High Blood Pressure: Prevention Treatment And Research
We all have blood pressure. This simply refers to the way blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps. However, one in three American adults have a potentially dangerous condition known as high blood pressure, also called hypertension. For those with high blood pressure, blood moves more forcefully through the arteries than it should.
Its normal for blood pressure to increase when you exercise or are under stress. But when the pressure is too high even when youre at rest, and stays too high for too long, it can stretch and damage your arteries. The resulting health problems from high blood pressure can include heart disease, heart failure, stroke, kidney damage, vision loss, and memory loss and cognitive decline.
How To Understand High Blood Pressure Readings
Two numbers create a blood pressure reading. Systolic pressure indicates the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats and pumps out blood. Diastolic pressure is the reading of the pressure in your arteries between beats of your heart.
Five categories define blood pressure readings for adults:
- Healthy: A healthy blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury .
- Elevated: The systolic number is between 120 and 129 mm Hg, and the diastolic number is less than 80 mm Hg. Doctors usually dont treat elevated blood pressure with medication. Instead, your doctor may encourage lifestyle changes to help lower your numbers.
- Stage 1 hypertension: The systolic number is between 130 and 139 mm Hg, or the diastolic number is between 80 and 89 mm Hg.
- Stage 2 hypertension: The systolic number is 140 mm Hg or higher, or the diastolic number is 90 mm Hg or higher.
- Hypertensive crisis: The systolic number is over 180 mm Hg, or the diastolic number is over 120 mm Hg. Blood pressure in this range requires urgent medical attention. If any symptoms like chest pain, headache, shortness of breath, or visual changes occur when blood pressure is this high, medical care in the emergency room is needed.
A blood pressure reading is taken with a pressure cuff. For an accurate reading, its important you have a cuff that fits. An ill-fitting cuff may deliver inaccurate readings.
Medicines For High Blood Pressure
Several types of medicine can be used to help control high blood pressure.
Many people need to take a combination of different medicines.
- if you’re under 55 years of age you’ll usually be offered an ACE inhibitor or an angiotensin-2 receptor blocker
- if you’re aged 55 or older, or you’re any age and of African or Caribbean origin you’ll usually be offered a calcium channel blocker
You may need to take blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life. But your doctor might be able to reduce or stop your treatment if your blood pressure stays under control for several years.
It’s really important to take your medicine as directed. If you miss doses, it will not work as well.
The medicine will not necessarily make you feel any different, but this does not mean it’s not working.
Medicines used to treat high blood pressure can have side effects, but most people do not get any.
If you do get side effects, do not stop taking your medicine. Talk to your doctor, who may advise changing your medicine.
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High Blood Pressure In Cats Faqs
What is a normal blood pressure for cats?
Only the top number, or the systolic blood pressure , is considered in determining normal or high blood pressure in cats. This number should be less than 150 mmHg.
What is considered high blood pressure for cats?
Only the top number, or the systolic blood pressure , is used in determining high blood pressure in cats. Hypertension in cats is marked by a systolic blood pressure greater than 160 mmHg.
Can high blood pressure cause seizures in older cats?
Yes, hypertension can cause seizures in older cats.
Can stress cause high blood pressure in cats?
Yes, stress can definitely cause hypertension in cats, especially stress caused by being at the vets office. This is why your vet will try to allow your cat to relax before taking a reading, and they should do several readings and average them together.
Symptoms Of High Pressure
As discussed above, high blood pressure does not show any symptoms even when the blood pressure becomes tremendously high. Some people notice some minor symptoms like headache, bleeding from nose or breathlessness. However, these are very minor symptoms and it does not show up until the problem becomes too severe that can be life threatening.
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Hypertension: What You Need To Know As You Age
You cant see high blood pressure, also called hypertension. And most ofthe time, you cant feel it. But if youre among the 78 million Americanswith hypertension or are one of the 70 million with prehypertension, its important to understandits effects on your healthand to take action today to bring your numbersdown to healthier levels.
Blood pressure is the force of blood against the inner walls of yourarteries. It has normal fluctuations throughout the dayfalling when yourerelaxed or asleep, rising naturally in the morning, and increasingtemporarily when youre under stress, excited or exercising. But when yourresting blood pressure level rises too high, it can scar, stiffen and/orweaken blood vessels. This effect can double your risk for aheart attack quadruple your odds for astroke raise your risk forheart failure, vision loss, kidney problems,dementiaand circulation problems such asperipheral artery disease weaken your bones and contribute toerectile dysfunctionin men.
Consume A Mostly Plant
Consuming a plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes effectively lowers inflammation, improves vascular function, and increases potassium intake. Focusing on consuming plant-based whole foods ensures that you are mainly eating foods that are dense in all of the nutrients needed to protect your heart and lower your blood pressure.
