Blood Pressure: Finding the Perfect Balance

Blood pressure is an important measurement that can help individuals determine their level of heart health. Although the definition of healthy blood pressure has changed over time, the current recommendation of 120/80 mm Hg or less is based upon the latest medical research. While many people have heard how dangerous it can be to have high blood pressure, many do not know that it can be equally dangerous to have low blood pressure.

Causes of High Blood Pressure

The causes of high blood pressure can be separated between those that an individual can control and those over which he or she has no control. For example, age, gender and genetics all play a key role in heart health. Those who are older, male and African American all have increased risk of high blood pressure or hypertension. Other risks include obesity, smoking, lack of regular exercise and high cholesterol.

Dangers of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can cause an array of health problems, including kidney damage, stroke, memory loss and vision loss. Heart health is also greatly affected with hypertension leading to chest pain, clogged arteries and congestive heart failure. The risk of hypertension may not be quickly seen because there may be no overt symptoms.

Causes of Low Blood Pressure

Low blood pressure, or hypotension, can also be problematic and may be caused by dehydration, low levels of vitamin B and blood loss. Hypotension can also occur in early pregnancy or with long periods of bed rest. Those who have severe allergic reactions or extremely dangerous infections requiring hospital stays may also experience low blood pressure, with upper readings less than 90.

Dangers of Low Blood Pressure

Some people may have chronic hypotension and not experience any symptoms. However, some people with low blood pressure experience dizziness and fainting, blurry vision, fatigue and difficulty concentrating. Some may even feel nauseated or vomit, and others may have trouble taking deep breaths.

Finding the Perfect Balance

The key to disease prevention and great blood pressure is getting blood pressure regularly checked and taking any medication that has been prescribed for it. Because high blood pressure is often asymptomatic, individuals sometimes will not know that they have a problem unless they have regular blood pressure readings. A physician will also be able to make recommendations about any lifestyle changes that an individual can make to affect his blood pressure reading positively.