understanding blood pressure readings

How to Understand Blood Pressure Readings?

It is important for everyone to have a healthy blood pressure which is measured by analyzing the amount of pressure in the arteries all through the contraction of heart muscle and during the time between two heartbeats. The former is referred as systolic pressure and latter is referred as diastolic pressure. It is expressed as 120/80 which is considered normal. It is important to know the nuances of blood pressure readings.

Normal Blood Pressure Readings

Blood Pressure Readings

Regular or normal blood pressure is deemed as 90-120 for systolic pressure and 60-80 for diastolic pressure. The unit used to measure your blood pressure is millimeters of mercury, abbreviated as mm Hg. So, regular blood pressure is above 90/60 mm Hg and below 120/80 mm Hg. Anything above and below these figures is not considered to be healthy, from clinical perspective. Blood pressure readings is measured using specialized devices.

What is Low Blood Pressure (lbp)

Low blood pressure or hypotension is a condition when the diastolic pressure in your heart falls below normal range. If the reading falls below 90/60 mm Hg- it is indicative of hypotension. This may turn out to be risky as low blood pressure will lead to your body organs not getting enough oxygenated blood.

What Causes Low Blood Pressure?

The major causes of hypotension are:

  • Dehydration
  • anaphylaxis
  • Loss of blood
  • heart related problems
  • pregnancy
  • severe infections like septicemia
  • malnutrition
  • endocrine gland problems
  • specific types of medications

Home Remedies for Low Blood Pressure

While you can seek clinical advice and medication to cope with low blood pressure, using natural and home remedies can also be of help. These are:

  • Eating Small Portions Periodically- Between major meals of the day, do not stay hungry. Munch on healthy snacks and foods. This will help in thwarting major fall in blood pressure readings.
  • Drinking Adequate Fluids- It is important that you do not become dehydrated as that can lead to hypotension. Drinking 2 liters of water day is a must for this. Apart from water, you may have fruit juice. Pomegranate juice is advisable for coping with hypotension.
  • Raisins- You may eat a handful of raisins everyday to cope with low blood pressure. Drinking water in which the raisins are soaked overnight can also be of help.
  • Almond and Milk- To improve hypotension related conditions, you may intake almonds soaked in milk. Mixing almond paste in milk and drinking it may also help.
  • Beetroot Juice- Drinking a glass of beetroot juice daily will aid you in battling low blood pressure. You may add a little honey with the juice to enhance the taste.
    Home remedies for low blood pressure - Beetroot juice

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

The exact root of high blood pressure is not clear but major causes may include:

  • Stress
  • Older age
  • Obesity
  • Lack of physical activity
  • excess salt in the diet
  • Genetic roots
  • Chronic kidney ailments
  • Smoking
  • thyroid gland disorders
  • Excess alcohol consumption

In some patients with high blood pressure the underlying cause just cannot be determined. This is called essential hypertension. It may run in families and ethnicity wise the blacks tend to be at higher risk than others.

Natural Remedies for High Blood Pressure

Just like hypotension, you can tackle hypertension by taking specific medications. However, millions of hypertension victims have found relief by using certain natural remedies, tried and tested by generations. These include:

  • Garlic- This herb, used widely in kitchens in most households- is reported to have benefits for patients of high blood pressure. This is useful in bringing down systolic blood pressure. You may find the aroma too strong but the benefits are worth it. You may also intake garlic tablets daily and get the benefits.                                                                                                              
    Natural remedies for high blood pressure - Garlic
  • Hibiscus- Hibiscus extra and tea can be useful in reducing hypertension, as studies have found. Drinking this tea can lower both diastolic and systolic blood pressure readings.
  • Green tea- Drinking green tea instead of coffee and caffeine laced drinks can be helpful if you have hypertension. The catechins in green tea can help lower blood pressure readings.
  • Eating less Salt- The most effective way to bring down high blood pressure is reducing the amount of salt used in cooking foods in your meals. However, in taking too little salt can have impact on cardiac health so you have to find a balance.
  • Cinnamon- This aromatic herb is ideal when you want to battle hypertension. You can mix it with numerous foods. Cinnamon is helpful for battling hypertension along with diabetes.
    Natural Remedies for High Blood Pressure - cinnamon
  • Ginger- another common herb used in the kitchens can help lower hypertension. Its intake can regular blood circulation and soothes blood vessels in body. Ginger can be used in various forms in foods and it can also be mixed with beverages like tea.
  • Weight loss Measures- Obese people tend to develop elevated blood pressure readings are compared to those with thinner abs. So, losing excess flab is an effective way to combat hypertension. You need to find ways to lose weight effectively and exercise and resorting to a suitable diet can work.
  • Fish Oil- The omega 3 fatty acids, found in fish oil can help reduce hypertension. It is also good for heart health, indicate the studies. You can eat fish like mackerel, salmon and tuna for this. Fish oil capsules are also available.                                                                                                              
    Natural Remedies for High Blood Pressure - fish oil

Things to Keep in Mind

While resorting to tried and tested natural measures to tackle hypertension and hypotension may bring results, you should choose such measures with caution. You have to analyze a few things while adopting such measures:

  • You need to check if you are actually allergic to some of these herbs and foods before using them.
  • It is also important to see if the herbs and natural extracts can interact with any existing medication you use. This can lead to side effects.
  • You also need to use the herbs and foods to tackle blood pressure anomalies in right amount. Using in excess amounts or in taking these too frequently can lead to adverse effects on body.
Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Bharti Talreja (MBBS, DPM, FAGE, MIPS)She is a Psychiatrist practising in Indore, India.