Managing High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
As part of your regular prenatal care, your doctor will measure your blood pressure at each visit. Learn more about how to prepare for a blood pressure test.
If you have high blood pressure, your doctor will closely monitor you and your baby and provide special care to lower the chance of complications. You may need to:
- Check your blood pressure at home. Visit Measure Your Blood Pressure for more information.
- Keep track of how many times you feel the baby kicking each day.
- Limit your physical activity. Talk to your doctor about what level of physical activity is right for you.
- Take medicine to control your blood pressure. If you do, talk to your doctor about which medicines are safe for your baby. These medicines may include calcium-channel blockers , taken by mouth, or beta blockers or vasodilators , given through an IV.
- Take aspirin in the second trimester, if you are at risk of preeclampsia and your doctor recommends aspirin.
- Visit your doctor more often to monitor your condition and your babys growth rate and heart rate. He or she may order blood and urine tests to check how well your organs are working, which can help detect preeclampsia.
If your doctor is concerned about you or your babys health, they may recommend that you deliver your baby before 39 weeks. You may need to stay in the hospital to get medicine that will help your babys lungs develop faster and to be monitored before and after you deliver your baby.
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:
How To Interpret Blood Pressure Results
Blood pressure for men and women is measured as two numbers and is written as 120/80 mm of Hg.
The two numbers denoted in blood pressure readings, are:
- Systolic pressure This number is the higher number and is written at the top of blood pressure reading. The;systolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries, when the heart muscle contracts and empties itself into the main arteries.
- Diastolic pressure This is a lower number and is written at the bottom of blood pressure reading. The;diastolic pressure is the pressure in between two heartbeats, when the heart muscle is resting and is being filled with blood.
Ideal blood pressure is usually 120/80 mm of Hg and is not much different for men and women. However, blood pressure in women may be slightly lower than in men of the same age. Women may have low blood pressure during their monthly cycles and may experience fatigue and dizziness. Women may experience a slight rise in blood pressure during pregnancy. Men and women both are at an increased risk of high blood pressure with increasing age.
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Checking Your Blood Pressure
The best way to find out if you have hypertension is by checking your blood pressure. This can be done at the doctors office, at home with a blood pressure monitor, or even by using a public blood pressure monitor, such as those found in shopping malls and pharmacies.
You should know your usual blood pressure. If you see a significant increase in this number the next time your blood pressure is checked, you should seek further evaluation from your healthcare provider.
Treatment And Medication Options For High Blood Pressure
Most people who have high blood pressure will likely need lifelong treatment to help ward off or delay serious health problems brought on by the condition.
Options to treat high blood pressure may include eating a healthy diet with less salt, taking medication, and incorporating additional lifestyle changes. These include exercise, limiting alcohol intake, smoking cessation, and managing stress.
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High Blood Pressure Vs Low Blood Pressure
Risk of both low blood pressure and high blood pressure normally increases with age due in part to normal changes during aging. Here are how low and high blood pressure stack up.
High Blood Pressure
Frequently, there are no high blood pressure symptoms as blood pressure increases.;Some warning signs for very high blood pressure, however, can include:
- chest pains
- vision changes
Here are some more alarming facts about high blood pressure and high blood pressure symptoms:
Low Blood Pressure
How can you tell if you have low blood pressure, high blood pressure or normal blood pressure?
- Low blood pressure or hypotension: Less than 90/60
- Normal: Less than 120/80
- Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140159/9099
- Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above/100 and above
Here are some stats on low blood pressure:
As long as you dont;experience symptoms of low blood pressure, there is no need for concern. Most doctors consider chronically low blood pressure dangerous only if it causes noticeable signs and symptoms, such as:
- dizziness or lightheadedness
Treating High Blood Pressure With Lifestyle Changes
Your doctor may suggest that you make one or more of the following changes:
- Lose weight. If you’re overweight, losing extra kilograms may bring your blood pressure down.
- Get more active. Regular aerobic exercise can help lower blood pressure.
- Stop smoking. Smoking increases your risk for heart attack and stroke.
- Cut back on drinking. Limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day and no more than 14 drinks a week for men and 9 drinks a week for women.
- Eat less sodium. To help lower blood pressure, try to eat less than 2,000 mg a day.footnote 2
- Follow theDASH diet. The DASH eating plan can help you lower your blood pressure.
