PERSONAL BAGGAGE
A Tale of Marriage, Medicine and Murder

What does 'Blood Pressure' mean?

Find out what Blood Pressure means. Blood Pressure is explained by Margaret McMillion - author of PERSONAL BAGGAGE

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force exerted by circulating blood upon the walls of arteries in our bodies. Systolic blood pressure, the first sound heard through a sphygmomanometer when the blood pressure cuff is released, is the pressure exerted when the heart pumps and pushes blood into the circulatory system. Diastolic pressure, noted when the thump of the heart is no longer heard, is the continuing force exerted upon the walls of arteries when the heart is at rest. Normally this is below 80. A diastolic pressure of 90 or higher is considered high blood pressure and requires a doctor’s attention. Systolic blood pressure is affected by anxiety and may vary more than diastolic, but a systolic reading of 140 or higher means you have high blood pressure and are at risk of developing heart disease.

Your body’s blood pressure and fluid balance is regulated by a hormone system triggered when your kidneys and brain detect low blood pressure in their arteries. This hormone system, called the Rennin-Angiotensin System, causes blood vessels to constrict and kidneys to save water, thereby increasing blood volume and blood pressure. Some medications for high blood pressure are aimed at controlling this system.

High blood pressure (hypertension) is largely a symptomless condition and has been called “The Silent Killer.” You may experience nervousness, sweating, facial flushing, or insomnia, but nose bleed and headache are more common in a hypertensive crisis (a medical emergency) when blood pressure reaches 180/110.

Food changes that may be beneficial to a hypertensive patient include limiting salt intake (sodium increases blood volume), drinking skim milk or 1% milk (calcium and Vitamin D together help to reduce blood pressure), and consuming heart-healthy foods full of potassium, folic acid, magnesium and soluble fiber--like spinach, beans (navy, lima, soy, pinto, and kidney), white potatoes, bananas, and dark chocolate.

Chronic low blood pressure that causes no noticeable symptoms (such as dizziness, fainting, blurred vision, nausea, clammy skin, rapid, shallow breathing, or fatigue) is not a cause for concern. But if you experience these symptoms and your blood pressure is normally higher, you must seek medical help because severely low blood pressure can deprive vital organs of oxygen and nutrients.

In Chapter 3 of PERSONAL BAGGAGE, when CCU patient Darryl Dodson (with a diagnosis of rule out heart attack) became symptomatic with low blood pressure, it was because death of heart tissue had caused rupture of the papillary muscle controlling his heart’s mitral valve and the valve was not closing properly when his heart squeezed blood out into his arteries. Blood was leaking back into the left side of his heart (mitral regurgitation) resulting in low cardiac output and decreased blood pressure.

Search result for 'Blood Pressure' in PERSONAL BAGGAGE

Chapter 3: Chapter Three
77.
"... entering fluid-filled lung tissues. Willing herself to remain calm, she checked Dodson’s vital signs. His temperature was normal, but his Blood Pressure was low and his heart and respiratory rates were high. Panic burst into her stomach and spread upward. “I’m going to increase your ..."

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Chapter 5: Chapter Five
"...Blood Pressure over-bed monitor, Penny observed her patient’s heart pattern: a little fast but with only a few irregular beats. Her Blood Pressure, temperature, and respirations were normal. She was oriented to time and place and obeyed instructions to grip Penny’s hands and pushed with the balls of both ..."

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Chapter 7: Chapter Seven
25.
"... From the couch their mother, her white hair resplendent in the dark room, her wrinkled face radiant with pleasure, stretched out her arms to them. Degenerative hip disease and low Blood Pressure made walking difficult, and she was forgetful to the point of neglecting her own personal care. ..."

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Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven
"...Blood Pressures trying to insert the long needle under a very sick patient’s collarbone to reach the subclavian blood vessel because his peripheral IV had infiltrated. The old man’s Blood Pressure was dropping, and a subclavian would have given us good IV access and helped us monitor his fluid balance ..."

