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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

More about Blood Pressure: What is healthy Blood Pressure?

When Blood Pressure (BP) is healthy, the range range between the systolic and diastolic readings, when taken in a semi reclining position, is no greater than about 60 points. About 40 is ideal. The heart and arteries do not like excessive differences between systolic and diastolic pressures. So it is generally better to have a BP of 140/100 than to have a BP of 160/80.

A blood pressure around about 120/80 is pretty well perfect. Blood pressure such as 110/60, or lower, may contribute to poor concentration, feeling light headed upon standing up and feeling excessively tired at times. Pressures that persistently exceed 140/90 will be detrimental to health over time.

The trend of advice from heart experts is to progressively lower the bar as to what is ideal BP. Advice varies; but the current trend is to recommend a blood pressure of about 110/70 to 100/60. I am inclined to disagree. 100/60 is too low and indicates poor health. Health advice that is geared towards preventing a singular disease, such as heart attack, can cause more problems down the line because human beings are exceedingly complex creatures. Anything less than a holistic approach will not improve overall health.

Manage Your Heart with! There is plenty of evidence that the lower the BP, the lower the risk of heart attack; but there is the downside of low blood pressure causing, or making worse, conditions like muddled thinking, excessive fatigue and dizziness. These can have a profound negative effect on a person's quality of life; especially in old age. Low blood pressure, including medications to lower blood pressure, increase the chances that an elderly person will be involved in car accidents and injury by falling.

So, an elderly lady on blood pressure medication may be less likely to die of a heart attack. This is good for the heart disease statistics. Instead, she has a dizzy spell, trips, breaks a hip and then dies slowly and miserably of pneumonia.

Be wary of single issue health advice. It may actually be hazardous to your health!

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Gizmoduck said...

But Gary, a blood pressure of 100/60 is perfectly fine. In fact, a blood pressure of 90/50 would be perfectly fine. The key thing is that as long as you're asymptomatic, there is no lower limit.

A normal Blood pressure for a 4yr old is usually well under 100 systolic.

Gary Moller said...

Thanks for the comments Gizmoduck.

My experience is that 90/50 is way too low and will affect cognitive function, the heart will struggle at high workloads (the athlete will tire quickly. There is a increased risk of loss of balance and fainting and there may be a tendency towards depression.

(Low BP is often associated with depleted Na and K levels in the body and relatively high Ca which can lead to extreme fatigue and depression).

We can not compare the normal BP of a child with that of an adult. BP must increase with stature to push blood greater distances against the push of gravity.

I stand by my view that lowering BP less than about 120/80 does little for health and quality of life and doing so cancels out any benefits of slightly lowering risk of heart attack and stroke.

If BP is 120/80 more benefit for health will be obtained by dealing with the main drivers of heart disease: inflammation and calcification that can ever be made by lowering BP further. It seems so pointless really!

Thanks again for your comments: Riposte?

gizmoduck said...

No doctor is going to put you on blood pressure medications if it's 120/80. I'm saying that if your BP is naturally low there is no lower normal limit as long as you're not symptomatic from it.

If you're dehydrated and your BP is 90/50 then sure, but that's not a normal state.