Blood Pressure Thats Too Low
Low blood pressure is known as hypotension. In adults, a blood pressure reading of 90/60 mm Hg or below is often considered hypotension. This can be dangerous because blood pressure that is too low doesnt supply your body and heart with enough oxygenated blood.
Some potential causes of hypotension can include:
- heart problems
Checking Blood Pressure At Home
Keeping track of blood pressure at home is important for many people, especially if you have high blood pressure. This helps you and your doctor find out if your treatment is working.
Your doctor may also suggest that you check your pressure at home if they think you may have “white coat hypertension.” It’s a real condition. The stress of being in a doctor’s office raises your blood pressure, but when you’re home, it’s normal.
Ask your doctor to recommend an easy-to-use home blood pressure monitor. Make sure the cuff fits properly. If your arm is too big for the cuff, the reading may be higher than your blood pressure really is. Ask your doctor for a larger cuff or make sure you buy a home monitor with a cuff that fits you.
You also can use a wrist blood pressure monitor, but they often aren’t as accurate. Follow the directions that come with the device to make sure you are using it correctly.
No matter which type of blood pressure monitor you have, it’s a good idea to take it to your doctor’s office. You can compare its reading to the numbers your doctor gets. Avoid caffeine, cigarettes, and exercise for at least 30 minutes before the test.
When you take your blood pressure at home, sit up straight in a chair and put both feet on the floor. Ask your doctor or nurse to show you the right way to position your arm so you get accurate readings.
What Should I Do If My Blood Sugar Gets Too Low
Low blood sugar is also called hypoglycemia . It means your blood sugar level drops below 70. Having low blood sugar is dangerous and needs to be treated right away. Anyone with diabetes can have low blood sugar. You have a greater chance of having low blood sugar if you take insulin or certain pills for diabetes.
Carry supplies for treating low blood sugar with you. If you feel shaky, sweaty, or very hungry, check your blood sugar. Even if you feel none of these things, but think you may have low blood sugar, check it.
If your meter shows that your blood sugar is lower than 70, do one of the following things right away:
- chew 4 glucose tablets
- drink 4 ounces of fruit juice
- drink 4 ounces of regular soda, not diet soda or
- chew 4 pieces of hard candy
After taking one of these treatments, wait for 15 minutes, then check your blood sugar again. Repeat these steps until your blood sugar is 70 or above. After your blood sugar gets back up to 70 or more, eat a snack if your next meal is 1 hour or more away.
If you often have low blood sugar, check your blood sugar before driving and treat it if it is low.
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How Do You Know If Youre Hypertensive
Hypertension is a symptomless condition this means the only way to know if you have it, is to regularly take a blood pressure measurement. If you see your blood pressure reading between 120-129 and 80-84 this is perfect and within the normal range.
The definition of high blood pressure, according to the European Society of Hypertension, is anything above 140/90 mmHg. But for home monitoring where we are likely to be more relaxed, the limit is slightly lower at 135/85.If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 140/90, you might be at risk or you might already be hypertensive. It is important to bring it under control and share the results with your GP so that they can help you with a proper treatment plan.
Remember that you can get readings at home, but only a doctor can make a proper diagnosis of hypertension.
Avoid Common Errors While Taking Multiple Readings In A Row
Avoid these common errors 5 while resting in between measurements:
- Checking the latest stock market prices.
- Reading or watching the news.
- Getting out of your chair to do a task quickly.
- Changing your body position like crossing your legs or slouching.
- Taking a quick drink or snacking on some food close by.
- Anything other than sitting quietly and remaining relaxed.
In addition to those activities to avoid, prior to starting the first reading make sure to do the following 6:
- Dont exercise within 30 minutes.
- Dont eat or drink within 30 minutes.
- Avoid all caffeine 30 minutes prior to measuring.
- Dont smoke 30 minutes prior.
- Empty your bladder prior to measuring your blood pressure or make sure youre not experiencing the urge to use the bathroom.
- Wear comfortable clothes including short sleeve shirts.
- Sit in an upright chair with your back resting against the chair.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor and dont cross your legs.
- Wrap the cuff around your bare skin and not over clothing, including thin material.
- Maintain your arm in the correct position and the cuff at heart level.
If theres any doubt about how to position your arm 7 or to achieve heart level, please refer to my blog post and refresh yourself on these two crucial details, Effect of Arm Position on Blood Pressure.
