Blood Pressure Monitoring

Health risks of having low and high blood pressure

Whenever Dr. Ali Ghahary, a physician at Brentwood Medical Clinic in Burnaby, sees patients for an annual check-up, part of that check-up consists of checking their blood pressure. This is a way for Dr. Ghahary to assess whether or not the patient may be at risk of certain health conditions.

For example, if your blood pressure levels are high (also known as hypertension), a patient may be at an increased risk of stroke due to the brain’s blood vessels becoming weak/narrow. Individuals with high blood pressure also have a higher chance of developing blood clots, coronary artery disease and dementia. Low BP levels (also known as hypotension) can also be concerning and may signify a possible underlying medical condition such as heart problems, problems with the endocrine system, and nutritional deficiencies. Both high and low blood pressure can also be the result of the use of certain medications such as NSAIDs, diuretics and anti-depressants. Your blood pressure can also be affected by your weight — either by being over or underweight, and there are certain lifestyle changes that a patient can make in order to significantly improve their blood pressure levels.

Blood pressure is classified into four different categories:

• Normal
• Prehypertension (Mild)
• Stage 1 (Moderate)
• Stage 2 (Severe)

If your blood pressure is normal, your systolic pressure should be less than 120 mm Hg, and your diastolic pressure should be less than 80 mm Hg. During Prehypertension, systolic pressure may be anywhere between 120 and 130 mm Hg, with diastolic anywhere between 80 and 80 mm Hg. In cases of moderate to severe hypertension, systolic levels can range between 140 and 160 mm Hg or higher, with diastolic levels ranging between 90 to 100 mm Hg.

As mentioned, if you suffer from high blood pressure, there are lifestyle changes in which you can make to help improve your BP levels. As blood pressure tends to increase with weight, it is important to make sure that you exercise regularly in order to keep any excess weight off. Your eating habits also play a crucial role in your blood pressure levels. It is important to ensure that you always eat healthy, reduce your sodium intake, and avoid alcohol. If you are a smoker, know that this can also put you at risk of hypertension. By quitting smoking, you give yourself a much better quality of life. You can find some helpful tips on smoking cessation in a recent article published by Dr. Ali Ghahary this week on Medium.com by clicking here.

High blood pressure is also attributed to stress and anxiety. In order to reduce your blood pressure, you will want to reduce the stress and anxiety in your life. To do this, it is important to know what your triggers/stressors are, and avoid them as best you can. Patients may also benefit from outpatient counselling sessions in order to help them have a better handle on their mental health.

If you frequently have trouble with low or high blood pressure, it is important that you monitor it regularly. You can do this by seeing Dr. Ali Ghahary as a walk-in patient at Brentwood Medical Clinic. His schedule can be found by visiting his website at http://alighahary.ca and clicking on ‘Clinic Schedule’. Alternatively, you can also check your blood pressure at home. Blood pressure monitors are widely available at pharmacies (such as London Drugs) and online, and you do not need a prescription in order to purchase one.