Dr Dawn Harper On The Most ‘overlooked’ Health Conditions
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A third of UK adults have high blood pressure, but many are not aware of it. There are few symptoms of high blood pressure, but if you ignore it you are putting your life at risk. Are there any symptoms of high blood pressure? And does high pressure cause tiredness?
Does High Blood Pressure Cause Tiredness
Fatigue often occurs as a result of medication management and lifestyle choices, but it can also be caused by high blood pressure itself.
People with high blood pressure often have the condition because they do not exercise enough and eat a lot of food that is high in salt and fat.
Poor lifestyle choices like this will leave you lacking in energy.
Medication that slows the pumping of the heart may deplete your body of essential electrolytes, this means you stop producing energy and feel tired.
High blood pressure can in theory cause tiredness itself since there is an elevated pressure on vital organs such as the brain, heart and kidneys.
Your body has to work much harder to function than it would if your blood pressure was lower.
You may feel tired even after a full nights sleep.
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Trouble Falling Asleep Linked To High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is one of the many health risks associated with not getting enough sleep, which is often caused by insomnia, or difficulty falling or staying asleep. Although often considered a nighttime problem, some people with insomnia may be in a state of “hyperarousal” that also makes it hard for them to nod off during the day. Now, new research suggests that people with chronic insomnia who also have trouble napping face a higher risk of high blood pressure.
The study, in the March 2015 issue of Hypertension, included more than 200 people with chronic insomnia and almost 100 normal sleepers. All underwent daytime nap tests, which measures how quickly a person falls asleep in a quiet environment during the day. People with chronic insomnia who took longer than 14 minutes to fall asleep during the nap studies had three times the risk of high blood pressure compared with normal sleepers, the researchers found. Treatments such as medications and biofeedback to help dampen hyperarousal may be best for people with this type of insomnia, they suggest, although more research is needed.
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In Most Cases High Blood Pressure Does Not Cause Headaches Or Nosebleeds
- The best evidence indicates that high blood pressure does not cause headaches or nosebleeds, except in the case of hypertensive crisis, a medical emergency when blood pressure is 180/120 mm Hg or higher. If your blood pressure is unusually high AND you have headache or nosebleed and are feeling unwell, wait five minutes and retest. If your reading remains at 180/120 mm Hg or higher, call 911.
- If you are experiencing severe headaches or nosebleeds and are otherwise unwell, contact your doctor as they could be symptoms of other health conditions.
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Does High Blood Pressure Make You Tired
Blood pressure is the force of blood flowing through your arteries.
When a persons blood pressure reading is consistently higher than normal, they may be diagnosed with hypertension, or high blood pressure.
Hypertension is a common health condition among adults, and some hypertensive patients report feeling unusually tired.
If youve experienced this, you may have wondered whether high blood pressure is the cause of your fatigue.
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers.
The first number is the systolic blood pressure, which measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
The second number is the diastolic blood pressure, and it measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.
High blood pressure refers to a systolic blood pressure reading of 130mmHg and above, and diastolic blood reading at 80mmHg and above.
If your blood pressure is consistently above normal over several checks on different days, your doctor or primary care provider might diagnose you with hypertension.
Other Causes For Fatigue With High Blood Pressure
Although fatigue can be a symptom of high blood pressure, a lack of sleep may actually be a contributing factor, too.
Sleeping 5 hours or less per night may raise your risk for developing high blood pressure. And if you already have high blood pressure, lack of sleep could be making it worse.
In addition, obstructive sleep apnea is a known risk factor for hypertension, especially in older age groups.
Some prescription medications used to treat high blood pressure can also cause fatigue.
Another cause of fatigue could be due to pulmonary artery hypertension. This is when you have high blood pressure in the vessels that carry blood between your heart and lungs. Along with fatigue, it can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, and lightheadedness.
There are usually no symptoms or warning signs that you have hypertension. Thats why its so important to monitor your blood pressure.
Its especially important to see your doctor if youre experiencing:
- stress management
- drinking alcohol in moderation
Your doctor will also consider your age, coexisting conditions, and any other medications you take when treating your blood pressure. If necessary, your doctor may prescribe hypertension medications. These include:
Some of these medications can cause you to feel tired.
Other treatments depend on the extent of damage to your heart, kidneys, and overall health.
- following a healthy, balanced, low-salt diet
- getting regular exercise
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Can Your Blood Pressure Make You Sleepy
Blood pressure relates to the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. It normally rises and falls a little during the day, depending on what you are doing. But, when blood pressure stays at a sustained high level, this is called hypertension .
According to statistics, 47% of adults in the United States have hypertension. And a symptom often associated with high blood pressure is fatigue. Lets take a look at the connection between the two.
Can High Blood Pressure Cause You to Feel Tired?
High pressure may lead to feelings of tiredness in some people. If left untreated, high blood pressure can also lead to several further complications that cause lethargy. These include:
- Coronary heart disease.
- Heart failure and an enlarged heart.
- Peripheral heart disease.
- Kidney disease.
While tiredness is a symptom of high blood pressure, not getting enough sleep may also increase the risk of someone developing it. In addition, some high blood pressure medications can lead to fatigue.
How to Prevent Tiredness from High Blood Pressure?
Certain lifestyle changes will help to prevent tiredness from high blood pressure. Talk to your healthcare provider who may suggest:
- Regular exercise. Exercise boosts energy levels and helps to strengthen the heart.
