Cardiovascular Disease: Your Blood Pressure and Your Health

Taking care of your cardiovascular health.

One way to tell if your heart and your heart vessels are working well is to take your blood pressure. Monitoring it throughout your life is important.Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of the blood vessels. There are 2 factors: The force of the heartbeat and the condition of the vessels.

In normal heart vessels, they are elastic and able to expand easily. If your vessels lose their elasticity because of disease such as  arteriosclerosis- they  begin to stiffen and narrow.

The heart must also pump harder if vessels are partially blocked by deposits of fat from arteriosclerosis. If you have this condition, you may have high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is also called hypertension.

When a doctor diagnosis hypertension they use a sphygmomanometer that measures your systolic ( the peak of pressure exerted against the arteries when the heart contracts) and the diastolic ( the minimal pressure when the heart is at rest between contractions.)

The normal blood pressure for an adult is 120/80.

High blood pressure is not diagnosed with just one high reading. A diagnosis is made after 2 readings greater than 140/90 on two separate occasions.

Low blood pressure

Unlike high blood pressure, low blood pressure does not  indicate illness like high blood pressure. Hypotension is a systolic blood pressure reading of less than 90mm/hg. There are some people who normally have low blood pressure.

You pulse rate is another indicator of how well your heart is working.

A normal pulse rate is strong and full. The average adult has a pulse of 60-100 bpm.

Here are some signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disorders

Dyspnea: labored or difficulty breathing

Angina Pectoris: chest pain. It can be caused by a lack of blood in the heart muscles, inflammation of the heart or by anxiety.

Edema:  an abnormal accumulation of fluids in the interstitial tissue which occurs in cardiovascular disorders

Dysrhythmias: also known as arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats or palpitations

Hemoptysis: Coughing up blood may indicate serious cardiovascular disease

Taken in part from: Gauwitz, D. (2011) Administering Medications.  Minneapolis, Minn. Mc-Graw-Hill