For tips on how to do these things, see the Living With High Blood Pressure section of this topic.
One Woman’s Story:
“I could never have imagined I could get down so low by losing weight. I feel sure it was the WAY I lost weight, with DASH.”Izzy
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Common Causes Of High Blood Pressure Spikes
Some people with high blood pressure will experience sharp rises in their blood pressure. These spikes, which typically last only a short period of time, are also known as sudden high blood pressure. These are some possible causes:
- Certain medications or combinations of medications
- Chronic kidney disease
How To Prevent High Blood Pressure
A heart-healthy lifestyle can help prevent high blood pressure from developing. To live a healthy lifestyle:
- Choose heart-healthy foods that are lower in sodium and are rich in potassium. Fruits and vegetables are high in potassium. For more ways to limit your sodium, visit the DASH eating plan page or print our Tips to Reduce Salt and Sodium handout.
- Avoid or limit alcohol
Watch this video to learn more about why high blood pressure is such a problem.
This video shows how high blood pressure damages the walls of your arteries over time and leads to life-threatening health problems.
High blood pressure in pregnancy can raise the risk of later heart and blood vessel problems for both the mother and her child.
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What Constitutes High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, happens when the heart pumps blood against the artery walls at higher pressures than normal. It doesnt cause any symptoms, so the only way to know whether its high is to check it. But it isnt diagnosed from just one reading. You need at least two or more readings on two or more separate days before you can know whether you have high blood pressure. This is because your blood pressure changes from day to day and throughout each day, depending on what youre doing. It can increase temporarily from:
Stress or anxiety;
Can You Check Your Blood Pressure At Home
It is possible to buy a blood pressure machine and test it yourself at home but experts warns this can be tricky.
Those who want to check their blood pressure at home will most likely be people who need to look at it often, because they know it is very high, for example.
Ms Giblin says: As I said, the most important thing is to know your numbers. So find out what your blood pressure is.
If its higher than 140 over 90, then we will recommend you do a series of blood pressure tests yourself at home, or speak to your GP if you are not comfortable, comfortable and confident to do it yourself.
We recommend you use a blood pressure machine for the arm and find a cuff that fits your arm because an oversized cuff will give you a lower reading, whereas a cuff thats too tight will make your reading higher than it may actually be.
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Black Americans And High Blood Pressure
According to the CDC, high blood pressure is more common in non-Hispanic Black American men and women than any other ethnic group. Fifty-four percent of non-Hispanic Black Americans have hypertension, compared with 46 percent of non-Hispanic white Americans, 39 percent of Asian Americans, and 36 percent of Hispanic Americans. Black Americans also tend to develop hypertension earlier in life and experience more severe blood pressure elevation. Black American and Mexican American children are more likely to have high blood pressure than white children.
It is not known for sure why high blood pressure is more common in this group, but researchers theorize it may be partly due to higher rates of obesity and diabetes among Black Americans and a gene that makes Black Americans more sensitive to salt. In people who have this gene, even just one-half teaspoon of salt can elevate blood pressure by 5 mmHg.
How Do I Know If I Have High Blood Pressure And What Do The Numbers Mean
Generally, blood pressure readings greater than 130 by 80 indicate high blood pressure, at least when there are no underline medical conditions. The top number, also known as the systolic blood pressure, is the pressure in your arteries when your heart is contracting. The bottom number, also known as the diastolic blood pressure, is the pressure in your arteries when your heart is relaxed. Normal blood pressure readings usually range around 120 by 80. Having said that, it is important to consider individual cases when assessing blood pressure. And therefore, it is imperative that you consult your pharmacist and healthcare professionals when there are signs of concern.
Whether you have questions about your prescription medications, over-the-counter products, immunizations, or other health concerns, our pharmacists are here to help.
The information provided is for personal use, reference and education only and is not intended to be a substitute for a physicians advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare professional for specific information on personal health matters.
The information included in this recording is correct as of April 13th, 2021
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.
Confirming High Blood Pressure
To diagnose high blood pressure, your doctor will take two or more readings at separate medical appointments. Learn more about screening for high blood pressure, including how to take it yourself.
For most adults, a normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. Your doctor may diagnose you with high blood pressure when you have consistent systolic readings of 130 mm Hg or higher or diastolic readings of 80 mm Hg or higher.
