Pulse Pressure-Wide, Narrow, Normal


Is the term pulse pressure new to you? If so, then read further.

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Pulse Pressure Definition

Blood pressure reading comprises systolic and diastolic measurements taken from the opposing points of a cardiac cycle (equivalent to one heart beat) which are the highest and lowest levels of blood pressure. The difference between systolic and diastolic reading is known as pulse pressure, representing the force exerted by the heart every time it contracts. For instance, if you have 120 systolic blood pressure reading and 80 diastolic blood pressure reading, your pulse pressure is 40. The normal and healthy pressure is 40, although it can go anywhere from 30 to 49 mmHg.

Significance of Pulse Pressure

Studies show that pulse pressure when used alongside systolic and diastolic readings can be used to assess the overall cardiovascular risk of a patient especially for older population. But using it as a diagnostic tool is quite complicated due to the fact that it fails to furnish unique information. It does not necessarily mean that a person having a 40 pulse pressure has normal or healthy blood pressure. For instance, a blood pressure reading of 120 over 80 has a similar pulse pressure with 140 over 100 blood pressure reading. Obviously, pulse pressure cannot be utilized to determine the treatment plan when other vital information is not available. Although it does provide substantial contribution in determining the overall risk of the patient such as in elevated pulse pressure.

Pulse Pressure Variations

• Wide Pulse Pressure

The primary culprit of elevated pulse pressure is the stiffening of aorta, which is the body’s largest artery, due to atherosclerosis or formation of fatty deposits on the lining of the arteries that stiffens the arterial wall. Chronic high blood pressure or hypertension is another culprit why pulse pressure increases while hyperthyroidism, anemia and antihypertensive medications can elevate pulse pressure too.

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• Narrow Pulse Pressure

Aortic stenosis is the main culprit of narrowing pulse pressure. This is a form of heart disease due to the contraction of aortic valve which controls blood flow from the left ventricle going to the aorta and other body parts. Cardiac tamponade is another cause of lowering pulse pressure referred to as the accumulation of fluid or blood into the pericardium which is the gap between the sac and heart muscles enclosing the heart. Furthermore, weak heart function can also lower pulse pressure.

Treatment for Abnormal Pulse Pressure

• Elevated Pulse Pressure or widened pulse pressure

This is generally treated with the aid of hypertension medications to keep blood pressure in check. Also, following a hypertension diet is crucial and avoiding foods that elevate blood pressure is important. Sufferers, hence, must follow a low sodium diet but high in fruits and veggies as well as whole grains. Living an active lifestyle accompanied by regular exercise also helps.

• Narrow Pulse Pressure

Treatment basically depends on the underlying cause of low pulse pressure; so this may mean taking certain medications. You can also check alternative healing remedies and therapies which may include herbal remedies. And most of all, lifestyle change has been proven beneficial by strictly following a healthy diet with regular exercise. Proper stress management also helps normalize pulse pressure.

Pulse pressure is a strong indication of heart health. So whether you have consistently high or low pulse pressure readings, seek doctor consultation immediately.

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