Decreased Alertness Or Confusion
These may be a symptom of a serious illness, especially for older adults and the elderly. Though the level of consciousness may decrease as part of the ageing process, and it would be normal for an elderly not to remember where he placed his car keys, you should still visit your doctor to check the underlying cause of your confusion problem since it may be related to high blood pressure and prompt treatment should be given.
Prehypertension: A Little Too Much Pressure A Lot Of Trouble
Everyone needs some blood pressure so that blood can get to all of the bodys organs. But how much is enough? How much is too much?
High blood pressure is often called the silent killer, because it usually doesn’t cause symptoms. High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. It points to a higher risk of having heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. Doctors have known for a long time that blood pressure that is too high can cause these problems. But now doctors know that if it is even a little too high, it should be noticed.
When you visit a doctor for your annual checkup, your blood pressure will be taken. Blood pressure is measured by a machine with a band wrapped around your arm. The measure will tell if the blood pressure is normal, low, high, or somewhere in between. It is considered prehypertension when it doesnt quite reach the level of high blood pressure, but it is higher than normal.
Prehypertension can serve as an early warning for patients and doctors. It is a sign of possible changes that could lead to heart disease. The pressure caused by constant prehypertension can change blood vessels and the heart in a damaging way. Prehypertension can also stress the kidneys.
A single blood pressure reading does not predict heart and blood vessel disease . You won’t be diagnosed with hypertension or prehypertension until it is high on several occasions. A blood pressure reading higher than normal will need to be carefully monitored.
How Do You Know If You Have High Blood Pressure
It is very difficult to identify whether one suffers from high blood pressure or not since there are no visible symptoms. Thankfully, medical advancements over the years have made it possible to find out if one suffers from it right at home.
You are suffering from hypertension if your blood pressure readings are consistently higher than 90 to 140 over a few weeks. You may also be suffering from hypertension if one of these numbers is higher than what is considered normal for a number of weeks.
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How Blood Pressure Is Controlled
When the heart contracts, the blood inside the left ventricle is forced out into the aorta and arteries. The blood then enters small vessels with muscular walls, called arterioles. The tone in the muscular walls of the arterioles determines how relaxed or constricted they are. If narrowed, they resist flow.Reduced flow of blood is detected in the brain, the kidneys and elsewhere. Nerve reflexes are stimulated and hormones are then produced. The heart is induced to beat more forcefully so that blood pressure is maintained at a higher level, to overcome the restricted flow through the arterioles. The achievement of good flow eases possible problems for function of the brain and kidneys.These adjustments occur normally. However, in some people the adjustments become fixed and high blood pressure persists. These people have developed hypertension.
What Blood Pressure Is Too High
There are different categories for normal, elevated, and high blood pressure, according to 2017 guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.
Normal: systolic below 120 and diastolic below 80
Elevated: systolic 120129 and diastolic below 80
High : systolic above 130 and diastolic above 80
You have high blood pressure if one or both numbers in your blood pressure reading are high.
The category of hypertension is further divided into stages:
Stage 1: systolic 130139 and diastolic 8089
Stage 2: systolic at or above 140 and diastolic at or above 90
These stages are used to make decisions about how to treat high blood pressure. For example, if your blood pressure is in stage 1, you may not need to treat it with medications right away.
A blood pressure with a systolic reading at or above 180 or a diastolic reading at or above 120 is very elevated. This is called hypertensive crisis. Even when your blood pressure is this high, you may not have any symptoms. Without symptoms, this is also referred to as hypertensive urgency.
In some cases, blood pressure this high can damage other organs in the body, which causes symptoms. This is called hypertensive emergency, and some of the complications can be life-threatening. Affected organs can include the:
Depending on which organ is involved, you can have different symptoms. For example, if the heart is affected, you may have chest pain. Other symptoms to look for include:
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How Blood Pressure Is Measured
Hypertension can be mild, moderate or severe. Your blood pressure is naturally higher when you are exerting yourself, such as during physical exercise. It is only a concern if your blood pressure is high when you are at rest, because this means your heart is overworked and your arteries have extra stress in their walls.Blood pressure readings are a combination of two measurements. These are:
- Systolic is the highest pressure against the arteries as the heart pumps. The normal systolic pressure is usually between 110 and 130mmHg.
- Diastolic is the pressure against the arteries as the heart relaxes and fills with blood. The normal diastolic pressure is usually between 70 and 80mmHg.
Consider Cutting Back On Caffeine
Caffeine raises your blood pressure, but the effect is temporary.
In a 2017 study, the systolic blood pressure of 18 participants was elevated for 2 hours after they drank 32 ounces of either a caffeinated drink or an energy drink. Blood pressure then dropped more quickly for the participants who drank a caffeinated drink .
Some people may be more sensitive to caffeine than others. If youre caffeine-sensitive, you may want to cut back on your coffee consumption, or try .
Research on caffeine, including its health benefits, is in the news a lot. The choice of whether to cut back depends on many individual factors.
One older study indicated that caffeines effect on raising blood pressure is greater if your blood pressure is already high. This same study, however, called for more research on the subject .
