Who Is Affected By High Blood Pressure
Approximately 1 in 3, more than 100 million, American adults have high blood pressure. But only half of those people have their condition under control. Many people develop high blood pressure when they are in their late 30s or early 40s, and it occurs more frequently as people age. However, because of the obesity epidemic, more and more children are also developing high blood 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
What Is The Correct Way To Measure Blood Pressure
Learn the correct way to have your blood pressure taken, whether youre getting it checked at the doctors office or checking it yourself at home. Use this checklist:
- Dont eat or drink anything 30 minutes before you take your blood pressure.
- Empty your bladder before your reading.
- Sit in a comfortable chair with your back supported for at least 5 minutes before your reading.
- Put both feet flat on the ground and keep your legs uncrossed.
- Rest your arm with the cuff on a table at chest height.
- Make sure the blood pressure cuff is snug but not too tight. The cuff should be against your bare skin, not over clothing.
- Do not talk while your blood pressure is being measured.
If you are keeping track of your blood pressure at home, use these additional tips.
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How Can I Measure My Blood Pressure At Home
Talk with your health care team about regularly measuring your blood pressure at home, also called self-measured blood pressure monitoring.
SMBP means you regularly use a personal blood pressure measurement device away from a doctors office or hospitalusually at home. These blood pressure monitors are easy and safe to use. A health care team member can show you how to use one if you need help.
Evidence shows that people with high blood pressure are more likely to lower their blood pressure if they use SMBP combined with support from their health care team than if they dont use SMBP.3
Use these additional tips for SMBP:4
- Use a blood pressure log pdf icon to record your blood pressure measurements.
- Take your blood pressure at the same time every day.
- Take at least two readings, 1 or 2 minutes apart.
Get To Know Your Numbers
Because there arent any symptoms, its important to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Get to know the numbers and when to get help from your doctor.
Your blood pressure will have two numbers:
- Systolic is the upper number, measuring when your heart is forcing blood through your vessels.
- Diastolic is the lower number, measuring pressure between heart beats.
For example, 120/80 indicates a systolic blood pressure of 120 and a diastolic blood pressure of 80 mm/Hg.
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What Puts Me At Higher Risk For High Blood Pressure
Your risk for high blood pressure goes up as you get older. Youre also at increased risk for high blood pressure if you:
- Are African American
- Are overweight or have obesity
- Dont get enough physical activity
- Drink too much alcohol
- Dont eat a healthy diet
- Have kidney failure, diabetes, or some types of heart disease
What Is A Normal Blood Pressure
Both the American Heart Association and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force have published guidelines for defining healthy and elevated blood pressure. You can follow either guidelines, depending on what you and your doctor agree is acceptable.
|USPSTF Guidelines for Blood Pressure|
|Normal||Systolic: Less than 120 mm Hg Diastolic:Less than 80 mm Hg|
|Elevated||Diastolic: < Less than 80 mm Hg|
|AHA Guidelines for Blood Pressure|
|Normal||Systolic: Less than 120 mm Hg Diastolic: Less than 80 mm Hg|
|Elevated||Diastolic: Less than 80 mm Hg|
|High Blood Pressure Stage 1||Systolic: 130-139 mm Hg|
|High Blood Pressure Stage 2||Systolic: 140 mm Hg or higher Diastolic: 90 mm Hg or higher|
|Hypertensive Crisis||Systolic: Higher than 180 mm Hg Diastolic: Higher than 120 mm Hg|
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How To Check Your Blood Pressure Manually
To manually take your blood pressure, youll need a blood pressure cuff with a squeezable balloon and an aneroid monitor, also known as a sphygmomanometer, and a stethoscope. An aneroid monitor is a number dial. If possible, enlist the help of a friend or family member, because it can be difficult to use this method on your own.
Here are the steps to taking your blood pressure at home:
Foods For High Blood Pressure
If you are eating a whole foods plant-based diet and are still struggling with high blood pressure, there are certain foods you can incorporate into your diet.
A few tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day has been shown to greatly reduce blood pressure. In this study, flaxseed was found to be 2 to 3 times more powerful than an exercise program.
Hibiscus tea also seems to be effective at reducing blood pressure. Although, more research is needed.
What Abnormal Results Mean
If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 130/80 mm Hg, you have elevated blood pressure.
