Blood pressure is the pressure with which your blood acts against arteries walls. There are two types of blood pressure. First one is systolic blood pressure – this is the pressure when the heart pushes blood through the your blood vessels in direction of your limbs and organs. Systolic blood pressure normally ranges from 110 to 140 mmHg, although a value of 140 mmHg can represent hypertension of stage 1.
Then there is diastolic blood pressure – the pressure when the heart rests and the blood flows back from limbs and organs into your organ. Diastolic blood pressure usually ranges between 60 to 90 mmHg.
Hormones that regulate blood pressure
There are some hormones which affect the blood pressure. These hormones are as following. The first hormone is epinephrine which promotes smooth muscle contraction, increased heart rate and increases the strength of the heart muscle. Epinephrine is secreted by the adrenal. Next hormone which regulates blood pressure is noradrenaline which accelerates the contraction of smooth muscle and is also secreted by the adrenal. Antidiuretic hormone or ADH speeds up water reabsorption in the kidneys and prevents a possible further drop in blood pressure. It is secreted by the neurohypophysis. Aldosterone hormone regulates sodium excretion through the kidneys and is secreted by the adrenal cortex system.
The last hormone to regulate blood pressure is atrial natriuretic peptide or in short the ANP. Main task of ANP is reducing blood pressure by increasing the excretion of sodium and water by the kidneys.
In addition to these mechanisms the nervous system also plays an important role with regulation of blood pressure. Parasympathetic nervous system lowers the frequency and intensity of heart beats. Sympathetic nervous system acts just the opposite – it increases the frequency and intensity of heart beats. Depending on the information provided by cardiac center in the brain received by receptors in the aortic arch that detect the level of blood pressure, sympathetic nervous system or parasympathetic nervous system comes into to play.
Measuring blood pressure
Blood pressure is measured with a simple blood pressure monitor where the cuff is placed of the left arm in order to measure the current level of blood pressure. It is advised to perform at least 3 consequent measurements in order to get a relevant result. When result is known it is a good idea to consult an accurate blood pressure chart to find whether measured blood pressure is considered high, low or normal. Blood pressure chart can be obtained easily on the web, but it usually comes in the package with blood pressure meter. Remember, always perform more than 1 measurement to get relevant results. Also, during the checks make sure you take a 5 minute break to allow your veins to relax again. If measurements are performed without a break, results will not be relevant and the measured values will be either too high or too low. Also, keep track of your measurements and write them all down into your blood pressure log.