What Does Your Blood Pressure Reading Mean
It’s normal for your blood pressure to rise and fall. Research shows that blood pressure has short-term fluctuations throughout the day and long-term fluctuations over time.¹ Your blood pressure can fluctuate with every heartbeat. Thus, they can change every minute, day, week, month, year, and depending on the season.
For this reason, most doctors consider the results of several blood pressure readings before making a diagnosis. Typically, your doctor will average two or more readings from several visits before determining if your blood pressure could be an issue. In some cases, they may also ask that you track your blood pressure at home to ensure the most accurate results.
Several factors can affect your blood pressure, including the anxiety of visiting a doctor. However, in a healthy person, blood pressure always stays within a normal range. For most adults, normal blood pressure is a systolic pressure of less than 120 with a diastolic pressure of less than 80, or 120/80. Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, is a reading lower than 90/60, while high blood pressure, or hypertension, is defined as a reading higher than 130/80.
Older adults sometimes develop an issue known as isolated systolic hypertension, where their systolic pressure is 130 or higher, while their diastolic pressure remains below 80. This common blood pressure issue is age-related and caused by stiffening of the major arteries.
Ambulatory blood pressure measurement
How Long Can One Check Blood Pressure After Eating
How long can one check blood pressure after eating
- How long can one check blood pressure after eating
- You may want to wait until an hour after smoking, eating, or drinking coffee or cola, to take a reading. ChaCha!
Best Tablet For High Blood Pressure
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When To Contact A Medical Professional
If low blood pressure causes a person to pass out , seek treatment right away. Or call 911 or the local emergency number. If the person is not breathing or has no pulse, begin CPR.
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Hypotension Blood pressure – low Postprandial hypotension Orthostatic hypotension Neurally mediated hypotension NMH
Medications That Can Cause Low Blood Pressure
Some medications can cause low blood pressure, including:
- Water pills , such as furosemide and hydrochlorothiazide
- Alpha blockers, such as prazosin
- Beta blockers, such as atenolol and propranolol
- Drugs for Parkinson’s disease, such as pramipexole or those containing levodopa
- Certain types of antidepressants , including doxepin and imipramine
- Drugs for erectile dysfunction, including sildenafil or tadalafil , particularly when taken with the heart medication nitroglycerin
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Foods And Drinks Containing Caffeine
Foods and beverages containing caffeine may cause a rise in blood pressure. However, studies into the effects of caffeine on blood pressure are inconclusive. suggests that coffee temporarily raises blood pressure only in people who do not drink it regularly.
Other foods and drinks that contain caffeine include chocolate, tea, cocoa, and some sodas and energy drinks.
How Common Is Postprandial Hypotension
It may sound surprising, but postprandial hypotension is a very common condition often found in the elderly aged 60 and above. If you have a parent or an elderly person at home constantly complaining about severe tiredness, dizziness within 1 or 2 hours after consuming a meal, its time to record their blood pressure regularly at least 3 days before seeing a doctor.
If the readings are around 100/60 or even 90/60, for at least 3 consecutive days, especially after eating seek medical intervention.
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What Is Postprandial Hypotension
Postprandial in a layman term means after the meal, whereas hypotension stands for low blood pressure. Blood pressure is defined as the force of blood flow against the walls of arteries when heart beats and supplies blood to rest of the body. A drop in systolic blood pressure of up to 20mmHg within 2 hours after consuming a meal is defined as postprandial hypotension.
Normally, the blood pressure keeps changing, depending on what you are doing at the given point of time. It may go temporarily higher during workouts, intense physical activity but lowers during sleep, also known as resting phase. While high blood pressure can cause various cardiovascular health issues, low blood pressure too is equally dangerous and may lead to serious health complications including fainting, loss of consciousness and could be fatal.
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Increase In Blood Pressure After Eating
If blood pressure goes up after eating or blood pressure drops after eating, it can be a little unsettling however, having a better understanding of the digestive process and how pressure can change can put minds at ease.
While there are a lot of factors that impact blood pressure, including the thickness of blood vessels and arteries and flow of blood, our digestive system also plays an important role. When we eat, our bodies need to break down the food. In order for this to happen, we need oxygen to help release digestive acids and enzymes. This means that oxygenated blood must flow to the blood vessels in the gut.