- Your provider will recommend lifestyle changes to bring your blood pressure down to a normal range.
- Medicines are rarely used at this stage.
If your blood pressure is higher than 130/80 but lower than 140/90 mm Hg, you have Stage 1 high blood pressure. When thinking about the best treatment, you and your provider must consider:
- If you have no other diseases or risk factors, your provider may recommend lifestyle changes and repeat the measurements after a few months.
- If your blood pressure remains above 130/80 but lower than 140/90 mm Hg, your provider may recommend medicines to treat high blood pressure.
- If you have other diseases or risk factors, your provider may be more likely to start medicines at the same time as lifestyle changes.
If your blood pressure is higher than 140/90 mm Hg, you have Stage 2 high blood pressure. Your provider will most likely start you on medicines and recommend lifestyle changes.
Most of the time, high blood pressure does not cause symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
One in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure and many dont even know it. How can this be? Because high blood pressure rarely has any symptoms.
High blood pressure or hypertension is known as a silent disease because you may not feel any symptoms at all, says Priscilla Bullen, FNP-BC, of Riverside Primary Care Hidenwood. It increases your risk of heart disease, heart failure, stroke and heart attack.
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against your blood vessel walls. High blood pressure is when that force is higher than normal. It often has no signs or symptoms and can lead to other health problems if its not treated.
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How Can I Treat High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is very treatable. Treatment includes medications and changes you can make in your everyday life. Changes you can make to lower your blood pressure include:
Eating less salt
In some cases, making these changes may be enough to lower your blood pressure. If your blood pressure remains high, you may need to start taking medication to bring it down.
Adopting A Cleaner Lifestyle
If youre a smoker, try to quit. The chemicals in tobacco smoke damage the bodys tissues and harden blood vessel walls.
If you regularly consume too much alcohol or have an alcohol dependency, seek help to reduce the amount you drink or stop altogether. Alcohol can raise blood pressure.
One of the easiest ways you can treat hypertension and prevent possible complications is through your diet. What you eat can go a long way toward easing or eliminating hypertension.
Here are some of the most common dietary recommendations for people with hypertension.
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What Is High Blood Sugar
High blood sugar occurs when theres a buildup of excess glucose in the bloodstream. This is more often a concern for someone with diabetes than it is for someone without it. Our bodies are typically pretty great at keeping our blood sugar in perfect balance, Deena Adimoolam, M.D., assistant professor of endocrinology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells SELF. But in some situations, like when a person has diabetes, high blood sugar can happen.
Blood sugar is measured in milligrams per deciliter , and a fasting blood sugar of greater than 125 mg/dL is considered hyperglycemic, the Cleveland Clinic says. A person can also be considered to have hyperglycemia if their blood glucose level is higher than 180 mg/dL one to two hours after eating, the Cleveland Clinic says.
Blood Pressure: How High Is Too High And What Can You Do
Alan Segal, MD, is a nephrologist at The University of Vermont Medical Center where he is also Director of the Nephrology Fellowship Program. He is also an associate professor at the Larner College of Medicine at UVM.
High blood pressure, clinically known as hypertension, affects nearly 75 million adults in the United States and 1 billion people globally. Although one-third of adults in the United States are affected, only half of them have their blood pressure controlled.
That has significant costs, both in terms of health and economics. The estimated economic burden for hypertension in 2014 was nearly $75 billion worldwide. It is the single largest contributor to death and disability worldwide, in large part because it dramatically increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and chronic kidney disease. For example, starting at a blood pressure of 115/75, the risk of death doubles for every 20 mmHg increase in systolic pressure , and for every 10 mmHg increase in diastolic pressure .
Hypertension is the most common reason for office visits in adults and more prescriptions are written for blood pressure lowering drugs than for any other drug class.
Lets review the most frequently asked questions about hypertension and how to treat it.
What is blood pressure and what is hypertension?
According to the Joint National Committee :
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Eat Less Meat More Plants
A plant-based diet is an easy way to increase fiber and reduce the amount of sodium and unhealthy saturated and trans fat you take in from dairy foods and meat. Increase the number of fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, and whole grains youre eating. Instead of red meat, opt for healthier lean proteins like fish, poultry, or tofu.