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Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve
"...Blood Pressure away from the hospital the patient’s heart rate was normal, a regular rhythm in the high eighties. Penny applied the automatic Blood Pressure cuff and cycled it. The screen displayed 250/120. That couldn’t be right—way too high! She removed the automatic cuff, applied the manual ..."
"...Blood Pressureuttered but did not open. His heart pattern on the monitor was irregular and had dropped into the fifties. Penny counted his respirations at twelve-a-minute. She turned up the oxygen to six liters and cycled the automatic Blood Pressure cuff: 70/40 appeared on the screen. All ..."

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Chapter 13: Chapter Thirteen
38.
"... lungs and abdomen had shrunk, so the drug was doing its job. Mrs. Curry said, “I’m glad you’re slowing that down! Will you check my Blood Pressure again? Last time it dropped when the rash came, and then my skin peeled off.” “I’ll check it now, and when you’re ready to go to ..."
64.
"... 102, so Penny checked Dr. Benton’s standing orders. Finally, two hours later, after Phenergan, Tylenol, and Ativan, the woman was asleep and Penny fastened the automatic Blood Pressure cuff to her patient’s arm as she had promised. It was 1 a.m. when Penny joined the other two nurses ..."

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Chapter 15: Chapter Fifteen
"...Blood PressureLogan’s room with Tylenol and Benadryl for pre-medication, Penny was unprepared for the sullen expression of the puffy forty-year-old with ebony hair. The woman avoided eye contact and when Penny approached her right side to check her Blood Pressure, Lela covered her upper right arm with her left hand. ..."
36.
"... a stool specimen. “I scratch my head with this hand.” As Penny cycled the Blood Pressure machine, she detected a grey area on the pillowcase surrounding Miss Logan’s hair. She conducted the rest of her assessment in silence. Two women awaited Penny when she returned to the hall. One ..."

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Chapter 17: Chapter Seventeen
48.
"... again.” By the time Mr. Head’s lunch arrived, his breathing was irregular, and Penny could not hear his Blood Pressure. She called South Station. “Can someone take this tray to the waiting room and tell Miss Head her brother’s worse? She’d better come now.” Minutes passed ..."

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Chapter 19: Chapter Nineteen
16.
"... noisy with congestion as she breathed five liters of oxygen from a nasal cannula. “I’m going to put the cuff on your arm and check your Blood Pressure.” Penny’s voice sounded loud in the small room. “You’re here,” Maureen whispered. Penny pushed back tears. Tomorrow she ..."
46.
"... he said. Penny hustled back to the room. The fingers of Maureen’s right hand quivered and her right leg jerked as Penny discontinued the BAD drip, hung normal saline, and checked Maureen’s Blood Pressure. It was low and her skin was hot. Her temperature was 103. Penny closed the ..."

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Chapter 21: Chapter Twenty-One
62.
"... case full of jars and bottles. After Maria left the room he turned to Penny. “I need you to check my Blood Pressure again. That black woman took it and I don’t think she did it right. I feel like my pressure’s up, and I know I have a temperature.” Penny emptied his water pitcher ..."

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81.
"... shake Penny’s. She grasped Mr. Logan’s hot hand. “I’m going to take your temperature and Blood Pressure and listen to your chest. Then, if you’ll get into bed, I’ll restart your IV. I’d like to begin infusing your antibiotic so it can finish by midnight.” Maria knocked on ..."
100.
"... you? Does he know you’re up here?” “No...it’s Bob, sweetie. He’s out of jail.” Penny wrapped the Blood Pressure cuff around Flossie Mae’s arm. “I thought you meant Dr. Scales.” “Well, yeah, that’s another reason I shouldn’t be here,” Flossie Mae said. “I have ..."
"...Blood Pressureasleep when Penny looked in on him at 2 a.m. She entered the room next door to check Flossie Mae’s Blood Pressure. “It’s normal now,” she told her. “I’m setting the machine to cycle every two hours. Do you think you can sleep with the cuff ..."
179.
"... took a load off me. Is Ma any better?” “She’s not moving as much, and she doesn’t talk. They told us in Report that her doctor’s waiting to make sure her Blood Pressure’s under control before he sends her back to the nursing home.” “If she doesn’t go back today, I’ll see ..."

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"Margaret McMillion's PERSONAL BAGGAGE is a very entertaining story of professional life within a corrupt medical community, and the toll..."

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