What Is High Blood Pressure?

What is High Blood Pressure-- was your search query so you must want an explanation. We don't say Normal and Abnormal much anymore because those words don't take into account a certain amount of imprecision and inaccuracy. To whit:

Normal: Normal, in statistics, is what you find. What we find, in blood pressure, is not what we want to have.

Abnormal: Abnormal, in statistics, is way out on the bell curve in either direction from the average, both high and low end. So this isn't very helpful, either, because what is found, which is the average, is too high.

Believe it or not, blood pressure has only been measured to any real extent since the early 1900's. A Dr. Cushing who encountered it on a trip to Italy and brought it back with him introduced the apparatus to this country. Nobody really knew the significance of blood pressure at that time. But now after hundreds of thousands of blood pressures measured scientifically and studied scientifically over the past 100 years we have a good idea of that significance, which is:

High Blood Pressure Complications:

As a person's average blood pressure rises above a certain baseline there begins to be an increased incidence of complications of high blood pressure. These complications are:

  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • Vision Impairment
  • Kidney Failure
  • Heart Failure

The Meaning Of Blood Pressure Numbers:

This desirable baseline has been found to be 115 over 75 for adults.

As one studies blood pressures that are higher than that one sees an increasing incidence of the above listed complications. And, yes, it is proportional to the amount of increase.

In the range of 115 over 75 to 139 over 89 the amount of increased adverse events is great enough to warrant lifestyle changes but probably is not great enough to warrant the use of medication. (I'm not so sure of this last recommendation.) (See Doctor's Practical Guide below.)

When you hit 140 over 90 it is quite justifiable to start medication as the benefit of this treatment outweighs the risks of the medication. And so we learn what is high blood pressure.

What Is High Blood Pressure?

Those blood pressures that are above the desirable baseline that are associated with an increased incidence of complications. The higher the blood pressure the higher the increased incidence.

Doctor's Practical Guide:

High blood pressure begets higher blood pressure or:
A mild elevation causes changes that cause more elevation that cause more changes that cause more elevation. And so on.

You are started spiraling down that path towards the above complications. Untreated blood pressure causes changes in the blood vessels that cause the blood pressure to rise more which in turn causes more changes which in turn causes more elevation.

I personally believe that high blood pressure is something that can and should be "nipped in the bud". When you consider the fact that high blood pressure is something that can be prevented, then why not?

It has been shown that when you lower a mild elevation with lifestyle modifications or even medication the lowering persists for years, even after the measures are stopped.

When you put together these two points:

  • Small elevations lead to greater elevations.
  • High blood pressure can be prevented.

Then I think that small elevations should not be ignored but rather treated as something undesirable with the goal of preventing further elevations. Hey, we just stumbled upon the latest concept in what is high blood pressure: Desirable and Undesirable rather than Normal or Abnormal, or High and Low, etc.

From now on think of What Is High Blood Pressure in terms of desirable and undesirable levels.

Don't forget: Always work in conjunction with your doctor. Don't try to "do it yourself." But on the other hand do learn how to take your own blood pressure since it is the only way to get the reliable and numerous readings you need. See this page for How and more importantly Why: How To Take Blood Pressure


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