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Start > Resource centre > Articles > A bit about blood pressure Part 1

"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 the 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 a higher than normal blood pressure."

A certain pressure is required to propel blood all over the body which, for the average adult, contains over 96,000 km of blood vessels. Without blood circulating through the body, cells in the 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 the brain when they get up in the morning. It is also why you sometimes feel faint and giddy when you bend down to tie shoelaces and then straighten up.

Running for a 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, the stress of an exam, interview or driving test.

Teacher: Michael
Many articles taken from 'A word with the doctor', by Dr. John Windsor.


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