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Tests For High Blood Pressure
When you have a doctors appointment, a nurse, medical assistant, or doctor typically checks your blood pressure. They routinely check blood pressure because there arent symptoms of high blood pressure. The only way to catch it is to test it.;
A blood pressure machine, officially called a sphygmomanometer, is used to test for high blood pressure. The blood pressure cuff fits around your arm. Doctors or nurses might use a manual blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope to measure your blood pressure. At home, you can use an electronic blood pressure monitor. It only takes a minute or so to do the test.;
When measuring blood pressure, youll observe two numbers:;
- Systolic: top number indicating pressure inside the artery when the heart is contracting;
- Diastolic: bottom number indicating the pressure of blood inside the arteries when the heart is filling;
You have high blood pressure if you have a systolic reading of 140 mm Hg or higher and a diastolic reading of 90 mm Hg or higher. In this case, the nurse or doctor might wait a few minutes and check your blood pressure again. If its still high, you might be asked to monitor your blood pressure at home.;
High blood pressure can be a sign of another medical condition. Untreated high blood pressure can cause organ damage. To assess your health properly, a doctor might also order a urine test, blood tests, or an electrocardiogram to check your heart health.;
Understanding Your Blood Pressure Reading
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury and is;given as 2 figures:
- systolic pressure ;the pressure;when your heart pushes blood out
- diastolic pressure ;the pressure when your heart rests between beats
For example, if;your blood pressure is “140 over 90”, or 140/90mmHg, it means you have a systolic pressure of 140mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 90mmHg.
As a general guide:
- high blood pressure is considered to be;140/90mmHg or higher or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80
- ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg, while the target for over-80s is below 150/90mmHg
Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.
Page last reviewed: 23 October 2019 Next review due: 23 October 2022
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What Are The Risk Factors For High Blood Pressure
- High blood pressure can be experienced by people with certain risk factors. Know them to understand if you are at risk and to know if your blood pressure is high.As age advances, the risks of high blood pressure increases.
- A family history of blood pressure can increase your risk too.
- If you weight more than what is ideal, it increases the volume of blood circulated, thus increasing the pressure on the arteries.
- If you are used to a sedentary lifestyle and have not being active, your chances of having high blood pressure can increase.
- Dietary factors like excess salt, too much consumption of oily and fried food can put you at an increased risk of high blood pressure and other problems like high cholesterol.
- Taking low amounts of potassium can also disturb the balance and cause excess accumulation of sodium in the blood.
- Inadequate vitamin D levels can interfere with an enzyme production in the kidneys, which plays an important role in regulating blood pressure.
- Consumption of alcohol,;smoking and use of tobacco, in general increases the risk of several medical ailments including high blood pressure.
- Lifestyle habits play an important role and stress can add to your risk of having high blood pressure.
What If Lifestyle Changes Dont Help Lower My Blood Pressure
If diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes dont work to lower your blood pressure, your healthcare provider prescribe hypertension medications. Your provider will take into account these drugs effect on other conditions you may have, such as heart or kidney disease, and other drugs youre taking.
You might need to take hypertension medicine from now on. Be sure to follow your providers dosing directions exactly.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/20/2020.
How Is Blood Pressure Measured
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury using a simple machine. When you have it measured it will be written as two numbers, a top number and a bottom number. For example, if your reading is 120/80mmHg, your blood pressure is 120 over 80.
Find out more about what the numbers mean and if yours is in the healthy range.
How Does High Blood Pressure Affect You
Know the signs and symptoms of high blood pressure, to understand how to know if your blood pressure is high. High blood pressure can affect every person in a slightly different manner and being a silent killer, is difficult to spot it.
Sometimes, people having high blood pressure may experience symptoms like headaches, dizziness, nose bleeds, blurring of vision or difficulty in normal vision, overall discomfort, nausea and sometimes vomiting.
While these symptoms are also commonly noticed in other conditions, it is worth checking your blood pressure if you experience these symptoms to know if your blood pressure is high. Also, these symptoms may not be necessarily experienced in the initial period and is mostly noticed after much damage is caused.
Hence, it is better to seek medical advice, if you experience these symptoms. Regular monitoring can help you to know if your blood pressure is high.