A plant-based diet can reduce inflammation. Systemic inflammation means that your immune system is aggravated, leading to the activation of cells that are responsible for immune response, like macrophages, cytokines, T cells, and lymphocytes. Under normal circumstances, these cells are activated to fight off an infection, heal a wound, or repair damaged cells.
Food is a significant mediator for inflammation. A diet high in refined sugar, trans fats, saturated fat, processed meats, and dairy products exacerbate inflammation in the body. On the other hand, a plant-based diet consisting mainly of whole foods soothes inflammation, repairs inflammatory damage, and protects against further damage.
Dr. Michael Greger describes how certain foods influence blood pressure in his book How Not to Die. Try incorporating the foods he suggests into your diet as part of an antihypertensive lifestyle.
Beets and Other Foods with Nitrate
Note: Keep in mind that the natural sources of nitrate in vegetables have a vastly different effect than those added to preserved meats.
- Chia seeds
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Why Lowering Your Bp Matters
Over time, high blood pressure can lead to an array of health complications. HBP does not have symptoms, so its especially important to visit your primary physician on a regular basis. They will be able to determine if your blood pressure is abnormal and prescribe a treatment plan for you.
HPB can lead to:
- Damage to your heart and arteries
- Memory loss
- Vision loss
Potential Complications Of High Blood Pressure
If high blood pressure is left untreated over a long period of time, it can raise your chances of developing related conditions. The constant pressure in your blood vessels causes damage, resulting in narrow, stiffened arteries that restrict blood flow. When blood flow is limited, all organs in your body are in jeopardy of receiving inadequate oxygen and nutrients. Hypertension-related artery damage markedly increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and experiencing a heart attack or stroke.
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So How Can I Lower My High Blood Pressure
For more information on lowering your blood pressure through lifestyle changes, you can browse this website.
If having a more structured approach would be beneficial, then take a look at my guide to lowering blood pressure naturally:
As the imaginative title suggests, the book is laid out in nine easy-to-follow steps. Each of these covers different things you can do to lower your blood pressure. Choosing tasty nutritious foods to eat and drink which can benefit your blood pressure. Finding ways to be more active in your daily life. Making time to relax properly.
You can follow these steps at whatever pace suits you. And slowly but surely bring yourself and your blood pressure into better balance and optimal health.
I should emphasise that following this guide does not lead to a life of denial! Lowering your blood pressure, and getting healthier and happier is actually very enjoyable. Who doesnt like good food and drink ? And there are many ways to be more active. Of course, now you also have a good reason to make sure you get more quality down time as well.
However you do it, and whatever your genetic predisposition, I wish you all the best in getting your blood pressure to healthier levels. If I can do it, you can do it!
Is high blood pressure hereditary? References and further information
Fighting Back Against The Silent Killer
High blood pressure is a symptomless silent killer that quietly damages blood vessels and leads to serious health problems.
While there is no cure, using medications as prescribed and making lifestyle changes can enhance your quality of life and reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and more.
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Can Fibromyalgia Cause Shortness Of Breath
Sharing is caring!
Fibromyalgia is a long-term status that causes pain all over the body. Its not known what causes fibromyalgia, but its thought that both genetic and environmental factors can contribute to developing the condition.
It causes widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and other symptoms such as dizziness and headaches. Shortness of breath is as common as it is alarming for those with fibromyalgia.
Avoid Unhealthy Alcohol Use
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Third Misconception About High Blood Pressure: It’s Ok As Long As One Number Is Normal
You may notice that when your doctor measures your blood pressure, the reading includes two numbers, one written on top of the other. These numbers can be confusing. The top number is called your systolic blood pressure. This number represents the force of blood through your blood vessels during your heartbeat.
- 119 or below is normal systolic blood pressure
- 120-129 is considered elevated
- 130 and greater is high blood pressure
The bottom number is called your diastolic blood pressure. This number represents the force of blood through your blood vessels in between heartbeats, while your heart is resting.
- 79 or below is normal diastolic blood pressure
- 80 and greater is hypertension
Many people pay more attention to the systolic rate than the diastolic, but experts say that the heart can tolerate a high top number better than a high bottom number. As you age, though, the systolic number tends to take on additional significance as the risk of heart attack and especially stroke increases.
Blood pressure does change throughout the day, depending on your activities. Blood pressure changes over time, as well. Systolic blood pressure tends to rise as you get older. Diastolic blood pressure may decrease as you get older.
If either of your blood pressure readings is consistently above normal, then you need to take action right away. You and your doctor can develop a plan to treat high blood pressure or even prehypertension before damage to your organs occurs.
