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A bit about blood pressure Part 1 (Teacher: Michael)

"I think I've got blood pressure, doctor."

Whenever I get given this statement - and it is more often than you would think - I am sorely tempted to give following reply: "Thank goodness you have, you'd be dead if you hadn't got blood pressure!"

What my patient is really trying to say is: "I think I've got higher than normal blood pressure."

A certain pressure is required to propel blood all over body which, for average adult, contains over 96,000 km of blood vessels. Without blood circulating through body, cells in brain, kidneys and muscles die rapidly.

Blood pressure varies not only from day to day, but also from hour to hour. It also changes with posture; being lower when lying down than when sitting or standing up.

This is why old people feel giddy through lack of blood to brain when they get up in morning. It is also why you sometimes feel faint and giddy when you bend down to tie shoelaces and then straighten up.

Running for bus or playing squash will cause your blood pressure to rise from physical exertion.

But there are emotional factors too: fear that you are going to be late, stress of exam, interview or driving test.

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