Causes Of High Blood Pressure
Although the exact cause is unknown, certain conditions, traits or habits may raise your risk for the condition. These are known as risk factors and include:
Non-modifiable risk factors: These factors are irreversible and cannot be changed. The more of these risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing HBP.
- Starting at age 18, ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading at least every two years. If you’re age 40 or older, or you’re 18 to 39 with a high risk of high blood pressure, ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading every year.
- Family history/Genetics
- African Americans and non-white Hispanic Americans are at higher risk for developing high blood pressure than any other group in the U.S.
Modifiable risk factors: These factors can be modified, treated or controlled through medications or lifestyle changes.
- Excessive alcohol consumption over many years.
- Little to no physical activity
- Excessive amounts of salt in diet that excess the recommended amounts of 1,500 to 2,300 mg of sodium per day.
- Long history of smoking and/or drug abuse
- Extreme emotional stress
Other conditions that contribute to developing high blood pressure
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How Common Is High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a common condition, it is estimated that 18% of adult men and 13% of adult women have high blood pressure but are not getting treatment for it.
In 90-95% of cases, there is no single identifiable reason for a rise in blood pressure. But all available evidence shows that lifestyle plays a significant role in regulating your blood pressure.
Risk factors for high blood pressure include:
- being overweight
- excessive alcohol consumption.
Also, for reasons not fully understood, people of Afro-Caribbean and South Asian origin are more likely to develop high blood pressure than other ethnic groups.
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Infections That Cause Nerve Damage
Bacterial and viral infections can affect the nerves in the head, triggering tingling and numbness in the head, face, and neck. Some of these conditions include:
The location of your head tingling may help your doctor determine its cause. Other symptoms can also provide clues. Keep a record of all your symptoms to share with your doctor.
Here are some specific symptoms of head tingling and what could be causing them:
Regular Blood Pressure Checks If Diagnosed With High Blood Pressure
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, your blood pressure will need to be closely monitored until it is brought under control.
After your blood pressure has been controlled, your GP or practice nurse will measure your blood pressure at agreed regular intervals .
It is important you attend these appointments to ensure your blood pressure is being maintained within an acceptable range.
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Diagnosing High Blood Pressure
The only way to find out whether you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Ask your GP when you are next due for yours to be checked.
Before having your blood pressure taken, you should rest for at least five minutes and empty your bladder. To get an accurate blood pressure reading, you should be sitting down and not talking when the reading is taken.
Having one high blood pressure reading does not necessarily mean that you have high blood pressure. Your blood pressure can change throughout the day. Feeling anxious or stressed when you visit your GP can raise your blood pressure .
Therefore, your GP will need to take several readings over a set period of time, usually every month, to see whether your blood pressure level is consistently high.
Blood and urine tests may also be carried out in order to check for conditions that are known to cause an increase in blood pressure, such as kidney infections.
You may also be given a blood pressure device to take home so that you can record your blood pressure level throughout the day. This also helps to identify white coat syndrome and therefore helps to identify the best treatment options for you.
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Alcohol Use Disorder And Alcoholic Neuropathy
Drinking heavily on a regular basis can cause alcoholic neuropathy, which is damage to the peripheral nerves due to excessive alcohol consumption. Its estimated that 46.3 percent of people who chronically misuse alcohol experience peripheral neuropathy.
People who develop alcoholic neuropathy may experience tingling in their feet, hands, or limbs that lasts anywhere from a few months to several years.
Additional symptoms of alcoholic neuropathy include:
- an upper GI and small bowel series
- blood tests to look for vitamin deficiencies
The most important steps in treating alcoholic neuropathy are considering stopping drinking and seeking treatment for alcohol use disorder. You may also be encouraged to take vitamin supplements.
A healthcare professional may prescribe physical therapy or pain medication to manage the tingling and pain in your feet.
However, even if a person quits drinking, their symptoms of alcoholic neuropathy may be permanent.
Short-term conditions can also cause tingling in the feet.
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How To Keep Your Blood Pressure Down Before A Test
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Bacterial And Viral Infections
Certain bacterial and viral infections can also lead to tingling in the head and face. This can accompany encephalitis, a bacterial infection that causes swelling of the brain.
Symptoms also arise in cases of transverse myelination, a rare condition that causes inflammation in the spine. Most cases of TM arise are due to viral and bacterial infections, including:
Recurring Shortness Of Breath With Or Without Exertion
Shortness of breath, which is also called dyspnea, is a heart disease symptom that can be easily overlooked.
For one, shortness of breath can occur without other symptoms like chest pain, particularly in women. In addition, shortness of breath can feel different for everyone and happens under different circumstances, so you may find it hard to describe. For example, shortness of breath can take the form of:
- A cough that doesnt go away
- Constantly feeling winded during regular activities
- Not being able to catch your breath whether youre at rest or doing an activity
- Tightness in your chest
- Breathlessness when you lay down that improves when you sit up
From an easily managed condition to more serious cardiovascular issues like heart disease or arrhythmia, addressing breathing issues earlier may give you more treatment options, quicker relief and help prevent future problems.
