High Blood Pressure and Low Blood Pressure: Risk Level and Treatment

According to the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK, over 30% of the adult population in the country is experiencing blood pressure issues. Both high blood pressure and low blood pressure pose significant and unpredictable risks to health. Therefore, early detection of risk symptoms and timely intervention to prevent complications is crucial.

Definition of high blood pressure and low blood pressure

Blood pressure is understood as the force exerted by blood on the arterial walls during its transportation from the heart to various organs in the body. Blood pressure is influenced by two factors: the force of the heart’s contraction and the resistance of the arteries. It usually fluctuates between maximum and minimum levels, gradually decreasing as blood is transported away from the heart through the arteries.

Blood pressure is measured using two indices: systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP).

  • Systolic Blood Pressure (SBP) – The upper index of blood pressure, measured in mmHg.
  • Diastolic Blood Pressure (DBP) – The lower index of blood pressure, measured in mmHg.

To determine whether a person falls into the high or low blood pressure category, the following index levels are considered:

  • Normal Blood Pressure: SBP below 120mmHg and DBP below 80mmHg.
  • High Blood Pressure: SBP above 140mmHg and DBP above 90mmHg are diagnosed as high blood pressure.
  • Prehypertension: SBP between 120-139mmHg or DBP between 80-89mmHg.
  • Low Blood Pressure: SBP below 90mmHg or a drop of 25mmHg from normal levels.

Blood pressure levels can often increase during vigorous exercise, periods of stress, anxiety, or excitement. Blood pressure can decrease due to fatigue, excessive sweating, diarrhea, or the use of vasodilator medications. Therefore, to conclude whether it is high or low blood pressure, monitoring blood pressure levels over several days and at different times is necessary. Blood pressure should be measured regularly and multiple times a day, after 5 minutes of rest while lying down, and at least 1 minute in a standing position.

Blood volume also significantly influences blood pressure status.

Blood volume also significantly influences blood pressure status.

Factors Influencing High and Low Blood Pressure

Both high blood pressure and low blood pressure are influenced by factors within and outside the body, including:

Factors within the body:

  • Cardiac output: The rate at which the heart beats directly affects blood pressure. A faster heartbeat creates more forceful blood flow to the arteries, leading to higher blood pressure, and vice versa.
  • Arterial resistance: When the arteries are flexible and dilated, blood can flow easily, resulting in stable blood pressure. However, if the arteries are less elastic or hardened due to atherosclerosis, blood circulation becomes more difficult. Therefore, higher arterial resistance can contribute to high blood pressure.
  • Blood volume: When the blood volume in the body is low and insufficient to exert enough pressure on the arterial walls, it can lead to low blood pressure. For instance, significant blood loss can result in inadequate blood volume, causing decreased blood pressure.
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The relationship between cardiac output, arterial resistance, and blood volume is closely intertwined. When one of these factors experiences disruption, it immediately affects the other two, leading to high or low blood pressure.

Factors outside the body:

  • Sitting posture: Both sitting and standing positions can influence an individual’s average blood pressure. Incorrect sitting posture can impede blood circulation, causing blood pressure to remain unstable.
  • Dietary habits: Regular consumption of high-sodium foods, a high-fat diet, alcohol, tobacco, stimulants, and other factors can contribute to arterial stiffness and various blood pressure issues.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle: Poor sleep patterns, stress, fatigue, lack of physical activity, and other imbalanced lifestyle factors can lead to unstable blood pressure and overall health issues.

Additionally, external factors such as weather conditions and environmental temperatures can sometimes impact blood pressure. These external factors can be troublesome for health and contribute to fluctuations in blood pressure, especially during extreme weather conditions like hot weather.

High blood pressure causes chest pain and palpitations.

High blood pressure causes chest pain and palpitations.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure and Low Blood Pressure

While high blood pressure and low blood pressure are distinct health conditions, their symptoms are quite similar. Typical symptoms include: blurred vision, dizziness, headaches, facial pallor, and facial flushing. As a result, many patients often confuse high blood pressure with low blood pressure.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure often progresses silently without clear symptoms. In mild cases, patients may experience transient symptoms such as dizziness, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, headaches, or disrupted sleep. However, some patients may face more severe indications, including:

  • Chest pain.
  • Shortness of breath, palpitations.
  • Decreased visual acuity.
  • Flushed face.
  • Nausea. Anxiety, panic.

Symptoms of Low Blood Pressure

Sudden changes in posture often lead to dizziness in patients with low blood pressure. Additionally, low blood pressure can cause headaches, especially when under stress. The most severe cases may exhibit symptoms such as blurred vision, hearing loss, fainting, increased heart rate, decreased concentration, and general fatigue, which are commonly observed in patients with low blood pressure.

Which is more dangerous, high blood pressure or low blood pressure?

Doctors state that both high blood pressure and low blood pressure can cause certain damages to the body. Failure to detect and intervene in a timely manner can lead to risks such as stroke, acute coronary syndrome, heart failure, and more.

For high blood pressure:

High blood pressure tends to increase with age and is becoming increasingly common. It is a leading cause of death and is associated with severe neurological complications such as paralysis, stroke, coma, heart failure, anemia, chronic kidney disease, and eye complications, posing a risk of mortality.

