Cardiac Output: Systolic & Diastolic Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is determined by two factors – systolic and diastolic pressure. In this discussion, we’ll go through the traffic jam that happens within the blood vessels, the factors that influence pressure increase, and how peripheral pressure heightens.

The Traffic Jam

Think of your blood pressure as a morning drive with your car. If you’re driving on a freeway, there are only two things that matter to arrive at work on time – how many lanes are open and how many cars are on the freeway.

The most important between the two is the lanes that are open during that moment because, no matter how many the car is, for as long as the lanes opened are sufficient to sustain the volume, there wouldn’t be a traffic jam.

On the other hand, if there is only one lane that’s opened at that time, cars are going to be backed up, causing the traffic jam. A blocked freeway, or in this case, blood vessel, can either be due to a number of reasons, and either way, limited passage will cause bottleneck, resulting to increased pressure.

Factors that Shuts Down the Freeway

There are four different factors that influence the closing down of lanes or the narrowing of the pathways of the blood vessels. These four areas are essential in the therapeutic clinical objectives when dealing with blood pressure issues. So, what are the reasons why the lanes of the freeway are narrowing or shutting down?

  1. Increase platelet congregation

Platelet congregation is simply platelets surrounding or attaching to the lining of the blood vessels. As platelets attach to the vessels, it causes narrowing. Furthermore, tissue damage will occur.

  1. Stress

Increased stress is element that increases the risk of a narrowed pathway, this is because stress influences the increase of adrenaline which stimulates the sympathetic nervous system or the fight and flight response; thus, severe vasoconstriction occurs.

  1. Injury

Critical injury to certain sites, especially to the blood vessels, is also a qualifying factor for the constriction of passageways. What causes injury to the freeway?

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes – insulin is a corrosive agent that damages the lining of the blood vessels, causing inflammation and constriction
  1. Fatty deposits

High level of fats or cholesterol is detrimental to the body. Fats, much like platelets, attach to the lining of the blood vessels, causing the narrowing of the freeway. To prevent this from happening, high density lipoproteins (HDL) or the good cholesterol should be increased; while low density lipoprotein (LDL) or the bad cholesterol should be decreased.

Plaque Formation

Now, we have laid down the four main causes of the shutting down or narrowing of the freeway, which results to an increase in peripheral pressure. To review, we have platelet congregations, stressors, injuries, and fatty deposits.

Plaque is another thing that you need to take note of when understanding blood pressure. Plaque is just an inflammation of the veins wherein deposits underneath the vein have broken through and has protruded. Plaque is said to be one of the primary reasons for increasing peripheral pressure.

In our next lesson, we’ll be discussing how volume affects blood pressure when there is no narrowing of the pathways.