Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Veins, on the other hand, carry the de-oxygenated blood from the rest of the body to the heart. The arteries themselves when healthy are smooth and flexible; this insures blood flow is unobstructed. This flow puts pressure on the elastic arterial wall. The measurement of this force is what is known as blood pressure.
The pressure is not recorded as a single number, but as two, double figure digits. The higher number is known as the systolic pressure. This records the pressure in milimeters of Mercury when the heart beats and sends blood forcibly to the arterial wall. The lower number is known as the diastolic pressure. This is the pressure exerted in the space between the heartbeats. This is the resting phase and thus registers the relaxing pressure. A normal blood pressure would be 120/80. Higher readings such as 135/86 indicate a warning that something might not be quite right and deserves further attention. A single reading is seldom to be trusted as blood pressure can fluctuate. For a more accurate picture, readings need to be taken over a few days to show a more precise trend. If the blood pressure is drifting off to the high side, then remedial steps need to be taken.
High blood pressure can damage the arterial and venous system and this puts the individual at increased risk of stroke, kidney failure, and heart disease and can sometimes predict a heart attack. The alarming fact is that high blood pressure is rarely discernible, and that's why it is referred to as 'the silent killer.' As a safety precaution it is necessary to have the numbers verified on a regular basis You can do this by going for check-ups with your Doctor or health care professional and to make matters even easier many pharmacies now offer blood pressure testing as an over the counter service. If you find that your blood pressure is on the high side, say 150/90 then you need to make some positive changes and you need to make them quickly!
If you are a smoker, stop a.s.a.p. Chemicals in tobacco, and there are over 600 of them can raise blood pressure. When you inhale cigarette smoke you adrenal glands get a huge kick. This shifts you into 'flight or fight mode'. In sympathetic dominance your blood pressure automatically rises. Another factor is being overweight, as this has a tendency to increase blood pressure. If you are carrying a few extra kilos introduce a healthy eating program and start an exercise regime. Begin easily, and if you are very heavy seek advice so you don't overdo things! In any case a regular brisk walk is probably good for everybody.
Another sign is 'ormentum fat', namely a spreading waistline which often becomes an unsightly beer belly. If weight piles on easily and becomes difficult to shift there is an indication you might well have a blood sugar issue. This condition is known as metabolic syndrome and warns you that insulin is beginning to lose the ability to enter cells and scoop up glucose. Alcohol is a sugar and can often lie at the root of this condition. If you find yourself experiencing some of these symptoms coupled with irritability and mood swings, go and have you blood sugar levels checked. A fall off in the production of insulin will see blood sugar levels rising and with them an increase in blood pressure. Don't despair all of this can be addressed by altering the diet and introducing a regular exercise e regime. Oh, and it might be a good idea to reduce alcohol consumption!
Another blood pressure increaser is stress. Again the story goes back to the 'flight and fight syndrome', If we are either angry or afraid there is an adrenal response that puts our bodies in a perceived better state to deal with the increased stress, just like smoking this will result in increased blood pressure. If you find yourself getting increasingly wound up by the vagaries of life, then that is a good indication you are negatively stressed. It also warns you that the time has come to do something about the problem. There are many people qualified to help you discover techniques to bring the stress levels down. Yoga, meditation, bio-feedback, are some answers, but so are a host of therapies designed to root out the cause and bring you back on an even keel.