High blood pressure, commonly known as hypertension, refers to increased pressure in the arteries of the body. Pulse rate, on the other hand, is a measurement of the number of times the heart beats in a minute. As the resistance in the arteries increases due to high pressure, the heart responds by pushing less blood, which brings down the heart rate. This phenomenon is not observed in normal circumstances, since both blood pressure and heart rate tend to increase together. However, certain diseases or consumption of certain medicines that increase blood pressure can cause a corresponding reduction in the pulse rate.
High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is recorded in the form of two numbers. The systolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts and corresponds to the highest pressure experienced in the arteries. The diastolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries just before the heart begins to contract again and corresponds to the lowest pressure in the arteries. A systolic pressure of 140 mm Hg or more, and a diastolic pressure of 90 mm Hg or more, are indicative of hypertension.
Low Pulse Rate
The heart pushes blood to all parts of the body via the arteries, which in turn expand and contract to accommodate the surge of blood. A resting pulse rate ranging from 60 to 100 is considered normal in adults, depending on the individual's levels of exercise, injury and illness.
In people with high levels of daily exercise, it is commonly seen that the blood pressure is higher than normal, yet the resting pulse rate is very low. Very low pulse rate is also a symptom for bradycardia; it can occur along with symptoms like weakness, fatigue or breathlessness. It can also be caused by low metabolism, prolonged bed rest, autoimmunity or neurological disorders. Hypertension is caused by stress, diseases like diabetes, malfunctioning of the kidneys, hormonal disorders or other cardiovascular disorders.
The symptoms for low heart rate are lethargy, breathlessness and fainting. In people who do heavy exercises, there might not be any symptoms. If there are strong symptoms, then you should immediately consult your physician. High blood pressure is also a condition that can go unnoticed until it manifests itself into situations like heart attack or stroke. Longstanding hypertension can cause failures in vital organs, internal bleeding and seizures due to swelling in the brain.
A prolonged low pulse rate can cause frequent fainting, cardiac arrest and even immediate choking and death due to the failure of the heart tissue to pump enough blood for the body. Similar complications are observed in people with longstanding and unattended hypertension. The walls of the heart and the blood vessels thicken due to high pressure and eventually cause hardening of the arteries and heart. These conditions can lead to heart attack, stroke and vital organ failure.
Blood pressure is measured with the help of a blood pressure machine. In severe cases, 24-hour blood pressure monitoring may be required. The diagnosis also includes the analysis of the organs in the body to find out the level of damage due to high blood pressure. This involves a thorough medical examination, study of medical history, electrocardiography and blood and urine tests. Low heart rate can be diagnosed with the help of tests like an electrocardiogram, electrophysiology, a Holter test and stress test.
A healthy lifestyle, with adequate exercises and a nutritious diet, is extremely essential to keep your heart in good condition. Sedentary lifestyles, obesity, smoking and drinking weaken the heart and can cause high blood pressure and low pulse rate. Stress, anger and nervousness also trigger these conditions. Alternative therapies like yoga, meditation, acupressure, acupuncture and reiki may also help in keeping blood pressure and pulse rate normal.