Understanding Blood Pressure [Micro Lecture]

In this micro-lecture, we discuss Blood Pressure. Enrolled students have unlimited access to a rich library of learning materials such as this.

In today’s micro-lecture, we’re going to talk about blood pressure. Now as a paramedic, it’s really important that you know quite a bit about blood pressure, including what it is, what affects it, and the problems that occur with having extremely low and extremely high blood pressure.

Now blood pressure really does represent the health of the cardiovascular system. Now let’s just remember that the cardiovascular system is made up of the heart, which is the pump, and the vessels that the blood float around in, which are the arteries.

Now blood pressure is something that you can record manually or with a blood pressure device, such as a Lifepak 12, Lifepak 15, a ColPulse, or another type of automated device. Now believe it or not, blood pressure can actually also be measured invasively. Now the blood pressure that we measure, where we put the cuff around the arm, that’s non-invasive.

But let’s talk about figures and numbers. Now first and foremost, a blood pressure of 120/80 is what you will see time and time again in the texts, 120/80. Now these numbers represent a healthy blood pressure. Now this one here, the “120,” that’s what we call the systolic blood pressure. So that’s what we call systole, systolic, which means contraction.

Now when you have a contraction, it must be enough, it must be hard enough and forceful enough to push blood around the body, up to the brain, up to the vital organs. But it must not be so high that it puts the vessels, the arteries, and the end organ, which is the brain, the liver, the kidneys, under too much pressure.

This figure “80” is called the diastolic, diastolic blood pressure. This represents the heart in its relaxed state, okay? So systolic means systole and it means contraction and the amount of force being pumped under contraction. Diastolic is the amount of pressure in the heart when there’s relaxation, diastole, relax.

Now according to the Royal Australian Colleges of the GPs, a high blood pressure is anything above 139 as a systolic or 89 diastolic. So let’s say your patient’s got a blood pressure of 139/89. That’s borderline high. If it turns out to be 140/80, then that’s still high because of the systolic blood pressure. Let’s say you have a blood pressure of 139/90, that’s high because of the diastolic blood pressure.

Well thanks for watching this snapshot on blood pressures.

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