- Maintaining a healthy weight. Excess body fat puts a strain on your heart and makes simple tasks more tiring than normal.
- Eating a balanced diet. Eating clean helps to keep the body at a healthy weight and energy levels stable.
What Blood Pressure Medication Is Right For Me
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What Else Can You Do To Better Control Your Blood Pressure
Bhusri feels the key to controlling your blood pressure is your routine.
If your routine helps you take your medications regularly and consistently, then they will be more effective in controlling your blood pressure.
âIt is well known that meds that are prescribed to take at night have a higher rate of consistency,â said Bhusri. âThat is, fewer medicines are forgotten, and a more regular steady state of the medicine is in the patientâs system.
âWorse than persistent elevated pressure,â added Bhusri, âis labile high blood pressure. That is, swings in blood pressure for not adhering to the regimen.â
Bhusri believes that better compliance may have been the reason that the patients in the study had better blood pressure control.
However, Williams adds further advice, saying, âThe main message of our blood pressure therapy in our recent American College of Cardiology hypertension guidelines is to adopt lifestyle changes so that you donât need blood pressure therapy.
Among their recommendations, says Williams, are:
- Stop smoking.
- Exercise regularly .
- Reduce excess weight.
- Increase potassium.
- Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Baliga also supports these lifestyle changes, adding to the list good sleep hygiene as well as an assessment for sleep apnea for at-risk patients.
How Does High Blood Pressure Cause Tiredness
We have already established that lethargy, fatigue, feeling tired all the time, are some of the symptoms of high blood pressure.
In fact, in older folks, the problem of fatigue can be so bad, they find it difficult to have a productive day. That can make for a frustrating experience. But how does high blood pressure cause fatigue?
High blood pressure causes tiredness through a variety of ways.
- The high blood pressure itself
- The high blood pressure medicines can cause tiredness
- Lifestyle issues
High blood pressure condition itself
When you have high blood pressure, it means theres relative narrowing of your blood vessels. Your blood vessels have stiffer walls. Meaning your blood vessels arent very compliant to the rush of blood coming through from the heart.
With this relative narrowing and hardening of your blood vessels, the flow of blood through the vessels is sub-optimal. You need an unimpeded flow of blood through your vessels to bathe your cells.
If the flow of blood is not free, then the supply of oxygen and nutrients will be sub-optimal. This relative deprivation of rich oxygen and nutrients to your tissues inclusive of your muscles will make you feel tired, fatigued and lethargic.
Because sup-optimal supply of nutrients and oxygen means sub-optimal metabolism.
So, it is not unusual for someone with high blood pressure to feel exhausted most of the time.
The high blood pressure medicines can cause tiredness
How do blood pressure medications make you feel tired?
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How Is Blood Pressure Measured
Blood pressure is defined as the amount of pressure that is exerted on the artery walls as blood moves through them. It is measured in millimetres of mercury, or mmHg.
A more detailed explanation is provided below.
Two measurements are used to measure blood pressure:
- Systolic pressure – the measure of blood pressure exerted when your heart beats and forces blood around your body.
- Diastolic pressure – the measure of blood pressure when your heart is resting in between beats.
Both the systolic and diastolic pressures are measured in millimetres of mercury .
The figures are usually represented with the systolic pressure first, followed by the diastolic pressure. Therefore, if your GP says that your blood pressure is ‘120 over 80’, or 120/80mmHg, they mean that you have a systolic pressure of 120mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 80mmHg.
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Combat Fatigue From Blood Pressure Medications
The dizziness and tiredness caused, at first, by most blood pressure medications are enough to put anyone off from taking them. But rest assured, you are not alone in feeling fatigue from blood pressure medications.
with exercise you can reap the benefits of your medication and minimize any fatigue that comes your way. Better still, some strategies simultaneously combat fatigue and reduce blood pressure.
If your blood pressure has been high for some time, as it often is in older patients, the process of lowering it with drugs temporarily reduces circulation in some blood vessels, including in the brain. Because it can take time for these vessels to relax, you may have to continue taking your medication for approximately two to six weeks before you get past the initial fatigue.
In the meantime, regular exercise can combat fatigue. Mitochondria in cells fuel your bodys activity. The more you exercise, the more mitochondria your body makes for energy. If you have not been active for some time, it is important that exercise is performed under a quali ed physical therapist.
A program of nutrition and exercise can increase blood flow and get you feeling more energetic as your body adjusts to blood pressure medication. Aerobic exercise, such as walking, is considered safe for most people. Another technique, therapeutic ultrasound, uses high frequency sound waves that can increase blood flow to deliver nutrients and oxygen to the tissues and remove cell wastes.
What Are The Best Sleeping Positions For High Blood Pressure
Not everyone agrees on the best sleeping positions for high blood pressure, but sleep specialist, and medical director of the Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center, W. Christopher Winter, says that sleeping on the left side is the best sleeping position for high blood pressure because it relieves pressure on blood vessels that return blood to the heart. These vessels are located on the right side of the body and may become compressed slowing your circulation if you sleep on your right side. Sleeping on your left side is important for pregnant women concerned with high blood pressure. Because the growing baby presses against internal organs and may cause circulation issues, sleeping on the left side will help with circulation and may prevent high blood pressure.
According to research conducted by Yasuharu Tabara and his colleagues from the Ehime University School of Medicine in Ehime, Japan, sleeping face down may be the key to lowering blood pressure while you sleep. Results of their study indicated that blood pressure may drop more than 15 points when you change from sleeping face up to face down.
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