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Drink Alcohol In Moderation
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol will increase your blood pressure and raise the cholesterol levels in your blood.
Sticking to the recommended amounts of alcohol consumption is the best way to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure.
The recommended daily limits of alcohol consumption are:
- 3 to 4 units of alcohol for men
- 2 to 3 units of alcohol for women.
A unit of alcohol is equal to about half a pint of normal-strength lager, a small glass of wine or a pub measure or spirits.
More about drinking alcohol reponsibly
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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What Is Low Blood Pressure/hypotension
Low blood pressure or hypotension is a condition where the systolic and diastolic pressure falls below 90 and 60 respectively. Blood pressure is usually measured in millimetres of mercury, and normal blood pressure is usually slightly less than 120/80 mm Hg.
To have low blood pressure is not always a concern however, chronic hypotension can cause a lack of blood flow to the brain, causing dizziness, blackouts or loss of consciousness, and may even be life-threatening in severe cases.
More often, low blood pressure is a symptom of a different concern, such as plaque build-up, a heart disorder or aging related medical conditions, making it necessary to pay attention to signs of low blood pressure in its initial stages.
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Diagnosis Of Tingling Hands And Feet
If you seek care for your tingling hands or feet, your health care provider will do a physical exam and take an extensive medical history addressing your symptoms, work environment, social habits , toxic exposure, risk of HIV or other infectious diseases, and family history of neurological disease.
They also may perform other tests, such as:
- Blood tests. These can include tests to detect diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, liver or kidney dysfunction, other metabolic disorders, and signs of abnormal immune system activity.
- An examination of cerebrospinal fluid. This can identify antibodies associated with peripheral neuropathy.
- An electromyogram , a test of the electrical activity of muscle
- Nerve conduction velocity
Diagnosis Of Low Blood Pressure
A familiar instrument for diagnosis of low blood pressure is a sphygmomanometer, which has an inflatable cuff that goes around your forearm while you are sitting and supported. This cuff is worn at the heart level and must be the right size since a too large or too small cuff would result in the wrong measurement.
The inflation and deflation causes the blood vessels to constrict and relax in conjunction, and a doctor uses a stethoscope near the crook of your elbow to determine when the blood flow is constricted, and the time that it starts. The pressure diagnosed at these two times is what is noted as your blood pressure.
The pulse rate is also an important indicator of any abnormalities in blood pressure, and a doctor may repeatedly measure your pulse in addition to measuring blood pressure. A rapid, shallow beating of the pulse may indicate inability of the heart to pump adequate blood through the body. Sometimes, an electrocardiogram may also be used for accurate measurement of the heart rate, or a blood sugar test may be prescribed to determine any symptoms or effects of low blood pressure. A “tilt-table test” that simulates a change in posture while lying down on a table may also be prescribed to check for orthostatic hypotension.
Diagnosis depends on the outcome of these tests and is relatively simple to do. Medical history is also a consideration when determining if a person has signs of low blood pressure, or a more short-term incident.
Tips To Help You Cope With Nerve Changes
There are some things you can do to help ease discomfort and prevent injury:
- Keep your hands and feet warm.
- Take gentle exercise when possible.
- Wear well fitting, protective shoes and inspect your feet regularly for cuts or broken areas to the skin.
- Take care when using hot water you may not be able to feel how hot the water is and could burn yourself.
- Use oven gloves when cooking and protective gloves when gardening.
- Keep your skin moisturised and soft.
- Take care when cutting your nails.
- Keep floors clear from clutter to prevent falls.
- Make sure rooms are well lit and keep a light on during the night.
- Stand up slowly when feeling dizzy.
- Prevent constipation by eating enough fibre and drinking plenty of fluids.
- See an occupational therapist for specialist equipment, for example, a tool to help you fasten buttons.
- Talk to a counsellor or your specialist nurse if youre finding it hard to cope with the changes caused by peripheral neuropathy.
Numbness Or Tingling And High Blood Pressure
- Medical Author: Carol DerSarkissian, MD
Last Editorial Review: 6/15/2020
Your symptoms match a wide variety of different medical conditions, including high blood pressure or nerve damage. If you have had an emotionally traumatic experience, an acute stress reaction is another possibility. Call your doctor if you don’t get better after a day or two. In some instances, these symptoms can point to something more serious. If these symptoms concern you, it’s best to give your doctor a call right away.
While the list below can be considered as a guide to educate yourself about these conditions, this is not a substitute for a diagnosis from a health care provider. There are many other medical conditions that also can be associated with your symptoms and signs. Here are a number of those from MedicineNet:
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