Everyone Has Blood Pressure Our Blood Pressure Is Simply The Amount Of Work That Our Hearts Have To Do To Pump Our Blood Around The Body
What is blood pressure, exactly?
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. If its not treated or kept under control, it is one of the major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Treatment and detection is very possible but it starts with you.
Blood pressure is measured by two numbers
The first number records blood pressure when the pressure is at its highest i.e. when the heart muscle squeezes out the blood this is called systolic pressure.
The second number is when the heart relaxes and allows the blood to flow back into the heart this is called diastolic pressure.
Whats the normal level?
The normal level of blood pressure is usually about 120 over 80 . If your blood pressure is 140 over 90 or higher you should discuss this reading with your doctor.
Why is blood pressure important
The higher your blood pressure, the greater your risk of heart attack or stroke, heart failure, kidney failure and poor circulation in your legs. These problems can be avoided if your blood pressure is controlled.
Over half of all adults in Ireland over 45 years of age have high blood pressure. About 4 in every 5 men and 2 in every 3 women with high blood pressure are not being treated. Keep reading and well help change that.
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, it means your blood pressure is consistently higher than it should be. Thankfully, there are several ways to help reduce it which we will talk you through below.
Are there any signs or causes?
Understanding Blood Pressure What Is It
Your blood pressure reading is a measurement of the pressure your blood applies across your artery walls. Your blood pressure changes a little throughout the day when you relax, your blood pressure lowers, and when you move around or feel stress, your blood pressure increases. But high blood pressure over a long term is associated with serious health risks, including heart, brain, and eye damage. Likewise, chronic low blood pressure sometimes comes with health risks. Fortunately, there are helpful ways to manage both high and low blood pressure.
What Is A Healthy Blood Pressure
When the heart is squeezing blood into the arteries, the pressure is high. When the heart is relaxed, the pressure is lower.
Your blood pressure is a measurement taken of the highest reading and the lowest reading . It is given as 2 figures highest over lowest or systolic over diastolic. Blood pressure is measured in mmHg, which refers to millimetres of mercury.
Your blood pressure varies from day to day, even moment to moment. Most doctors would say that a healthy blood pressure is higher than 90/60 mmHg but lower than about 140/90.
You May Like: What Does A Hypertension Headache Feel Like
Variations In Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure changes to meet your bodys needs. If a reading is high, your doctor may measure your blood pressure again on several separate occasions to confirm the level.
Your doctor may also recommend that you measure your blood pressure at home or have a 24-hour recording with a monitoring device.
Blood Pressure Readings Explained
What do the numbers mean?
Everyone would like to have healthy blood pressure. But what exactly does that mean?
When your doctor takes your blood pressure, its expressed as a measurement with two numbers, with one number on top and one on the bottom , like a fraction. For example, 120/80 mm Hg.
The top number refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscle. This is called systolic pressure.
The bottom number refers to your blood pressure when your heart muscle is between beats. This is called diastolic pressure.
Both numbers are important in determining the state of your heart health.
Numbers greater than the ideal range indicate that your heart is working too hard to pump blood to the rest of your body.
Also Check: How To Get Blood Pressure Down Fast
What Are The Causes Of High Blood Pressure
Elevated blood pressure increases your risk of chronic high blood pressure as you age. Taking steps to manage your blood pressure helps decrease this risk.
There are also some health conditions that increase your risks of chronic high blood pressure, including obesity and diabetes. Other causes include:
- Genetics/family history
- Lack of exercise
- Alcohol or tobacco abuse
As adults age, their odds of high blood pressure increase, with 90% of Americans forecasted to develop high blood pressure in their lifetimes. Black people tend to develop high blood pressure more often and earlier in life compared to white people. Hispanics, Asians, American Indians, and Pacific Islanders also stand an increased risk of high blood pressure compared to other ethnicities.
What Are The Risks If It Is Too High Or Too Low
If your blood pressure is too high – which is known as hypertension -, it puts extra strain on your arteries and this may lead to heart attacks and strokes.
For the most part, the lower your blood pressure the better.
However, if you experience symptoms of dizziness, nausea, fainting and dehydration, then low blood pressure may be a problem.