If You Need Two Medications
Many types of blood pressure drugs work best when taken together. When taking two drugs together, diuretics have been shown to lower blood pressure with a beta-blocker, ACE inhibitor and an ARB. A calcium channel blocker lowers blood pressure with the same drugs that work well with a diuretic. Other drug combinations are necessary when taking three or more blood pressure medications. There may be other reasons why your doctor may prescribe two blood pressure medications. For example, after heart attacks, doctors will prescribe a beta-blocker and an ACE inhibitor, but this is not primarily to reduce blood pressure.
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Fifth Misconception About High Blood Pressure: Treatment Doesn’t Work
In fact, if you work with your doctor to develop a comprehensive program for managing your high blood pressure, that plan can work. To maximize the benefits of your plan, follow these steps:
- Check your blood pressure as often as recommended by your doctor.
- Follow your treatment plan consistently. Let your doctor know right away if you have problems with parts of the plan. Your doctor may refer you to other health care professionals who can help.
- See your doctor as often as requested. Bring your blood pressure records to show your doctor how the plan is working.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist for information about medication side effects. Know when to call your doctor if there is a problem.
- Reduce how much salt you take in.
Learning about high blood pressure and how it can harm your health is the first step in controlling this condition so you can remain healthy for years to come.
Fourth Misconception About High Blood Pressure Is About Treatment
Give up your favorite foods. Take drugs with annoying side effects. These are some things you might fear when you think about high blood pressure treatment. It is true that it may take some time to develop a treatment plan that works best for you, because high blood pressure often has several underlying causes. In many cases, the specific cause of high blood pressure may not be evident.
Your doctor will work closely with you to determine which combination of treatments works to best control high blood pressure. Your treatment plan is likely to include the following elements:
The DASH eating plan. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension plan includes eating less fat and saturated fat as well as eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole-grain foods. Limiting use of salt and alcohol can also help lower your high blood pressure. A dietitian can help you find ways to meet these goals without giving up your favorite foods or great flavor.
Weight Control. Being overweight increases your risk of developing high blood pressure. Following the DASH eating plan and getting regular exercise can help you lose weight. Ask your doctor to help you determine a goal. Your doctor can also refer you to other health care professionals for assistance in setting up a weight loss plan.
Alcohol may increase your blood pressure, as well, especially if you are drinking too much. Cutting back or abstaining might be essential.
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Drugs To Treat High Blood Pressure
There are several types of drugs used to treat high blood pressure, including:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers
- Combination medications
Diuretics are often recommended as the first line of therapy for most people who have high blood pressure.
However, your doctor may start a medicine other than a diuretic as the first line of therapy if you have certain medical problems. For example, ACE inhibitors are often a choice for people with diabetes. If one drug doesn’t work or is disagreeable, additional medications or alternative medications may be recommended.
If your blood pressure is more than 20/10 points higher than it should be, your doctor may consider starting you on two drugs or placing you on a combination drug.
Set Weight Loss Goals
If your doctor has recommended you lose weight, talk with them about an optimal weight loss goal for you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a weight loss goal of one to two pounds a week. This can be achieved through a more nutritious diet and increased physical exercise.
Employing the help of a trainer or fitness app, and possibly even a dietician, are all methods to help you learn how to make the best choices for your body and your lifestyle.
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Patients Can Take These Steps To Lower Their High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is typically symptomless, can quietly damage blood vessels and leads to serious health problems. While there is no cure for high blood pressure, it is important for patients to take steps that matter, such as making effective lifestyle changes and taking BP-lowering medications as prescribed by their physicians. In turn, those changes can enhance their quality of life and reduce their risk of heart and kidney disease, stroke and more.
What To Expect When Hospitalized For High Blood Pressure
You will most likely be monitored in the ICU when you are hospitalized for high blood pressure with concerns about possible organ damage. You can expect to have the following treatments and monitoring:
- Intravenous blood pressure lowering medications as an IV drip
- Heart monitor
- Frequent blood tests
- Multiple IV lines
The most important aspect of treating dangerously high blood pressure in the hospital is not to bring it down too fast. That may surprise you because it goes against your intuition. Knowing you have dangerously high blood pressure, you may think that you need to lower it fast. However, lowering very high blood pressure too fast can be more dangerous. The sudden drop in pressure may cause more damage to the organs at risk. That is why you need very close monitoring of your blood pressure. They will adjust your blood pressure medication slowly and watch the effects closely.
It is generally recommended to not lower your blood pressure more than 25% in the first hour. After that, they recommend keeping your blood pressure slightly below the danger threshold for the next 24 hours. After 24 hours, blood pressure can be lowered to normal, but it is not necessary to do so in the hospital. Once the blood pressure is down to an acceptable label, you can safely go home. You will continue to adjust your blood pressure safely during your regular doctor visits.
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