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How Long Should You Wait Between Blood Pressure Readings In A Row
When taking multiple blood pressure readings in a row, there should be one minute between each reading. The one-minute rest prevents prolonged compression of the blood pressure cuff on your blood vessels and skin. In addition, it allows your body to relax again while waiting for the next measurement.
Im sure youve heard how you should have five minutes of quiet time before measuring your blood pressure 3. Its important to note, during the minute breaks between readings, you should be practicing the same quiet time.
During the one minute, dont perform other activities to help pass the time. I know it can be time consuming to sit in a chair quietly for about 10 minutes in total time. That includes the five minutes before measuring, the time it takes the monitor to measure and the one minute rests in between. Remaining calm and quiet for the whole time is important for the process.
When To Call Your Doctor
The risks of both high and low blood pressure make monitoring your blood pressure at home essential to your overall health and well-being. Both Dr. Wong and Dr. Desai recommend calling your healthcare provider if your self-monitored blood pressure readings are greater than 180/120 mmHgeven if you have no other symptoms.
You should call 911 if these blood pressure readings are associated with symptoms of organ damage, such as headache, vision changes, weakness, numbness, chest pain or shortness of breath, says Dr. Wong.
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What Does Blood Pressure Tell You
Blood pressure measures the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries, or blood vessels. Your heart pumps blood into your arteries. And the arteries carry that blood to the rest of your body.
The top number of your blood pressure reading tells you the force of the blood against artery walls when your heart beats. It is called systolic pressure. The bottom number tells you what your blood pressure is when your heart is at rest between heartbeats. It is called diastolic pressure.
What Are The Treatments For High Blood Pressure
You will work with your provider to come up with a treatment plan. It may include only the lifestyle changes. These changes, such as heart-healthy eating and exercise, can be very effective. But sometimes the changes do not control or lower your high blood pressure. Then you may need to take medicine. There are different types of blood pressure medicines. Some people need to take more than one type.
If your high blood pressure is caused by another medical condition or medicine, treating that condition or stopping the medicine may lower your blood pressure.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
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How To Average 3 Blood Pressure Readings
The guidelines recommend averaging two to three readings, and youve decided to follow the recommendation. You may ask yourself, how to average 3 blood pressure readings?
Average the 3 blood pressure readings by recording each of the three. Add all three of the readings and divide the total by three. The answer is the average of the three readings and should be recorded along with the 3 measurements.
Some people wonder if they should throw out the first reading because it was higher than the other two. It shouldnt be thrown out and all three readings should be saved and recorded. Others save the best of the 3 blood pressure readings only, this should not be done either 4.
Its a good idea to label which reading is the first, second and third. If you have a monitor that saves the measurements in the machine or on a phone app, it automatically saves the times. This will tell you which measurement is which.
Should The First Blood Pressure Reading Be Discarded
If you prepared properly for your blood pressure measurements, the first reading should be undiscarded. All blood pressure readings should be recorded and shown to your physician. Blood pressure should be based on an average of readings from two or more occasions.
Sometimes people dont prepare properly for the first reading like skipping the five minutes of quiet time. In this situation the first reading wouldnt be a true indication and shouldnt have been taken in the first place.
Even though youre taking two or three measurements youll probably get different blood pressure readings within minutes 4. If you followed all the steps listed above, the readings shouldnt differ too much. Record all the readings in the following manner:
- On your monitor if it keeps a record for you.
- On your BP phone app. My monitor connects to my phone BP app and transmits all the readings to my phone. It keeps track of the readings, dates and times. It also organizes them into handy charts and allows me to email them to my physician. I absolutely love this feature, and its included with the monitor! My monitor is made by Welch Allyn, you can read my complete, detailed review by clicking here, Welch Allyn 1700 Series Home Monitor.
- You can also jot it down on paper or a blood pressure log. It doesnt really matter how you record them, as long as you do.
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Heart Attack And Heart Disease
High blood pressure can damage your arteries by making them less elastic, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and leads to heart disease. In addition, decreased blood flow to the heart can cause:
- Chest pain, also called angina.
- Heart attack, which happens when the blood supply to your heart is blocked and heart muscle begins to die without enough oxygen. The longer the blood flow is blocked, the greater the damage to the heart.
- Heart failure, a condition that means your heart cant pump enough blood and oxygen to your other organs.
What Is Body Temperature
The normal body temperature of a person varies depending on gender, recent activity, food and fluid consumption, time of day, and, in women, the stage of the menstrual cycle. Normal body temperature can range from 97.8 degrees F to 99 degrees F for a healthy adult. A person’s body temperature can be taken in any of the following ways:
Orally. Temperature can be taken by mouth using either the classic glass thermometer, or the more modern digital thermometers that use an electronic probe to measure body temperature.