If you experience any of those symptoms, it’s best to see your GP.
You May Like: When Is Blood Pressure Too Low
How Can You Manage Your High Blood Pressure
Treatment of high blood pressure often starts with lifestyle changes, including decreasing salt in your diet, losing weight if necessary, stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol use, and regular exercise.
In addition to lifestyle changes, medications are often used to lower blood pressure. There are several types of medications that treat high blood pressure with each type of medication having benefits and risks that should be carefully weighed by you and your health care provider. Most people take more than one medication in order to bring their blood pressure down to their treatment goal.
Your blood pressure medication should begin to work within days. However, because high blood pressure is a long-lasting medical condition that often has little or no symptoms, remembering to take your medications can be a challenge. Combination medicines, long-acting or once-a-day medications, may be used to decrease the burden of taking numerous medications and help ensure medications regularly. Once started, the medication should be used until your doctor tells you to stop.
Controlling your blood pressure should be part of a healthy living plan and lifelong task. The damage that high blood pressure causes your internal organs does not cause any symptoms until serious damage has been done.
What Are The Different Types Of High Blood Pressure
There are two main types of high blood pressure: primary and secondary high blood pressure.
- Primary, or essential, high blood pressure is the most common type of high blood pressure. For most people who get this kind of blood pressure, it develops over time as you get older.
- Secondary high blood pressure is caused by another medical condition or use of certain medicines. It usually gets better after you treat that condition or stop taking the medicines that are causing it.
Recommended Reading: Low Blood Pressure Causes Heart Attack
What Is The Safest Blood Pressure Medicine For The Elderly
Angiotensin Receptor Blockers ARBs are considered the alternative first-line treatment for hypertension in the elderly population when a diuretic is contraindicated. In elderly hypertensive patients with diabetes or HF, ARBs are considered first-line treatment and an alternative to ACE inhibitors.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure
For years we have been told that a normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 however, more and more doctors have now lowered these numbers to 115/75. Blood pressure is different for everyone as many factors can have an effect on the numbers.
Our blood pressure refers to the amount of force behind the blood as it hits the arterial walls. As the heart pumps the blood, an ideal pressure sees the blood push against the walls that are flexible enough to expand and retract easily. Over time, our age, diet, and physical activity play a role on the elasticity of our blood vessels. With a loss of flexibility due to hardening of the walls, the heart needs to work harder to push the blood.
These factors determine the blood pressure numbers. The systolic number is the top number, and it indicates the pressure as the heart beats or pushes the blood throughout the body. The diastolic number is the bottom number, and refers to the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. During this time, the heart receives oxygen as it fills with blood.
Recommended Reading: Mayo Blood Pressure
Your Blood Pressure Numbers And What They Mean
Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.
- Diastolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
Chart: What Are Normal Blood Pressure Ranges By Age For Women
As with men, women’s average BP ranges also vary by age group. The age group with the lowest normal blood pressure reading is different between the systolic and diastolic reading. Women ages 21-25 have the lowest normal diastolic reading , while women age 31-35 have the lowest normal systolic reading . The age group with the highest normal blood pressure reading is women ages 56-60 .
Also Check: What Animal Has The Highest Blood Pressure
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 Causes High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure usually develops over time. It can happen because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as not getting enough regular physical activity. Certain health conditions, such as diabetes and having obesity, can also increase the risk for developing high blood pressure. High blood pressure can also happen during pregnancy.
You can manage your blood pressure to lower your risk for serious health problems that may affect your heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes.
Also Check: How To Calibrate Omron Blood Pressure Machine
Dangers Of High Blood Pressure
Dangers of untreated high blood pressure include stroke, heart attack, heart failure, vision loss, kidney failure, vascular dementia and sexual dysfunction, says Dr. Desai. Its one of the top risk factors for developing atrial fibrillation, which is the most common heart rhythm disorder worldwide and can lead to stroke, heart failure and reduced quality of life.
Signs And Symptoms Of Hypertension
Often, kids and teens with pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension wont show any symptoms at all. If your child has stage 2 hypertension, she might experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- abdominal pain
- breathing problems
An infant with stage 2 hypertension may seem irritable, not be feeding properly, or vomiting. Sometimes these infants are diagnosed with failure to thrive.