Understanding Your Blood Pressure Numbers
Blood pressure is reported with two numbers, one written over the other. The top number, systolic blood pressure, reflects the amount of pressure in your arteries when your heart squeezes to pump blood. The bottom number, diastolic blood pressure, reflects the amount of pressure in your arteries when your heart relaxes between heartbeats.
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Signs Of High Blood Sugar
Someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes will be familiar with how it feels to have hyperglycemia. But for the millions of people who have diabetes or prediabetes and are unaware of it, knowing the signs of high blood sugar could prompt them to seek care and get a diagnosis as soon as possible.
While type 1 diabetes symptoms can come on suddenly and severely, its important to note that type 2 diabetes symptoms can creep up gradually and be so mild that theyre not noticeable, the NIDDK explains. And most people with prediabetes actually have no symptoms, per the NIDDK. So its extremely important to get screened if you have risk factors, like having a family history, being overweight, or being over age 45, the NIDDK says.
Still, there are many potential signs of high blood sugar in the short and long term that it doesnt hurt to be conscious of, especially if you are at elevated risk.
Early on, hyperglycemia can make you feel off in a variety of ways:
Home Monitoring And Blood Pressure Goals
Home blood pressure monitoring can help guide your treatment by showing whether your medicines are working or if you need to take a different approach. A study published in March 2013 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes found that people who monitored their blood pressure at home were more likely to reach their blood pressure goals than those who were monitored only by their doctor.
Anyone who has high blood pressure, or is at risk for it, can benefit from home blood pressure monitoring, especially women with diabetes or kidney disease. You might also want to consider taking your blood pressure at home if your levels tend to fluctuate. Getting an accurate accounting of the variations will help your doctor better treat your blood pressure.
Women with symptoms such as dizziness or headaches can also take regular readings “to see if their symptoms correlate to their blood pressure,” Dr. Zusman says.
Some conditions can make it harder to take your own blood pressureparticularly if you have an irregular heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation. If this is uncontrolled, you may not be able to get an accurate reading with a home blood pressure monitor. Even if your arrhythmia is controlled, you may need to take your blood pressure several times in a row for accuracy.
If you’re interested in home blood pressure monitoring, here’s how to get started.
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Taking Your Own Blood Pressure
To get more accurate readings of your blood pressure, your doctor may ask you to record your blood pressure at home and at work with your own automated blood pressure monitor.
Doing so can help determine if treatment is working, or if your condition is getting worse.
The American Heart Association recommends an automatic, cuff-style upper arm monitor for at-home use.
Before measuring your blood pressure, do not smoke, drink caffeinated beverages, or exercise for at least 30 minutes before the test. Rest for at least five minutes before the measurements and sit still with your back straight and supported. Feet should be flat on the floor and not crossed. Your arm should also be supported on a flat surface like a table with the upper arm at heart level.
Follow the instructions that came with your monitor or are provided by your healthcare provider.
Take readings at the same time every day and take two to three each time about a minute apart and record your results.
Finally, make sure not to take measurements over clothing.
Additional reporting by Ashley Welch
Common Causes Of Inaccurate Readings
A number of factors can affect your blood pressure and heart rate. If your numbers are unusually high or low, make some adjustments before trying again:
- Stress. When youre worried, stress hormones temporarily elevate both your blood pressure and heart rate. Avoid stressors before checking your blood pressure at home.
- Drug and alcohol use. Tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine can affect your numbers, so avoid stimulants and depressants.
- Other medicines. Talk with your doctor about prescription and over-the-counter medicines that may interfere with an accurate reading.
Once you determine your heart rate and blood pressure, record them in a journal or app. Try taking your pulse and checking your blood pressure around the same time every day to establish a personalized baseline. Its that baseline your doctor will use to help you determine what your numbers mean.
To schedule a comprehensive heart screening, visit UPMCs Heart and Vascular Institute.
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Do You Know The 10 Alarming Signs Of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is now a very common condition amongst adults. According to a new report, nearly half of the American population have high blood pressure.
If you suffer from high blood pressure or Hypertension, you may eventually develop other health problems like heart disease, and increase your risk of dying from a heart attack or a stroke.
Annually in the US, there are 610,000 deaths from heart attacks, and nearly 800,000 people suffer from strokes. And those numbers are growing. Knowing that high blood pressure is the major preventable factor, why do we have such high numbers??
Can you recognize the signs of high blood pressure?