Prevent Blood Pressure Pitfalls - There Can Be A Link Between Meniere's
Disease and High Blood Pressure.
Its Circulation And Blood Pressure
Did you know you
can stop and check your blood pressure when you shop for groceries? You may
not want to, but the opportunity is available in stores that provide
pharmacies. And why would you want to do that? Why should you be interested
in something called " blood pressure"? Or "the pressure of blood"??? I
receive emails from many people suffering with Meniere's disease. In the course of a
conversation, I may ask what their blood pressure is. I will get answers
like "it's fine", or "it's perfect" or "the doctor says it's excellent". Few
people can give me actual numbers. Later when you might suspect something is
not quite right, you have nothing to compare it to. You need to know and
understand the actual readings: the upper (systolic) reading and the lower
As always, with these articles, please don't use them to diagnose or treat
yourself. Use the information to educate yourself. If you recognize
something familiar, please get it checked out by a qualified health care provider. More knowledge will help
you ask better questions.
So let's explore what blood is, how it gets moved around your body, and how
blood pressure relates to it. I'll share the importance of your blood's
"mission" and "function" in your body.
But before we get too far, we need to understand some medical terms. It will
help you see why you need to know something more than just being told "it's
perfect". (I'll also tell you why your blood doesn't stay in your legs
forever if you stand a lot.) We'll explore the blood's different ingredients
and why they are needed...and how to have them ready in your body. You may
have decided it's time to take control of your health. Blood is the major
body "ingredient" that keeps you alive.
When you are at the scene of an accident, what is one of the first things
that paramedics do? They take a "blood pressure". That's an indication of
its importance. Lastly I would like to tell you why donating blood is a good
thing for most people: why
you might want to share it with someone who is struggling to stay alive.
Let's start with blood and what it is... As you will see shortly, blood has
a crucial and very specific purpose. If something is abnormal, the
fulfillment of its purpose is interrupted or changed. Your blood's mission
is to keep you alive and well. Its purpose is to provide you with nutrients,
oxygen, and chemicals, and to remove waste products. Blood is a liquid made
up of several parts including red blood cells
(erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes), and platelets (thrombocytes).
It carries these nutrients, chemicals and oxygen.
"Hemoglobin" is the red pigment in red blood cells. It transports oxygen. It
is the most important part of the blood. Red blood cells are known as
"Erythrocytes" in medical
terminology. Their purpose is to carry oxygen and a small amount of carbon
dioxide. Blood that carries oxygen is called oxygenated blood. Without
oxygen, your body cannot live. White blood cells are known as leukocytes.
And there are several types
including granulocytes, lymphocytes, and monocytes. Leukocytes are meant to
fight infections. They are part of the inflammatory process, which is part
of your body's immune system. Leukocytes are responsible for the elimination
of bacteria, fungi, and
viruses. Platelets (thrombocytes) are part of a cell and are responsible for
Red blood cells that are filled with oxygen are known "collectively" as
"oxygenated blood". It is bright red. De-oxygenated" blood (oxygen removed)
will look darker compared to oxygenated blood. When it shows up in the skin,
it is called cyanosis. In a trauma, it is fairly easy to see if an artery or
vein is cut by the colour of the blood and the pressure with which it shows
up. An artery will spurt bright red blood, while a vein produces dark slower
moving blood. Serum or plasma is what is left after the "solids" are
Nutrients include all that is necessary for the cell to function
efficiently. They come from foods you eat, and are digested and metabolized
(changed) into a usable form. The chemicals also come from foods (including
water) and are also critical to your well being. They provide the critical
balance your body needs. Altogether, nutrients, oxygen, and chemicals are
taken to the cells, and waste products are removed. Each blood component has
a vital function. When these functions can't be fulfilled, an imbalance can
occur. And the body craves balance.
If you recall previous articles, the body has nine systems such as the
digestive system, the reproductive system, the endocrine system, and six
more. Each one is different and has a distinct purpose. But all are made up
of individual cells. And these cells perform different functions depending
on the system's responsibility. However they all essentially require the
same nutrients, chemicals, and oxygen. What YOU won't know is what the cells
needs, but your body does. And it knows what it requires will keep it
balanced and complete. So you don't need to eat to fill your kidneys'
requirements, or your nervous system's needs. Eat a meal that is balanced
(and that is a difficult concept to get across to people in this day of
Blood is meant to be in predetermined areas (contained in its transportation
systems) and not in other areas. By that I mean blood floes naturally in
your nose, but a nosebleed needs to be investigated. And blood in your urine
must not be ignored. That
is outside its natural boundaries, which include the kidneys and your
When blood shows up in unusual places something is wrong and needs to be
investigated. Because it circulates all through your body, any abnormality
or infection can easily be carried along with it. Blood without boundaries
is simply fluid. It needs to be contained in some form and sent all over
your body, systematically and consistently. This means a network of
passageways. This network is called the circulatory system. It provides the
means for the blood's "mission" to be fulfilled. All this starts at birth
and ends in death. There is no normal part of you that is without a blood
supply, but there may be some areas after a trauma that won't receive any
"service". No blood: no life. But that doesn't mean all of you dies. It may
mean just a part does. Your body is very organized and in order to maintain
balance, it will "borrow" from one cell to another. (Balance/ homeostasis)
Just as you don't carry clean and dirty laundry together, blood doesn't get
carried in the same vessels. There are two "one way" passages: arteries and
veins. Just like a river or a tunnel, something has to allow the entire set
of ingredients to reach the end of the line, intact. A healthy passageway or
"lumen" is clean, smooth and has no debris attached to it anywhere along the
walls. The fluid is propelled along without any interruptions or blockages.
