High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Table of Contents
- What is high blood pressure?
- What causes high blood pressure?
- How is blood pressure measured?
- What do blood pressure readings mean (Blood Pressure Readings Chart)?
- What are the signs and symptoms of high blood pressure?
- How is high blood pressure diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for high blood pressure?
- What are the potential risks and complications of untreated high blood pressure?
- What dietary strategies can help lower high blood pressure?
- How does exercise help lower high blood pressure?
- Is complementary and alternative medicine effective for treating high blood pressure?
How is blood pressure measured?
Blood pressure is measured by a blood pressure cuff (sphygmomanometer). The blood pressure cuff consists of an air pump, a pressure gauge, and a rubber cuff. The instrument measures the blood pressure in units called millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).
The cuff is placed around the upper arm and inflated with an air pump to a pressure that blocks the flow of blood in the main artery that travels through the arm. The arm is held at the side of the body at the level of the heart, and the pressure of the cuff is gradually released. As the pressure decreases, a health practitioner listens with a stethoscope over the artery at the front of the elbow or an electronic machine senses the pulsation. The pressure at which the practitioner (or machine) first hears a pulsation from the artery is the systolic pressure (the top number). As the cuff pressure decreases further, the pressure at which the pulsation finally stops is the diastolic pressure (the bottom number). Continue Reading