Contributed by: Nancy Dixit

Introduction

High blood pressure (Hypertension) & Low blood pressure (Hypotension)”

People confuse hypertension and hypotension simply because they sound similar. But, hypotension is low blood pressure and hypertension is high blood pressure.

Do you know hypertension is more common than hypotension?

Through this article, we bring to you some unique insights into an overview of the difference between low and high blood pressure so that you can find a suitable treatment for yourself.

Let’s begin with what is blood pressure?

When the heart pumps blood through your arteries to other parts of your body, it pushes against the walls of your arteries.

This pressure is called as blood pressure. 

It is measured using two numbers: 

  • Systolic blood pressure (Top number)-

It measures how much pressure blood exerts against artery walls when your heart contracts, sending blood to the rest of the body.

  • Diastolic blood pressure (Bottom number)-

It measures how much pressure is in your arteries when your heart is at rest in between beats, filling with blood. 

What is a healthy blood pressure reading?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), normal blood pressure level for adults is less than 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, which would be written as 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mmHG) or said as 120 over 80. 

What is hypertension?

According to the health guidelines, if the blood pressure falls in one of the below categories then the condition is called Hypertension:

  • Stage 1 Hypertension

Systolic: between 130-139 or Diastolic: between 80-89

  • Stage 2 Hypertension

Systolic: 140 or higher and Diastolic: 90 or higher

In hypertension, it forces your heart to work harder to pump blood.

Do you know hypertension increases the chances of developing other chronic conditions like high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure etc?

Causes of Hypertension:

Still today, doctors are unable to tell the exact cause of high blood pressure. However, there are certain factors that can raise this condition such as:

  • Obesity
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Increased salt intake
  • Smoking
  • Not enough physical activity 
  • Diabetes
  • Tobacco use
  • Genetics or family history
  • Stress
  • Ageing

Note: Hypertension and hypotension tend to run in families. Individuals whose parents have either of these conditions have an elevated risk of developing the same condition, particularly if both parents are affected. 

In order to determine how vulnerable you might be towards acquiring a hereditary blood pressure disorder, genetic testing or DNA testing is your best option. 

Genetic testing is a cutting-edge predictive health tool to ascertain your predisposition towards any kind of medical condition.

What is Hypotension?

Hypotension is a condition where blood pressure values fall below 90 and 60 dualistic values or said as below 90/60 mmHG.

Causes of Hypotension:

Although low blood pressure is also a normal scenario and the factors that can raise low BP may include:

Symptoms of Hypertension and hypotension, at a glance:

                  Hypertension              Hypotension
Severe headachesFainting  
Fatigue or confusionDizziness  
Vision problemsLightheadedness 
Chest painBlurred vision  
Difficulty breathingConfusion
Irregular heartbeatNausea or vomiting
Blood in the urineLack of concentration
Pounding in your chest, neck, or earsWeakness, fatigue

Note: Hypertension does not cause symptoms at early stages, but hypotension immediately shows symptoms.

Treatment For Blood Pressures:

Depending upon the medical condition and severity of the condition, the doctor might prescribe you appropriate medications. But along with regular use of prescription medications, you also need to change your lifestyle and improve your diet.

For high blood pressure:

  • Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Reduce salt (sodium) in your diet
  • Limit alcohol
  • Quit smoking
  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Reduce stress
  • Monitor your blood pressure at home and get regular checkups

For low blood pressure:

  • Eat more salt
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages
  • Discuss medications with a doctor (because low blood pressure can be a side effect of a variety of medications)
  • Cross legs while sitting
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat small meals frequently
  • Wear compression stockings
  • Avoid sudden position changes
  • Be aware of symptoms

How to check your blood pressure?

You don’t always have to go to your doctor’s office to have your blood pressure checked; you can monitor your own blood pressure at home. This is especially important if your doctor recommends that you monitor your blood pressure on a regular basis.

You can keep a digital blood pressure machine at home which can easily get at any pharmacy.

Tips for accurate readings:

  • Don’t eat or drink 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure.
  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine for at least 30 minutes prior to checking your blood pressure.
  • Make sure your bladder is empty before the reading.
  • Sit with your back supported, your feet flat on the floor, and your legs uncrossed.
  • Rest your arm at chest height.
  • Put the inflatable cuff on bare skin (not over clothing) and make sure it’s snug.
  • Don’t talk while you’re getting your blood pressure checked.

Final thoughts

Unlike high blood pressure, which is associated with many potential health problems, low blood pressure is often considered a marker of good health.

There is a fact— ‘Detect – Protect – Correct’

First of all, you must be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with high and low blood pressure. Early detection and corrective measures can prevent the symptoms of blood pressure from worsening.

In this article, we have helped you understand the basic difference between high blood pressure and low blood pressure. 

If you have blood pressure, you may wonder if medication is necessary to bring the numbers down. But lifestyle plays a vital role in treating high blood pressure. Controlling blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle might prevent, delay or reduce the need for medication.

If you experience any symptoms of any blood pressure issues, you must immediately reach out to the doctor to treat blood pressure issues.

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