If your blood pressure is very high or doesnt decrease after making these lifestyle changes, your doctor may recommend prescription drugs.
They work and will improve your long-term outcome, especially if you have other risk factors (
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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.
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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Regular Blood Pressure Checks For Over Over 40’s
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.
Blood pressure checks are usually available on request at most GP surgeries and health clinics. Some surgeries have home monitoring devices available, which you may be able to use at the time of blood pressure medication start up or change. Many also have a policy of arranging regular checks for you.
Adults who are over 40 and have not been diagnosed with high blood pressure should have their blood pressure checked at least once every five years. However, your blood pressure should ideally be checked more frequently, particularly if you have any contributory risk factors.
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.
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What Should I Do If I Have High Blood Pressure
If your healthcare provider has diagnosed you with high blood pressure, they will talk with you about your recommended blood pressure target or goal. They may suggest that you:
- Check your blood pressure regularly with a home blood pressure monitor. These are automated electronic monitors and are available at most pharmacies or online.
- Quit smoking and/or using tobacco products.
- Work on controlling anger and managing stress.
Apps To Track Blood Pressure
Although there are apps that promise to check your blood pressure without using equipment, this isnt an accurate or reliable method.
However, there are apps available that can help you track your blood pressure results. This can be helpful in identifying patterns in your blood pressure. Your doctor may use this information to determine if you require blood pressure medications.
Some examples of free blood pressure-monitoring apps include:
- Blood Pressure Monitor Family Litefor iPhone. You can enter your blood pressure, weight, and height, as well as track the medications you take.
- Blood Pressure for Android. This app tracks your blood pressure and features several statistical and graphical analysis tools.
- Blood Pressure Companion for iPhone. This app allows you to track your blood pressure as well as view graphs and trends on your blood pressure readings across several days or weeks.
These apps can help you quickly and easily track your blood pressure readings. Measuring your blood pressure regularly on the same arm can help you most accurately track your blood pressure readings.
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Risks Of High Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes.
Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, such as:
- have a relative with high blood pressure
- are of black African or black Caribbean descent
- live in a deprived area
Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high.
Dietary And Lifestyle Changes
- Reduce the consumption of unsaturated fats, especially red meat. These foods contribute to high blood pressure levels.
- Lose weight. Excess weight can increase blood pressure.
- Boost your metabolism. This helps to increase blood circulation and reduce high blood pressure risk.
- Minimize stress. A contributing factor for the development of high blood pressure and increased frequency of hypertension headaches.
Making changes to how you live can be difficult. But by starting with only minor changessuch as losing a pound a week or just being more aware how much salt is in the food you eatyou will be on the right track to making sure your blood pressure is under control.
However, not all aspects of health are within our control and there may be a time when the care of a trained medical professional will be required. There are great anti-hypertensive medications available that do a great job at keeping blood pressure normal.
Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.
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What Should My Blood Pressure Be
Blood pressure goes up and down depending on what you are doing. It may rise during periods of excitement, nervousness, or exercise and decrease during sleep.
If you are between ages 18 and 60, blood pressure should be below 140 mm Hg systolic and 90 mm Hg diastolic. If you are older than 60 without diabetes or chronic kidney disease, blood pressure should be below 150 mm Hg systolic and 90 mm HG diastolic.
Some people experience “white coat hypertension,” when their blood pressure is elevated because of the anxiety of seeing a clinician. In this case, it is recommended that you have a series of blood pressure readings outside of the clinical setting to determine if you are truly hypertensive. The American Heart Association recommends an automatic, cuff-style, bicep monitor for home monitoring of blood pressure. Individuals should monitor their blood pressure at different times throughout the day and discuss their results with their health care provider.
Who Is At Risk Of Having Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure typically isnt a problem for most adults. However, if your blood pressure drops suddenly or you experience symptoms, it may cause serious side effects. The U.S. National Library of Medicine indicates that a drop as little as 20 mmHg can cause problems.
So what causes your blood pressure to drop and when does it put you at risk? Minor and temporary things can affect blood pressure, like getting up too fast after sitting, standing for long periods of time, or dehydration. Similarly, certain health conditions are risk factors for hypotension, including:
- Heart conditions
- Serious trauma
- Shock caused by blood loss
If you experience low blood pressure, youre at a higher risk for fainting and shock, which can require medical treatment if vital organs. Keep track of your blood pressure regularly so you get to know whats normal for you and what may be too low. A single measurement lower than normal isnt cause for alarm but if you experience other symptoms, talk to your doctor.
For more information about low blood pressure or to find a doctor, contact the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute.
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Meditating Can Lower Your Blood Pressure
Studies show that doing Transcendental Meditation can lower your blood pressure a bit. TM involves focusing on a sound or phrase to get to a relaxed state of mind. But medication is still more effective. So if you have high blood pressure, meditate along with medicating — not instead of it.
There’s no proof that yoga or other meditation or relaxation practices lower long-term blood pressure. But they do ease stress, which can spike your blood pressure.