Rectally. Temperatures taken rectally tend to be 0.5 to 0.7 degrees F higher than when taken by mouth.
Axillary. Temperatures can be taken under the arm using a glass or digital thermometer. Temperatures taken by this route tend to be 0.3 to 0.4 degrees F lower than those temperatures taken by mouth.
A special thermometer can quickly measure the temperature of the ear drum, which reflects the body’s core temperature .
A special thermometer can quickly measure the temperature of the skin on the forehead.
Body temperature may be abnormal due to fever or hypothermia . A fever is indicated when body temperature rises about one degree or more over the normal temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Hypothermia is defined as a drop in body temperature below 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Who Is At Greater Risk For Developing High Blood Pressure
- Those with a relative who has high blood pressure.
- Those over 65.
- Women are at greater risk than men.
- African Americans, particularly if the disease runs in the family.
- Those leading a sedentary lifestyle.
- Those who eat too much salt.
A blood pressure evaluation should be a part of everyones yearly physical.
What Are Vital Signs
Vital signs are measurements of the body’s most basic functions. The four main vital signs routinely monitored by medical professionals and health care providers include the following:
Vital signs are useful in detecting or monitoring medical problems. Vital signs can be measured in a medical setting, at home, at the site of a medical emergency, or elsewhere.
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Taking Your Pulse Versus Checking Your Blood Pressure
While both are indications of health, blood pressure and heart rate are two separate measurements. Learn more about the difference between blood pressure and heart rate.
Systolic is less than 120 and my diastolic is less than 80
Systolic is 120 129 and my diastolic is less than 80
The good news is that you dont have high blood pressure. However, your numbers fall within the Elevated category, making you more likely to develop high blood pressure unless you take action to control it. Ready to make some small changes that have big impacts? Healthy lifestyle choices are a great place to start.
Systolic is 130 139 or my diastolic is 80 89
You are in the first stage of hypertension, but there are actions you can take to get your blood pressure under control. Your doctor will speak to you about small changes that can make a big difference and other BP Raisers. In addition, monitoring blood pressure outside of the doctors office is important for BP control.
Systolic is 140 or higher or my diastolic is 90 or higher
Systolic is higher than 180 and/or my diastolic is higher than 120
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.
How To Use A Home Blood Pressure Monitor
- Be still. Don’t smoke, drink caffeinated beverages or exercise within 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure. Empty your bladder and ensure at least 5 minutes of quiet rest before measurements.
- Sit correctly.Sit with your back straight and supported . Your feet should be flat on the floor and your legs should not be crossed. Your arm should be supported on a flat surface with the upper arm at heart level. Make sure the bottom of the cuff is placed directly above the bend of the elbow. Check your monitor’s instructions for an illustration or have your healthcare provider show you how.
- Measure at the same time every day. Its important to take the readings at the same time each day, such as morning and evening. It is best to take the readings daily however ideally beginning 2 weeks after a change in treatment and during the week before your next appointment.
- Take multiple readings and record the results. Each time you measure, take two or three readings one minute apart and record the results using a tracker. If your monitor has built-in memory to store your readings, take it with you to your appointments. Some monitors may also allow you to upload your readings to a secure website after you register your profile.
- Don’t take the measurement over clothes.
|and/or||HIGHER THAN 120|
Note: A diagnosis of high blood pressure must be confirmed with a medical professional. A doctor should also evaluate any unusually low blood pressure readings.
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Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is known as the silent killer because it typically has no symptoms. In fact, most people dont even realize they have hypertension until their blood pressure is monitored.
Symptoms dont develop until the numbers get very high and organs get damaged, often irreversibly, says Dr. Desai.
If you have severe hypertension, you might notice the below symptoms, some of which were reported by patients in a study in the British Journal of General PracticeGoodhart A. Hypertension from the patients perspective. British Journal of General Practice. 2016 66:570. :
- Rapid heart rate
Why Do I Need To Know My Blood Sugar Numbers
Your blood sugar numbers show how well your diabetes is managed. And managing your diabetes means that you have less chance of having serious health problems, such as kidney disease and vision loss.
As you check your blood sugar, you can see what makes your numbers go up and down. For example, you may see that when you are stressed or eat certain foods, your numbers go up. And, you may see that when you take your medicine and are active, your numbers go down. This information lets you know what is working for you and what needs to change.
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