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Understanding The Relationship Between High Blood Pressure And Low Pulse Rate

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Blood pressure and pulse rate are two different yet vital measurements doctors monitor to assess your health. The difference between pulse rate and blood pressure is how they work. Pulse rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. The typical value for your pulse rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute. On the other hand, blood pressure calculates the pressure your blood expend on your blood vessels. A typical blood pressure value is 120/80. However, it is crucial to understand how both measurements are connected and how one impacts the other.

How High Blood Pressure And Low Pulse Rate Are Connected?

You have to imagine your blood pressure as plumbing and your pulse as an electrical system to effectively know how low pulse rate and high blood pressure are connected. Electrical impulses are primarily in control of your pulse. And these impulses communicate to your heart chambers to beat by travelling through your heart. Other factors that can increase your pulse include but are not limited to exercise and stress. While being inactive can slow it down.

This electrical system, which is your pulse, invigorates the pumping motion that drives the plumbing system of your heart. Blood easily flows through your blood vessels when it’s not blocked. However, your heart will either beat faster to pump blood or compress harder if your blood vessels have any obstruction or they are narrow. Abnormal blood pressure and pulse rate can strain your heart. As a result, you will encounter various symptoms, including fatigue, dizziness, confusion, difficulty exercising, fainting, etc. Low pulse rate and high blood pressure can even lead to cardiac arrest in some extreme cases.

What Causes High Blood Pressure And Low Pulse Rate?

Although the combination of low pulse rate and high blood pressure is a peculiar problem, several medical conditions and medications can cause it.

  1. Issues With Heart Conduction

    A low pulse can indicate if there is a problem with the heart’s electrical conduction pathway. The heart can only beat appropriately if it has an electrical system that travels in a definite pattern. It might not work effectively if the electrical system is damaged or the heart is overstretched. And this can lead to a low pulse rate. Persistent high blood pressure can also significantly contribute to the harm of the electrical system, which can, in turn, lead to a low pulse rate. Other causes that can damage the heart’s conduction include ageing, heavy alcohol or drug use, smoking, etc.

  2. Cushing Reflex

    Although the Cushing reflex is rare, it can cause low pulse rates and high blood pressure. When your body responds to increased intracranial pressure, the result is a Cushing reflex. Intracranial pressure is a pressure located in the head, and it is used to measure the blood pressure in the brain. And since the brain is located in the head, there is a limit it can expand if it starts swelling. The swelling contributes immensely to increased intracranial pressure. Cushing reflex will then occur because that’s the only way your body can respond to try and keep the brain’s pressure from getting too much. The receptors in the heart are signalled to slow down the heart rate to reduce the intracranial pressure. Severe medical conditions can trigger the Cushing reflex, including concussions, meningitis, trauma, brain tumours, stroke, blood in the brain, etc.

  3. Blood Pressure Medication

    If you have high blood pressure symptoms, some high blood pressure medications, especially calcium channel blockers and beta-blockers, contribute immensely to a low pulse rate. These drugs reduce your pulse rate and reduce the workload placed on your heart to lower your blood pressure.

  4. Should You Be Worried?

    If you have slightly high blood pressure and low pulse rate due to blood pressure medications for your high blood pressure symptoms, you shouldn’t be concerned, however, if you are not taking blood pressure medication. In that case, it is best to see a doctor to know what is going on, especially if you experience symptoms of low pulse rate like shortness of breath, dizziness, etc. The typical measurement for average pulse rate is 60 beats per minute, while the standard pulse rate needed to pump blood effectively is 100 beats per minute. People in excellent shape athletes have low pulse rates because they have conditioned their hearts to be stronger. It makes their heart pumps more efficiently. Also, if you exercise regularly, you can have a low pulse rate and high blood pressure immediately after working out.

Final Thoughts

Blood pressure medication can lead to low pulse rates and high blood pressure. However, it might also mean you have untreated high blood pressure or severe injury. It is advisable to visit your doctor to help you figure out what is going on using your symptoms and medical history. Also, a high pulse rate and normal blood pressure can deprive your tissues and organs of oxygen if it’s persistent. Visit your doctor if you experience fainting, chest pains, lightheadedness, a racing heart, or shortness of breath. To learn more about everything related to blood pressure and get an expert’s advice, visit the BPinControl.

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