Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
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This video will help you understand how blood pressure is controlled in your body.
Blood pressure is the amount of force caused by blood pressing against the walls of your arteries.
It is tightly controlled to ensure sufficient blood reaches all parts of your body.
Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from your heart to your tissues.
This blood supplies your tissues with the oxygen and nutrients they need to function.
In your heart, there are two lower chambers called ventricles, which contract with each heartbeat.
The right ventricle pushes oxygen-poor blood to your lungs to pick up oxygen, and the left ventricle pushes oxygen-rich blood through your arteries to your body.
As blood flows through your arteries, four main factors affect the pressure on the artery walls.
The first is the amount of blood your ventricles push out of your heart each minute, also known as cardiac output.
Your blood pressure goes up as cardiac output increases.
The second factor affecting your blood pressure is the total amount of blood in your body or blood volume.
Blood pressure also goes up as blood volume increases.
The third fact that affects your blood pressure is resistance. Resistance is anything working against the blood flow through your arteries.
Resistance is mainly affected by the width of your arteries.
Your body is able to increase the width of your arteries to lower your blood pressure,
or it can reduce the width to raise your blood pressure.
The fourth factor that affects your blood pressure is viscosity. Viscosity is how thick your blood is.
In your blood, more particles such as proteins and fat, increase viscosity.
If your blood is thicker, your blood pressure goes up as your heart works harder to push it through your arteries.
If you have questions about high blood pressure or any medications you have been prescribed, speak with your doctor.
It is important to take your medications as directed, and report any side effects you have.