The walls are elastic and move in a rhythmic pattern, consistently.
Arteries, veins, and the circulatory system are the transportation corridor
or system that blood circulates through. "Arterial" blood is blood that has
just been cleaned and is full of good things such as these nutrients,
chemicals, and oxygen. (Transported by the arteries) comes from the lungs,
with a fresh load of oxygen, and stops along the way to pick up chemicals
and nutrients. These nine "body" systems are all served or connected to this
lifeline. The arteries get smaller and smaller as they branch out more and
more to cover the entire body. Eventually they drop their life-giving load
to the tiniest cell.
In the individual cells, the oxygen and the nutrients and chemicals are
dropped off. A return network (venous circulation: oxygen removed) will pick
up the waste products that are created through "metabolism". It is a much
more relaxed or passive system and needs the help of valves to keep the
blood from flowing back to the extremities. That's why the blood doesn't
stay in your feet if you stand up a lot...or pool in your backside if you
sit a lot.) Metabolism encompasses all the physical and chemical processes
within the body that create and use energy, such as digesting food and
nutrients, eliminating waste, breathing, circulating blood, temperature
BLOOD PRESSURE is the pressure of the blood pushing
against the walls of the arteries. It's like a garden hose. If there is only
a trickle, it can't perform much. If it's too fast, it can blow a hole in
the wall of the vessel (tube). And it can blow through debris that might
form clots. It's usually lowest in the morning as you have been resting all
night. As the day progresses, it gets higher. If you have to monitor it,
choose roughly the same time each day and the same machine and the same
clothing. Rest a few minutes when you get to the machine. Do not compare
readings from mornings to afternoons, or machine to machine, especially
digital and mercury ones.
There are two readings: the first (opening or top) reading is the
"systolic". It is the pressure of the blood when the heart muscle contracts
and presses against the artery wall. The second, lower, "diastolic" is the
reading when the heart rests between heartbeats. Normal values are a
systolic of 110 to 130 and diastolic of between 60 to 80. Over the length of
my nursing career, I have witnessed many changes in the interpretation of
blood pressure values and readings. Some did not make much sense to me. If
this might be a problem for you, do your own research.
Let's look at some of the problems created by "abnormal blood or blood
pressure". The individual cell needs oxygen, nutrients, and chemicals. And
all cell needs are pretty much alike. It is the cell's tissue of the nine
body systems that determines the cell's purpose and its activities. So it
follows that if any of the blood's components are missing for any reason,
the cell will be incomplete and can't do its assignment.
Can you see then that a problems with inadequate amounts of these
requirements leaves vital life supporting help unfulfilled?
Problems with blood or the lack of it can arise in several ways. By now you
know the importance of blood and its components. We may only see the red
liquid, but it carries vital cargo! Problems can arise with a) the blood
itself as in anemia, cancer, or debris such as potential clots b) with the
condition of the corridors system major trauma, leaks (aneurysms) or wall
build ups c) blood components, not being available in adequate amounts d)
end cell (recipient) not being able to handle the blood as it already has
too many waste products, or the components not being there, or the cell too
weak from inadequate nutrients chemicals and oxygen There are other
situations, but these fit into what we are learning here.
Anemia is a condition in which there is a reduction in oxygen cell delivery
to the tissues. This is due to a reduction in the number of red cells
throughout the body: not just in one area. It may result from increased
destruction of red cells, excessive blood loss or decreased production of
red cells. There are many types and potential causes of anemia.
Another health condition could be cancers in the form of leukemia where you
can have too many white blood cells and too few platelets (for clotting) and
red blood cells for carrying oxygen. So you can see how a person could
easily be tired (not enough oxygen). They could have many infections, an
imbalance in white blood cells and red blood cells and could bleed more
easily. (Platelets missing.)
As mentioned earlier, hemoglobin is the most important component of red
blood cells. It is a protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to the
body's tissues, and carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs to be
exhaled (waste products). Abnormalities of an individual's hemoglobin can
effect red blood cell balance, which in turn can effect many body functions,
including energy levels. Both low and high values can indicate unhealthy
states. It's always about balance. But think of it, if you can't get enough
oxygen being carried to your cells, you will be really depleted in energy
and that affects all you do or are motivated to do. And this is what blood
pressure is all about. It pushes blood throughout the body with regular
beats or contractions of your
heart, twenty-four hours a day. And the goal is to have a sizable spread
from the systolic reading to the diastolic reading. That will indicate a
healthy heart at work and then at rest or recovery.