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Specifically, when not detected early and promptly managed, high blood pressure can lead to a range of health issues, including:

  • Acute complications: Cerebrovascular accidents (strokes), myocardial infarctions (heart attacks), aortic dissections, acute pulmonary edema, acute kidney failure, etc. There have been cases of patients experiencing strokes due to high blood pressure, but inadequate first aid and timely intervention have endangered their lives.
  • Long-term complications: Occurring in patients with undetected and inadequately treated high blood pressure. Potential risks include enlarged heart, heart failure, angina due to local myocardial ischemia, autonomic dysfunction, eye problems, chronic kidney disease, etc.
High blood pressure carries hidden risks of serious complications.

High blood pressure carries hidden risks of serious complications.

For low blood pressure:

When comparing high blood pressure and low blood pressure, low blood pressure does not immediately cause complications such as strokes or coronary artery occlusion, so many patients tend to underestimate this condition. However, low blood pressure can harbor serious health risks comparable to high blood pressure if not promptly detected and treated.

Recurring episodes of low blood pressure can lead to diminished nerve function, impairing the body’s ability to regulate the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the brain, heart, and kidneys, gradually causing damage to these vital organs. Without intervention, low blood pressure can cause angina, myocardial ischemia, kidney failure, and pose a threat to the patient’s life.

There have been cases where low blood pressure resulted in cerebrovascular accidents, with cerebral infarction accounting for 30% of the cases. Additionally, sudden drops in blood pressure can also lead to shock and endanger the lives of individuals driving or working at heights. Prolonged untreated low blood pressure can quickly weaken the kidneys, liver, heart, and lungs, threatening overall health.

The condition can cause a lot of trouble without appropriate intervention.

The condition can cause a lot of trouble without appropriate intervention.

Proactive Prevention and Control of Blood Pressure

Taking proactive measures to prevent and appropriately manage blood pressure issues can help individuals improve their health and maintain longevity. Depending on whether it is low blood pressure or high blood pressure, individuals can consider the following measures:

For High Blood Pressure:

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is crucial in preventing and effectively controlling the risks associated with high blood pressure.

Healthy Eating:

A well-balanced and nutritious diet not only promotes overall health and longevity but also effectively prevents and controls high blood pressure. Patients should:

  • Increase intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein from fish.
  • Limit the consumption of high-sodium foods, aiming for a maximum of 2,300mg per day.
  • Control sodium intake by cooking meals at home and reducing fast food and processed food consumption.
  • Avoid refined sugar and opt for a controlled sugar diet.
A scientific and healthy diet helps effectively prevent diseases.

A scientific and healthy diet helps effectively prevent diseases.

Engage in Physical Activity: Regular participation in physical exercise helps naturally lower blood pressure while improving cardiovascular health. Ideally, individuals should aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day, at least 5 times a week.

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Weight Control: If overweight or obese and suffering from high blood pressure, immediate weight management is essential. Excess weight exacerbates high blood pressure and increases the risk of complications.

Quit Smoking and Alcohol: Alcohol, tobacco, and stimulants such as coffee can damage tissues and cause arterial stiffness. Eliminating these factors helps effectively control and prevent symptoms associated with high blood pressure.

Stress Management: Rest and mental relaxation techniques are effective in relieving stress. Additionally, individuals with high blood pressure can explore practices such as meditation, yoga, etc., to relax the body and maintain optimal well-being.

Monitor Blood Pressure and Regular Check-ups: To timely intervene and prevent complications arising from high blood pressure, individuals should actively monitor their blood pressure at home. Regular health check-ups should be scheduled at least every 6 months or whenever abnormalities are noticed in the body.

Low Blood Pressure

If low blood pressure only causes mild symptoms, patients do not require treatment, and the best approach is to adjust their lifestyle and diet. If low blood pressure is caused by medications, patients should completely stop using them and seek medical advice.

Depending on the health condition and severity of the disease, individuals can consider the following preventive and control measures for low blood pressure:

  • Increase salt intake: Sodium in salt helps raise blood pressure, so supplementation is necessary. However, excessive consumption should be avoided as excess sodium can lead to heart failure, kidney failure, and other health issues.
  • Stay hydrated: Water accounts for over 70% of the body and is essential for all bodily functions. Individuals with low blood pressure should drink plenty of water to maintain a balanced health state. Use compression stockings: This tool helps reduce pain and significantly improve venous dilation in the legs, effectively reducing blood pooling.
  • Eat a healthy diet: Increase protein intake and consume foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin B, etc. Avoid alcohol as it dehydrates the body and lowers blood pressure.
  • Change positions slowly: Gentle movements when transitioning from lying to sitting or standing can alleviate symptoms of low blood pressure.
  • Regular exercise: Engage in moderate-intensity sports suitable for one’s age to enhance blood circulation and effectively improve low blood pressure.
  • Monitor blood pressure and undergo regular health check-ups: Patients should actively monitor their blood pressure at home and schedule health check-ups every 6 months to assess their health status.

Both high blood pressure and low blood pressure are health issues that require attention, and neglecting them can lead to regrettable consequences. Therefore, if you notice any unusual symptoms, it is important to seek medical advice and visit a hospital for examination in a timely manner.

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