Heart Rate and Blood Pressure are two of the key components of our Cardiovascular System. These two components allow our bodies to function in the most productive and efficient way possible.
Heart rate is determined by the number of heart beats per unit of time, typically expressed as beats per minute. This can vary as the body’s need for oxygen changes in a period of time. The heart rate can increase while performing vigorous activity such as exercising. On the other hand it can decrease while sleeping; this is usually the lowest point at which your heart rate will go. Heart rate is determined by the number of times your heart contracts per minute. The average normal heart rate is 60- 100 beats per minute. For an athlete the average heart rate is around 40 beats per minute. Pulse is the rhythmic growing and shrinking of arteries resulting from the heart contracting.
Blood pressure is the force exerted by blood against the vessel walls. The differences in blood pressure between your arteries, capillaries, and veins are the driving forces of blood circulation. Blood pressure is expressed in millimeter of mercury (mmHg). It is the highest as it enters your aortic arch and other major arteries. As it flows through your systemic circulation, the blood pressure decreases continuously through the capillaries and it is at its lowest point when it is flowing through the veins toward the vena cava back to the heart. To measure blood pressure, you put the blood pressure cuff about an inch above your elbow on the brachial artery of the arm. This will measure you systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Systolic blood pressure is the peak at which blood is expelled from the left ventricle of the heart into the aorta, this makes the elastic arteries stretch and causes the peak in blood pressure. In healthy adults the average systolic blood pressure is 120 mmHg. The rate at which your heart pumps the blood increases as you exercise. Systolic blood pressure is the top number of the fraction when calculating blood pressure. It can only be accurately measured on arteries due to the fact that veins are carrying the blood back to the heart at a much lower blood pressure, which would not be as accurate.
Diastolic blood pressure is when the aortic pressure drops to its lowest level during heart relaxation or in between heart beats. In healthy adults the average diastolic blood pressure is between 70- 80 mmHg, this is the bottom number of the fraction when calculating blood pressure. Diastole usually lasts longer than systole because the heart rests longer than it contracts. The Diastolic blood pressure during exercise should show no change or just a slight difference in levels. When measuring blood pressure, the last sound you hear before the sound stops is your diastolic blood pressure.
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, can either be transient or persistent. Transient hypertension high blood pressure is normal and is usually due to fever, vigorous exercise, or emotions. Persistent hypertension is high blood pressure that lasts over a long period of time and leads to chronic hypertension. Chronic hypertension is a common and very dangerous disease. This is known as the silent killer because there are usually no symptoms for the first 10-20 years. This disease slowly strains the heart and damages the arteries. Chronic hypertension is the leading cause for heart failure, vascular disease, kidney failure, stroke and atherosclerosis. Hypertension is classified as a sustained arterial pressure over 140/90 mmHg, the higher the pressure the higher the risk for cardiovascular problems.
There are several causes of chronic hypertension. One of the leading causes is hereditary. Knowing that you are at a higher risk, there are precautions that can be taken. Another cause is due to the type of diet a person has. A poor