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Blood Pressure and Heart Rate

What is Blood Pressure?


Blood pressure is expressed by two measurements, the systolic  (SYS) and diastolic (DIA) pressures, which are the maximum and minimum pressures, respectively. For most adults, normal blood pressure at rest is within the range of 100–130 millimeters mercury (mmHg) systolic and 60–80 mmHg diastolic.  

What is Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)?

Hypertension (HTN or HT), also known as high blood pressure (HBP), is a long-term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated.  Medical guidelines define hypertension as a blood pressure higher than 130 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) for the systolic pressure or 80 mmHg for the diastolic pressure.  High blood pressure typically does not cause symptoms. Long-term high blood pressure, however, is a major risk factor for coronary artery diseasestrokeheart failureatrial fibrillationperipheral vascular diseasevision losschronic kidney disease, and dementia.

What is Hypotension (Low Blood Pressure)?

Hypotension is low blood pressure.  systolic blood pressure of less than 90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or diastolic of less than 60 mm Hg is generally considered to be hypotension.  Severely low blood pressure can deprive the brain and other vital organs of oxygen and nutrients, leading to a life-threatening condition called shock.  For some people who exercise and are in top physical condition, low blood pressure is a sign of good health and fitness.  For many people, excessively low blood pressure can cause dizziness and fainting or indicate serious heart, endocrine or neurological disorders.

What is Tachycardia (Fast Heart Rate)?

  • Tachycardia refers to a heart rate that’s too fast.  Generally speaking, for adults, a heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute (BPM) is considered too fast. 

  • Two major types of tachycardias: Atrial or Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT) and Sinus Tachycardia (ST). 

  • Atrial or supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a fast heart rate that starts in the upper chambers of the heart.  In general, those most likely to have atrial or supraventricular tachycardia are: 

  1. Children (SVT is the most common type of arrhythmia in kids)

  2. Women, to a greater degree than men

  3. Anxious young people

  4. People who are physically fatigued

  5. People who drink large amounts of coffee (or caffeinated substances)

  6. People who drink alcohol heavily

  7. People who smoke heavily

  • Sinus tachycardia is a normal increase in the heart rate. In this condition, the heart’s natural pacemaker, the sinoatrial (SA) node, sends out electrical signals faster than usual. Causes of sinus tachycardia: a rapid heartbeat may be your body’s response to common conditions such as:

  1. Anxiety

  2. Fright

  3. Severe emotional distress

  4. Strenuous exercise

  5. Fever

  6. Some medicinal and street drugs

What is  Bradycardia (Slow Heart Rate)?

  • Bradycardia is a condition typically defined wherein an individual has a resting heart rate of under 60 beats per minute (BPM) in adults

  • Bradycardia typically does not cause symptoms until the rate drops below 50 BPM. The typical symptoms include fatigue, weakness, dizziness, sweating, and at very low rates, fainting

  • During sleep, a slow heartbeat with rates around 40–50 BPM is common, and is considered normal.

  • Highly trained athletes may also have athletic heart syndrome, a very slow resting heart rate 

  • Bradycardia is a type of cardiac arrhythmia.   

  • Noncardiac causes are usually secondary, and can involve recreational drug use or abuse; metabolic or endocrine issues, especially in the thyroid; an electrolyte imbalance; neurologic factors; autonomic reflexes; situational factors such as prolonged bed rest; and autoimmunity.

  • Cardiac causes include acute or chronic ischemic heart disease, vascular heart disease, valvular heart disease, or degenerative primary electrical disease.

  • The above causes ultimately act by three mechanisms: depressed automaticity of the heart, conduction block, or escape pacemakers and rhythms.

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