High Blood Pressure Causes- Vascular Resistance

So we looked at the first cause for high blood pressure- thick, sticky, sluggish blood. So now let’s look at the second category of what makes high blood pressure. The second cause for hypertension is resistance in your arteries.

Every time your heart beats it sends a measurable amount of blood from your heart and into your arteries. Normally it is about 50-100 ml per pump or about 2-3.5 ounces. You can feel this pump of blood when you place your fingers on the inner aspect of your wrist on the thumb side. With a little practice you may even find your pulse over the top of your foot.

You can see the power of your heart! It can force a bolus of blood out with enough force that you can feel it from your wrist to your foot! It beats approximately 4,200 times per hour and 100,800 times per day! By the time a person is 50 years old their heart has beat 1,839,600,000 times more or less without any breaks. Now that is a well designed machine! It is a machine that deserves to be given the very best care and respect.

So back to your arteries.

Your arteries were made to be very tough and strong but they also were made to have some give. In other words they are slightly elastic in order to accommodate the bolus of blood. Because there is some give in the arteries this helps to reduce the pressure when the blood is pumped into the artery from the heart and as the vessel returns to it’s normal size it creates an increase in pressure (not originating from the heart) which helps to move the blood along. It is a finely tuned process, allowing the heart to pump efficiently without overworking.

And here is where we get into high blood pressure trouble.

Unfortunately, as our arteries are exposed to less than ideal conditions, they begin to develop a thick build up of waste. This starts with some sort of damage to the vessel wall and progresses only as the body is exposed to or fed excess fat and cholesterol. The the excess waste (fat and cholesterol) end up as plaques which are laid down on the vessel walls. This causes multiple problems not the least of which is blockage of circulation. The plaques can also break off or “rupture” creating an object which blocks blood flow from critical areas which need blood flow for oxygen. It may block important vessels in your heart or brain causing a heart attack or cerebral vascular attack (stroke) respectively. But the portion of this problem that relates to high blood pressure is that the plaque build up causes the artery to be unflexible. This results in the heart having to push harder to get the blood through the stiff unhelpful arteries.

Click this link to read about the third catagory of causes for high blood pressure- chemicals.