You May Like: Claritan Blood Pressure
Salt Intake And High Blood Pressure
Reducing the amount of salt you eat can also help to manage or even avoid high blood pressure. To help reduce your salt intake:
- Ensure your diet consists of wholefoods including vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, lean meat and poultry, fish and seafood, legumes, unsalted nuts and seeds.
- Avoid packaged and processed foods that are high in salt. You cant see the salt in these foods, so you dont know how much salt you are having. Get into the habit of checking food labels.
- Choose low-salt food where possible. If you cant find low-salt products, those with moderate amounts of salt are ok too. Another simple alternative is to look for labels with low salt, salt reduced or no added salt.
- Avoid adding salt to cooking or at the table flavour meals with herbs and spices instead.
Which Number Is More Important
Typically, more attention is given to systolic blood pressure as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50. In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to the increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term buildup of plaque and an increased incidence of cardiac and vascular disease.
However, either an elevated systolic or an elevated diastolic blood pressure reading may be used to make a diagnosis of high blood pressure. According to recent studies, the risk of death from ischemic heart disease and stroke doubles with every 20 mm Hg systolic or 10 mm Hg diastolic increase among people from age 40 to 89.
You May Like: What Are The Symptoms For High Blood Pressure
What Is A Normal Blood Pressure Reading
The ideal blood pressure should be below 120 and over 80 and most UK adults have blood pressure in the range 120 over 80 to 140 over 90 .
The higher number is the systolic pressure, which is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.
The lower number is the diastolic pressure, the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
Blood Pressure By Age
1 to 5 years 95/65mmHg 6 to 13 years 105/70mmHg 14 to 19 years 117/77mmHg
20 to 24 years 120/79mmHg 25 to 29 years 121/80mmHg 30 to 34 years 122/81mmHg 35 to 39 years 123/82mmHg 40 to 44 years 125/83mmHg 45 to 49 years 127/84mmHg 50 to 54 years 129/85mmHg 55 to 59 years 131/86mmHg 60 to 64 years 134/87mmHg
You can only know for certain if your blood pressure is too high by getting it checked, the tests are quick and easy so if you think you could be at risk its worth booking a check-up with your GP.
You May Like: Claritin D And Blood Pressure
Regulation Of Blood Pressure
These different mechanisms are not necessarily independent of each other, as indicated by the link between the RAS and aldosterone release. When blood pressure falls many physiological cascades commence in order to return the blood pressure to a more appropriate level.
The Blood Pressure Chart
Once you know your numbers, you can use the blood pressure chart to see what they mean and if your blood pressure is in the healthy range. The chart is suitable for adults of any age, as the cut-off point for diagnosing high blood pressure doesnt change with age.
How to use the blood pressure chart
Simply find your top number on the left side of the chart and your bottom number on the bottom. Where the two lines meet is your blood pressure.
Get ready for Christmas early with our range of beautiful cards, wrapping paper and gifts including personalised notebooks. Whether you’re looking for something traditional or modern, we’re sure you will find something you love. Shop now at Care Cards who will post the items on our behalf. 25% goes to fund our life-saving work.
Recommended Reading: Diastolic Blood Pressure Treatment
Whats A Normal Reading
For a normal reading, your blood pressure needs to show a top number thats between 90 and less than 120 and a bottom number thats between 60 and less than 80. The American Heart Association considers blood pressure to be within the normal range when both your systolic and diastolic numbers are in these ranges.
Blood pressure readings are expressed in millimeters of mercury. This unit is abbreviated as mm Hg. A normal reading would be any blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg and above 90/60 mm Hg in an adult.
If youre in the normal range, no medical intervention is needed. However, you should maintain a healthy lifestyle and healthy weight to help prevent hypertension from developing. Regular exercise and healthy eating can also help. You may need to be even more mindful of your lifestyle if hypertension runs in your family.
Risks Of High Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes.
Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, such as:
- have a relative with high blood pressure
- are of black African or black Caribbean descent
- live in a deprived area
Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high.
Don’t Miss: How To Calibrate Home Blood Pressure Monitor