HYPERTENSION means elevated blood pressure
(high tension). Higher than 140 "over" 90, 140/90, but some doctors allow
higher reading. Salt may increase the reading, so you may want to cut back a
little. If you are already on medication for hypertension and it's still
"high", let the doctor know and they would probably adjust or changes
something. Hypertension may wear out your arteries like you wearing out the
garden hose under pressure. High blood pressure increases your chance for
heart attacks, strokes, kidney, and eye problems. There are many "natural"
or non-drug activities you can do to get your hypertension under control.
HYPOTENSION means a
low blood pressure and it
would be consistent readings less than 80/60 consistently. If you are very
athletic, your body may have adjusted to these lower readings. If you are
ever hospitalized, do yourself a big favor and tell someone your BP will
naturally be lower. You may feel proud of your low blood pressure but think
this through, you may realize that reduced amounts of oxygen, chemicals, or
nutrients will also reaching the cells, any cells. Somehow I don't think
that maintains a healthy lifestyle. So it is just as important to take
regular readings if you suffer from hypotension as for hypertension.
Prevent Blood Pressure (BP) pitfalls when you check your pressures. Picture
this. Your doctor has told you that your blood pressure is too
high and he wants you to keep an eye on it. Where do you start? Where do you
go to monitor it? You're tempted to buy a "machine" right away, but luckily
your pharmacist talks you out of it. There are several easy, quick ways to
do this on a regular basis, but there are some ground rules.
Use the machines in the pharmacies or supermarket, but stick to one machine.
The readings aren't the same, so don't compare the readings. But here is a
way to compare the readings "fairly". Use the same machine, at about the
same time of the day each time you check it. Wear roughly the same type of
clothing each time. And don't pull up the shirtsleeve: it will block
circulation at the upper arm. To get a comparable reading you might go every
fourth day, at about noon to the local pharmacy (where you also keep all
your prescriptions and buy all your "over the counter" products), and wear
the nice cotton shirt with light sweater. (Heavy sweatshirts will not allow
proper readings.) Take a few minutes to relax. Then put your arm, with the
shirtsleeve still buttoned and sweater in place, into the arm holder, press
the button, and wait for it to inflate.
Don't believe the reading? Do it again, BUT wait for at least five minutes.
Keep your composure or the measurement will be even higher. When you repeat
this, don't change anything. Get another reading and then compare. Some food
(salt) or beverages (caffeine, alcohol), or medications can often change the
results. A "not so friendly drive" over might also have changed the reading
substantially. Did you know that a visit to the doctors' office will really
raise your blood pressure? It's a proven fact and its called "white coat
syndrome". Record your readings and take the record to the doctor regularly.
Pick up a pamphlet from the pharmacist on how to interpret the readings or
ask them for help. The first time you get ready to take your blood pressure
reading, take the time to read the machine instructions. I have often been
challenged when I tell people to keep the sleeves of their shirts smoothed
and down. It tells you on the machine! So read all the instructions. You
will feel much more confident in knowing you are doing this correctly. It's
not brain surgery, but it is very important to your health. It may mean the
difference between having to be on medication and avoiding it. Try to always
avoid drugs, they are chemicals that your body has to neutralize somehow.
I'd like to end with a word about donating blood. The mission of blood is to
keep you alive and well. Its purpose is to take oxygen, nutrients, and
chemicals to your cells in all parts of your body. You realize by now that
you can't live without it. So what happens when you find yourself without
enough of your own through illness or trauma? The obvious thing is to
"borrow" it from someone else. In hospitals, we used to give a lot of blood
transfusions. We don't do that any longer. There have been too many problems
with passing along unhealthy conditions. The gift is still as incredibly
helpful and necessary as always, but now it's become very scarce. I have
been donating blood for years. It's part of my routine as I know how
valuable it will be to several people and to scientific research. But the
rooms are generally pretty sparse. Not so after 911! I was thrilled to see
the four hour waits! We snaked through rooms of chairs, were given drinks at
intervals, chatted with new friends or read our books. And finally donated
that precious gift of love. All of us knew it was the only thing we could do
personally to help ease our pain. And we proudly sported our little
teardrop-shaped stickers on our chests. They read "Be kind to me: I gave
blood today"! The donation process itself may be a bit tedious but blood is
so valuable that, as with any gift you give, a little inconvenience
shouldn't stop you. Please consider becoming a blood donor if you are
healthy. And helping others is a purpose for your own life. And keep in
mind, all blood donation centers now accept your blood for either yourself
or someone in your family in anticipation of a planned procedure. This is
truly the gift of life. Medical science has been developing all kinds of
practical substitutes, but nature still holds the secret to keeping you
alive long after the donated blood has outdated!
This information was intended to help you understand your body and its
functions. If you have a medical problem, please seek appropriate advice.
By Karin Henderson - Nurse, Retired.
If you would like to know more about the system we talk about throughout the
use this link to go to the Meniere's System Information page.
If you have not signed up for our Meniere's Disease Health Information
Newsletter you can learn more about it, or sign up for it, by
We hope you found the information here helpful. Thank you for visiting our