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An Insight on Blood Pressure!

 The purpose of this blog is to give you an insight on Blood Pressure [BP]! How many times have you gotten your BP measured and have not known how, what and why your levels are what they are? Generally, there is no explanation given at all, a person is either told its “good” or “relatively okay” or “a little bit high” or “quite low” etc, but what does this mean?

To put it simply, BP is the force exerted by circulating blood against the walls of the body’s arteries, the major blood vessels in the body. High blood pressure [Hypertension] occurs when the pressure is too high and low blood pressure [Hypotension] occurs when the pressure is too low.

Specifically, the two values recorded during each BP measurement represents maximal pressure of the blood within the brachial artery during cardiac contraction [systolic] and the minimal pressure during relaxation [diastolic]. The difference between systolic blood pressure [SBP] and diastolic blood pressure [DBP] is called pulse pressure [PP]; this is the force produced during each heartbeat. Essentially for person’s who are capable and qualified in identifying pressure levels, SBP and DBP is always considered, however, PP is often overlooked. 

PP is very important to keep an eye on as it is a major risk factor/representation of whether or not a person is developing heart disease or is at risk of exacerbating an existing chronic condition. 

An example of a healthy range for blood pressure is: 100-130mmHg [SBP] / 60-80mmHg [DBP], where the PP is [SBP – DBP], according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

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Therefore, it is what you’re wanting to monitor before, during and post exercise in all patients, meaning those who’ve been clinically diagnosed with BP issues and those who haven’t but are susceptible due to comorbidities. Comorbidities are defined as the co-occurrence of one or more chronic conditions/disorders in the same category at the same time or is some causal sequence.

What can help? 

Exercise! Aerobically exercising at a relatively low intensity or engaging in moderate intensity dynamic resistance training has been scientifically proven to reduce BP levels for the betterment of individuals. You should be very cautious and considerate to maintain normal breathing rhythms during exercise, meaning, no breath holding. Also, heavy weight lifting of an intensive, isometric [holding] nature has a pronounced pressor effect [BP raising] and should be avoided.

What can help us identify changes within the heart and cause suspicion of development of chronic conditions? 

Obviously your SBP, DBP and PP comparison, but think more signs and symptoms. Signs are factors that are measured by your qualified allied health professional and symptoms are what you, yourself or the patient is feeling. Being a little more aware of your physical self, your response to exercise and knowing the values of your pre-exercise, during exercise and post-exercise measurements will go a long way for your health. If you’re unsure, make a conscious effort to see an allied health professional [*cough* exercise physiologist *cough*] to guide you and better your quality of life! Your health is worth everything.

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