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For our bodies to push nutrient and oxygen-filled blood into our systems, our heart has to exert a certain amount of pressure through our blood vessels. The measurement of that pressure is called our blood pressure, measured in millimiters per mercury (mmHg.) Just by measuring that, health care providers can get a pretty good idea of what’s going on inside our bodies, along with other contributory indicators. It’s one of the cardinal signs that doctors assess when checking on our overall health. 
Blood Pressure – Why Is It So Important?
Apart from the pressure exerted from our hearts to pump blood throughout our entire body, the blood vessels that run throughout our body exert a certain amount of pressure to keep itself intact. In cases of high blood pressure, the heart is exerting too much force for the blood vessels to handle. These blood vessels are very sensitive, and compromising its integrity with pressure it can’t handle can cause it to harden or even break. You could suffer a heart attack or a stroke if the pressure gets too high for your blood vessels to handle.
Blood Pressure Factors:
Lifestyle and genes are the two main contributors of how high or how low your blood pressure can go.  If you have a family member that suffers from high blood pressure, there’s a chance that you can be suffering from the same thing. It’s also very possible for you to have high blood pressure even if none of your family members suffered from it because of your everyday diet and activities. This is mainly why blood pressure is so important; if you don’t live a healthy lifestyle, your blood pressure will eventually become abnormal. Although almost certainly, if you live a healthy lifestyle, your blood pressure will be normal.
Excessive alcohol intake, a stressful work and home environment, smoking, lack of physical activity intense enough to make your heart pump, and poor diet can cause your blood pressure to rise without you even knowing it.
Other factors that can contribute to high blood pressure are diseases that affect the heart, the liver, or the kidney, as well any given medication that you’re taking. Your hormone levels, weight, as well as how much salt you intake also affects your blood pressure. 
Blood pressure – What Do These Numbers Mean?
The two parts of your blood pressure measurement is when your heart is at its peak strength of pressure, which is called systolic pressure, and when your heart relaxes from pumping blood to your whole body, called diastolic pressure.
Plenty of factors contribute to these two numbers. For instance, the gap between these two numbers is just as important as how high the numbers are individually.  But for the most part, numbers that are too high or numbers that are too low generally indicates an emergency situation. We generally aim for a blood pressure measurement of acceptably lower than 120/80 mmHg. 
Hypertensive emergency, interchangeably termed as hypertension crisis, is what health care providers would call a blood pressure measurement of more than 180 mmHg systolic and 110 mmHg diastolic.
How To Get Your Blood Pressure Under Control
Major lifestyle changes need to take effect in order for your blood pressure to lower to an acceptable level. Moderate to high intensity exercises that last for a minimum of 30 minutes are highly recommended even for those who are not predisposed to hypertension to keep their blood pressure in check. 
Eating a high fiber, high potassium diet will also help lower your blood pressure. Eating food spiced with ginger, panax ginseng, cardamom, onions, garlic, and chinese hawthorn may help prevent further elevation of your blood pressure, but keep in mind that this strategy alone probably won’t lower blood pressure. A healthy balance is required for better numbers. It goes without saying that quitting smoking and keeping alcohol intake moderate will aid greatly in controlling your blood pressure.
 Quick Facts on Hypertension and high blood pressure. World Heart Federation. http://www.world-heart-federation.org/press/fact-sheets/cardiovascular-disease-risk-factors/quick-facts-on-hypertension-high-blood-pressure
 Factors that Affect Blood Pressure. McKinley Health Center. http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/handouts/blood_pressure_factors.html
 High Blood Pressure. Center for Disease Control. http://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/
 Pathophysiology of hypertension. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pathophysiology_of_hypertension
 High blood pressure. Medline plus. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000468.htm
 High blood pressure. Pubmed health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001502/
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