During this process, the body is telling the heart more blood is needed in the gastric system , so naturally, there is going to be a faster cardiac output. This may account for a blood pressure increase after eating. The kind of food we eat can also impact blood pressure. For instance, oil, butter, and other foods that contain fat can decrease blood flow, thus increasing cardiac output. Additionally, foods that are high in sodium lead to more pressure on the heart and lungs. Adding to this is the water retention that sodium causes. Extra water also puts pressure on lungs and the heart. Research has long demonstrated that a low fiber, high fat diet impacts blood flow and therefore affects blood pressure.
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What Are The Other Factors That Can Drop Blood Pressure
A rapid drop in blood pressure can be dangerous and it needs immediate medical attention. If you think that your hypotension is not related to eating, check for the following underlying reasons:
- Heart valve disease
- Thyroid gland dysfunction
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency
In case, if you find the above symptoms relevant to your condition, talk to your doctor for a complete diagnosis.
Diagnosis Of Orthostatic Hypotension
- Medical history, including medical conditions and drugs taken on a regular basis
- Physical examination
- Measuring blood pressure when lying down versus standing up
- Blood tests to check, for example, blood sugars or adrenal hormones
- Echocardiography, an imaging scan of the heart, to check for certain heart conditions
- Other tests, depending on individual factors.
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Can Taking Blood Pressure Too Much Hurt You
As long as you use your blood pressure monitor as designed, taking your blood pressure too often should not hurt you. A home monitor releases the pressure in the cuff slower than a standard measurement at your doctors office. This can feel uncomfortable and possibly leave a mark on your skin. This is more likely to happen if you take your pressure too often or if your cuff size is too small.
Its possible, in people who are at increased risk for capillary fragility, to experience a condition called tourniquet-induced petechiae. After prolonged compression of a blood pressure cuff, a red rash or red dots, can appear on the skin . Although rare, this condition has occurred to patients in a hospital after repeated blood pressure readings during monitoring or surgery.
The following are ways to prevent petechiae:
- Dont take your blood pressure unnecessarily.
- Use the right size cuff.
- Position the cuff properly on your arm.
- Follow the instructions in your monitor manual.
In addition, taking your pressure too often can set back your blood pressure goals. This can hurt your progress, which leads me to the topic further down, When Not To Take Blood Pressure.
How Is Orthostatic Hypotension Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will check your blood pressure while youre seated, lying down and standing. Theyll examine you and ask questions about your medical history.
You may also get one or more of these tests:
- Blood tests to check for conditions like diabetes and anemia.
- Echocardiogram to check your hearts pumping action.
- Electrocardiogram to test for heart rhythm changes.
- Exercise stress test to measure heart rate during physical exertion.
- Portable EKG devices to measure heart rhythm.
- Tilt table test to safely measure blood pressure, heart rate and heart rhythm while you lie on a table that moves from horizontal to vertical.
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Some Other Surprising Reasons Your Blood Pressure Might Be High
High blood pressure can have many contributing factors but is classified as one of two types.
Primary hypertension, also called essential hypertension, is the most common type of high blood pressure and develops gradually over many years. However, for most adults, there is no identifiable cause.
Secondary hypertension is high blood pressure resulting from an underlying condition. This type of high blood pressure typically occurs in patients under 30 years of age and is more resistant to blood pressure treatments. Secondary hypertension can be the result of various conditions and medications, including:
Renal artery stenosis
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In addition to medical conditions, your blood pressure can read high for many other reasons. If you monitor your blood pressure at home, you should avoid tobacco, caffeine, and food for at least 30 minutes before you take your blood pressure.
When you are ready to measure your blood pressure, find a comfortable spot where you can sit quietly for a few minutes. Sit with your legs and ankles uncrossed and your back supported against a chair. Stay calm and relaxed and not think of stressful things. Avoid talking while measuring your blood pressure. Also, use the bathroom first because a full bladder can slightly increase your blood pressure.
Best Time Of Day To Take Blood Pressure Medications
Labels on prescription drugs often tell you to take a tablet âonce a dayâ without specifying the best time of day to take themand in some cases timing doesnât matter. With blood pressure medications, however, it can matter when you take them. The best time of day to take blood pressure drugs varies depending on which ones you take , as well on your reason for taking them and any other health issues you may have.
