Blood Pressure, pressure of circulating blood against the walls of the arteries. Blood pressure is an important diagnostic index, especially of circulatory function. Because the heart can pump into the large arteries a greater volume of blood than can be absorbed by the tiny arterioles and capillaries, the resulting backpressure is exerted against the arteries. Any condition that dilates or contracts the blood vessels or affects their elasticity, or any disease of the heart that interferes with its pumping power, affects the blood pressure. Controlled by both cerebrospinal and sympathetic nerve centers, the complex nervous mechanisms that balance and coordinate the activity of the heart and arterial muscles permit great local variation in the rate of blood flow without disturbing the general blood pressure.
Blood pressure is read at two points: the high point at which the heart contracts to empty its blood into the circulation, called systole; and the low point at which the heart relaxes to fill with blood returned by the circulation, called diastole. Pressure is measured in millimeters (mm) of mercury by an instrument called a sphygmomanometer. As the cuff expands, it gradually compresses the artery. The point at which the cuff stops the circulation and at which no pulsations can be heard is read as the systolic pressure, which is more commonly read, however, as the cuff is slowly deflated, at the point when the circulation is restored. A spurting sound can then be heard as the heart contraction forces blood through the artery. The cuff is then allowed gradually to deflate further until the blood is flowing smoothly again. A reading at this point shows the diastolic pressure that occurs during relaxation of the heart. During a single cardiac cycle or heartbeat, the blood pressure varies from maximum during systole to minimum during diastole. Usually both measurements are given as a ratio expression of the highest over the lowest, for example, 140/80. When a single figure is given, it is usually the higher, or systolic, pressure.
In healthy persons, blood pressure varies from about 80/45 in infants, to about 120/80 at age 30, to about 140/85 at age 40 and over. This increase occurs when the arteries lose the elasticity that, in younger people, absorbs the shock of heart contractions. Blood pressure varies between individuals and in the same individual at different times. It is generally higher in men than in women and children, is lowest during sleep, and is influenced by a wide range of factors.
Many healthy persons have habitual systolic pressures of from about 95 to 115 not associated with symptoms or disease. Abnormally high blood pressure, or hypertension, is considered a contributory cause of arteriosclerosis.
Many Seniors have a hard time regulating their blood pressure and must be placed on medications. As the amount of medications a senior is on increases so does the confusion. Bayshore Home Care has a large team of skilled nurses that can help manage your loved one’s medications. On a weekly basis a Bayshore nurse will come to your loved one’s home to set out all of his necessary medications as well as verify all prescriptions with the doctor. Having a caregiver at home, just as little assistance at home, can help your loved one happy, healthy, and safe.