Blood pressure (BP) is the pressure exerted by blood against the walls of your blood vessels. The pressure comes from the forceful action of your heart as it pumps blood through your blood vessel network.
Blood pressure variations occur very often and quickly. It varies throughout the day; you may have normal BP one moment, and have it shoot up the next. Also, you may experience a roller-coaster rise and fall in BP without knowing it, without having any adverse effect.
But what is normal BP? How does it differ from an average BP? And, when is high BP dangerous?
First, a person’s BP is very personal. What is considered normal varies from one person to another; there is no normal BP applicable to everyone. This is because there are many factors that affect or determine one’s BP, such as age, as state of health, as height, as weight, as hydration status/level, as time of day, as time of year, as physical activity, as stress level and type, etc – and combinations of these factors. It is for this reason for the argument that there is no such thing as a normal BP applicable to everybody.
Those that, generally, have a higher BP are people who are: younger, diseased, taller, heavier, not well-hydrated or constipated, 9:00-11:00 AM, summer and winter, stressed or excited, and sedentary. Why?
Younger people are, usually, more active; diseased people need a higher BP to address the disease and return to health equilibrium; taller people needs the heart to pump the blood higher (to reach the brain, against gravity). Heaver people have “more body to service”; less hydrated people will have thicker and more sluggish blood and one of the causes of constipation is not enough water; stressed and excited people, usually, have a more active-pumping heart.
People have, primarily, two states of operational activity (and, consequently, operating body temperature). Since we are diurnal, we are more active during the day. To ensure that we will be able to operate at an effective level during the day, the body must be revved up. Since noon is supposed to be the peak time of activity level, the body prepares by increasing the BP, and this usually transpires from 9-11 AM. This is why most heart attacks occur during this time of day. As we prepare for night (and, eventually, sleep and rest), the body, instinctively, tones down by lowering the BP.
Summer and winter are stressful times of the year because of the summer heat and the winter cold. The body has to work extra during the summer to cool the body (perspiration) and during the winter to warm the body. Being warm-blooded, we need to maintain a fairly constant core body temperature. If the body gets too warm, the body perspires to bring the temperature down – which is why our skin feels cold and damp. Like a radiator, through the blood, the core temperature is brought near the skin under-surface to speed up the evaporation of water. In winter, the blood is warmed at the core and circulated all over the body to keep the rest of the body warm – aside from the fact that it is the flu season.
So, what is normal BP? Normal BP is the average of all average readings in a month. What is average BP? The proper way of taking a BP reading is to take 3 consecutive readings at one sitting (about 5 minutes apart); then get the average. Do this at three different times of the day – one should be from 9-11 AM. Repeat this everyday for a month. The average of all those readings is your average BP. Finally, do this sometime within each season of the year. This is your normal BP. This normal may vary now and then (and increase over the years) but you should not stray too far from it – give it a margin of plus/minus 5.
Also, should your BP rise above or sink below plus/minus 5, it should not be a cause for alarm – especially if it happens rarely and far apart. Anyway, your body will tell you when you should worry; be or learn to be in tune with your body. It usually gives you warning signs. It is best that you acquaint yourself with these warnings and heed them, but don’t go overboard. Don’t reach for any medication just yet; look for the cause and address it. Conventional medication only mask the symptoms and seldom address the root cause.
In conclusion, the composition of your blood may also affect your BP. And, as a trivia, do you know that chlorophyll, your blood, and sea water are similar in the sense that the nutrient composition is almost identical except for one small detail. For chlorophyll, the center molecule is magnesium. Replace that magnesium with sodium and you have sea water. Taking that sodium and substituting it with iron and you have blood.
In my next post, let us talk about diet and your digestive system.