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Lifestyle And Home Remedies
Depending on the reason for low blood pressure, the following steps might help reduce or prevent symptoms.
- Drink more water, less alcohol. Alcohol is dehydrating and can lower blood pressure, even if drinking in moderation. Water increases the amount of blood in the body and prevents dehydration.
Pay attention to body positions. Gently move from lying flat or squatting to a standing position. Don’t sit with legs crossed.
If symptoms of low blood pressure begin while standing, cross the thighs like a pair of scissors and squeeze. Or put one foot on a ledge or chair and lean as far forward as possible. These moves encourage blood flow from the legs to the heart.
Eat small, low-carb meals. To help prevent blood pressure from dropping sharply after meals, eat small meals several times a day. Limit high-carbohydrate foods such as potatoes, rice, pasta and bread.
A health care provider also might recommend drinking one or two strong cups of caffeinated coffee or tea with breakfast. Caffeine can cause dehydration, however, so be sure to drink plenty of water and other fluids without caffeine.
- Exercise regularly. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. Avoid exercising in hot, humid conditions.
Causes Of Overall Low Blood Pressure
There are several common causes of overall hypotension, which would include a low diastolic number.
- Overtreatment of high blood pressure. For some people, especially people over age 60, lowering systolic blood pressure below 120 may cause diastolic pressure to fall below 60.
- Other medications. Many medications besides those for blood pressure can cause hypotension. They include:
- drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction
- Heart problems. Heart valve problems, heart failure, and a very slow heart rate can lead to hypotension.
- Dehydration. If you dont take in enough fluids, your blood pressure can fall dangerously low. This may happen if youre taking a diuretic and lose more fluids than you take in.
Treatment for low diastolic blood pressure largely depends on the type of hypotension. Your doctor will assess this closely to determine the appropriate treatment plan.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Orthostatic Hypotension
If youre prone to orthostatic hypotension, these steps can reduce symptoms:
- Keep your temperature moderate: Dont take very hot baths or showers.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water, limit alcohol and avoid heavy, high-carbohydrate meals.
- Dont sleep flat: Elevate your head at night by using more pillows or tilting the mattress.
- Prepare before standing: Give yourself more time to move into a standing position after sitting or lying down. Have something sturdy nearby to hold onto when you stand up.
- Move your muscles: March your feet if you must stand for prolonged periods. Do isometric exercises to raise blood pressure before standing.
- Improve blood circulation and pressure: Wear compression stockings or an abdominal binder .
Causes Of Orthostatic Hypotension
- Some medications, such as some diuretics or antihypertensive medications
- Dehydration due to vomiting, diarrhoea or both, as in gastroenteritis
- Certain conditions, such as anaemia, diabetes, varicose veins or adrenal insufficiency
- Nervous system disease, such as Parkinsons disease or neuropathy
- Heart problems, including irregular heart beat , congestive heart failure, aortic stenosis or heart attack
- Spinal cord conditions such as syringomyelia
- Shy Drager syndrome, a degenerative disorder of the brain and spinal cord that affects functioning of the autonomic nervous system
- Significant blood loss.
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How To Measure Your Blood Pressure At Home Using A Home Monitor
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Dizzy After Eating Feeling Lightheaded From A Meal Could Be Postprandial Hypotension
What is postprandial hypotension? Do you sometimes feel dizzy or lightheaded after eating a meal? If so, you could have a common condition called postprandial hypotension that affects up to one-third of older men and women.
Digestion is a complicated job that requires precise coordination between the digestive, nervous, and circulatory systems. An early task is rerouting extra blood to the stomach and small intestine. To compensate for this diversion, the heart beats faster and harder while blood vessels far from the digestive system narrow. These two actions maintain blood pressure and blood flow to the brain, legs, and everywhere in between.
In some people, the heart and blood vessels don’t respond as they should. That causes blood pressure to decrease everywhere but the digestive system. The sudden drop usually announces itself as dizziness or lightheadedness. Postprandial hypotension causes some people to fall, others to faint. It can trigger the chest pain known as angina, disturb vision, or cause nausea. It has even been reported to trigger the mini-strokes known as transient ischemic attacks.
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