Blood pressure is primarily produced when the heart muscle contracts - it is the pressure of blood upon the walls of the blood vessels. There are two recordings, a high one (systolic) and a lower one (diastolic). The systolic pressure is measured when the heart contracts, while the diastolic one is gauged just before the heart contracts. The heart is the muscle that pumps blood throughout the body during every second of our lives. Low-oxygen blood is pumped towards the lungs, where it becomes oxygen-rich again. Oxygen-rich blood is pumped by the heart around to body to supply tissue, muscle, organs and cells. This pumping generates blood pressure. According to Medilexicon's medical dictionary, Blood Pressure is: "The pressure or tension of the blood within the systemic arteries, maintained by the contraction of the left ventricle, the resistance of the arterioles and capillaries, the elasticity of the arterial walls, as well as the viscosity and volume of the blood;
Arterial stiffness due to is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease but is very difficult to measure. It also can influence blood pressure readings since these rely on the time taken for arteries to return to normal volume and flow after compression. A new method for measuring arterial stiffness has been reported in BioMed Central's open access journal BioMedical Engineering OnLine. This simple, non-invasive, calculation is able to interpret standard oscillometric measurements to quantify both arterial stiffness and blood pressure simultaneously. Not only does arterial stiffness increase hypertension but hypertension can exacerbate arterial stiffness in a self perpetuating spiral. Arterial stiffness is also associated with type 2 diabetes and is involved in the development of the circulatory problems.
An upward revision of the blood pressure numbers used to identify risk of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) might actually help doctors provide better care for their patients, said the authors of a study in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The researchers found that systolic blood pressure - the "upper number" in a blood pressure reading - was the key variable. Current guidelines call for CKD patients to maintain a systolic pressure of 130/80 or lower in order to prevent ESRD, which is complete or almost complete kidney failure, leading to dialysis, kidney transplant, or death. In the study, however, the team determined that systolic pressure had to be 140 or higher in order to be associated with an increased risk of ESRD. A level of 150 or higher was associated with highest risk.
A receptor found on blood platelets whose importance as a potential pharmaceutical target has long been questioned may in fact be fruitful in drug testing, according to new research from Michigan State University chemists. A team led by Dana Spence of MSU's Department of Chemistry has revealed a way to isolate and test the receptor known as P2X1. By creating a new, simple method to study it after blood is drawn, the team has unlocked a potential new drug target for many diseases that impact red blood cells, such as diabetes, hypertension and cystic fibrosis. Researchers can evaluate the receptor not only in developing new drugs but also re-testing existing medications that could work now by attaching to the receptor. "Scientists are always looking for new 'druggable' receptors in the human body, " Spence said.
The life expectancy of a person born in Japan is among the highest in the world (82.9 years) yet tobacco smoking and high blood pressure are still the major risk factors for death among adults in Japan, emphasizing the need to reduce tobacco smoking and to improve ongoing programs designed to help people manage multiple cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure, according to a study published in this week's PLoS Medicine. In an analysis of available data led by Nayu Ikeda from the University of Tokyo in Japan, the authors found that in Japan in 2007, tobacco smoking and high blood pressure accounted for 129, 000 and 104, 000 deaths, respectively, among adults aged 30 years and over. Physical inactivity accounted for 52, 000 deaths, high blood glucose and high dietary salt intake accounted for 34, 000 deaths each, and alcohol use for 31, 000 deaths.