young adults, primary hypertension is no more a disease common to old age. Young people as low as 20 years are now been diagnosed with primary hypertension. Even though the mechanism is complex, overweight and obesity alone account for over 60 percent of all cases of primary hypertension making these two diseases (hypertension and obesity), twin brothers. Where you find one, there is over 60 percent chance that you would find the other.
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