Diagnosing High Blood Pressure
Diagnosing hypertension is as simple as taking a blood pressure reading. Most doctors offices check blood pressure as part of a routine visit. If you dont receive a blood pressure reading at your next appointment, request one.
If your blood pressure is elevated, your doctor may request you have more readings over the course of a few days or weeks. A hypertension diagnosis is rarely given after just one reading.
Your doctor needs to see evidence of a sustained problem. Thats because your environment can contribute to increased blood pressure, like the stress you may feel by being at the doctors office. Also, blood pressure levels change throughout the day.
If your blood pressure remains high, your doctor will likely conduct more tests to rule out underlying conditions. These tests can include:
- cholesterol screening and other blood tests
- test of your hearts electrical activity with an electrocardiogram
- ultrasound of your heart or kidneys
- home blood pressure monitor to monitor your blood pressure over a 24-hour period at home
These tests can help your doctor identify any secondary issues causing your elevated blood pressure. They can also look at the effects high blood pressure may have had on your organs.
During this time, your doctor may begin treating your hypertension. Early treatment may reduce your risk of lasting damage.
Symptoms Of Sudden High Blood Pressure
Unlike traditional high blood pressure, where there are no visual symptoms until major damage has occurred, sudden high blood pressure alerts you immediately.
- Weakness or numbness in arms, legs, face
- Mentality changes such as anxiety, fatigue, confusion, restlessness
In extreme cases of sudden high blood pressure, there may be bleeding from damaged blood vessels, blindness from ruptured retina nerves or vessels, and possibly seizures.
How To Treat High Blood Pressure Without Medication
The first thing you should do if you have high blood pressure is to change your lifestyle. This is a condition that is caused by what you eat, what you drink, and how you treat you body in general.
Why not take medication to normalize your blood pressure? Well, you can. It will lower your blood pressure significantly and reduce your risks of heart attack and stroke.
Although, the negative side effects of blood pressure-reducing medications should not be ignored! Chronic cough, erectile dysfunction, dizziness, digestive problems, chronic fatigue, headaches, nauseaSounds like fun!
All you need to do is stop doing what has been causing your blood pressure to be so high. This way you wont need the medication! To do so, youll need to:
- Eat a healthy, potassium-rich diet*
- Dont eat salt
- Lose weight if you are overweight
- Learn how to relax and control your stress
*The healthy diet recommended to people with high blood pressure is the DASH diet. The Dash diet isnt bad compared to the standard American diet, but its not the best. Instead, I recommend following my heart health diet program, it is only one month and it will lower your blood pressure.
The DASH diet recommends to eat more fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy, but just a reduction in meat. Why? We know that animal products are linked to higher blood pressure. In fact, the more dairy you eat, the higher your blood pressure is.
It is the standard American diet that is causing your blood pressure to be so high.
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Facts About High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure affects your health at every level
Thereâs a good reason why every doctorâs appointment starts with a blood pressure check. While one in three American adults has high blood pressure, about 20% of people are unaware that they have it because it is largely symptomless.
In fact, most people find out they have high blood pressure during a routine office visit.
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries as the heart pumps blood. High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, is when that force is too high and begins harming the body. If left untreated, it willl eventually cause damage to the heart and blood vessels.
Your blood pressure is measured in two numbers: The top systolic blood pressure measures the force pushing against artery walls when the heart is contracting. The bottom diastolic blood pressure measures pressure in the arteries when the heart is resting between beats.
Normal blood pressure levels are 120 mmHg/80 mmHg or lower. At risk levels are 120-139 mmHg/80-89 mmHg. Readings of 140 mmHg/90 mmHg or higher are defined as high blood pressure.
Here are six other things you should know about high blood pressure.
Understanding Blood Pressure Readings
The AHA explains that blood pressure is essentially the amount of force exerted by blood as it pushes up against blood vessel walls. Blood pressure is deemed to be “high” when the force of that push is higher than it should safely be.
The problem is that high blood pressure also known as hypertension is often symptomless. Many people don’t even know they have it until a cardiac emergency, such as a heart attack, strikes. Prevention by means of routine blood pressure screenings is key.
A blood pressure reading is delivered as a ratio of a top number and a bottom number . Both numbers are expressed as millimeters of mercury. The top number references blood pressure when the heart is beating, and the bottom number refers to the pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.
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How Do I Know If I Have High Blood Pressure
Theres only one way to know if you have high blood pressure: Have a doctor or other health professional measure it. Measuring your blood pressure is quick and painless.
Talk with your health care team about regularly measuring your blood pressure at home, also called self-measured blood pressure monitoring.
High blood pressure is called the silent killer because it usually has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it.
You Just Received A High Blood Pressure Reading Now What
Youre probably fairly used to the process of getting your blood pressure checked on virtually every visit to your doctors office. You sit down in a chair, are told how to position your arm and you sit and wait as the cuff gives your arm a good squeeze. Usually, the nurse recites off two numbers, records them in your file and says everything is good to go. Maybe you do the same for yourself with an at-home blood pressure machine and every so often measure your blood pressure to ensure it stays within the normal range. So, what happens when you check your blood pressure one day and you have a high reading?
Dr. Iva Smolens, cardiac surgeon at Banner Heart Hospital, explains that if you perform an isolated, one-time blood pressure reading that indicates , you should have it checked with your doctor within the week. Dr. Smolens further explains that a high blood pressure diagnosis is likely to be made after you and your doctor find that your blood pressure is high more than 3 times within the week. If this occurs, you should check with your doctor for consultation options.
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What Should Your Blood Pressure Be
Ideally, we should all have a blood pressure reading between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
Most people in the UK have blood pressures higher than the ideal, but below the usual cut-off for diagnosing high blood pressure somewhere between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg. If youre in this range, you could develop high blood pressure in the future. Taking steps to will keep your risk of health problems down.
Why Is High Blood Pressure A Problem
High blood pressure puts an extra strain on your heart and blood vessels, which can damage them and make them weaker. Over time, this can lead to including heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, some forms of dementia, kidney disease and peripheral arterial disease.
If you have as well as high blood pressure, such as diabetes or high cholesterol, this makes serious health problems in the future more likely, making it more important to take steps to .
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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.
High Blood Pressure Chart
- congenital conditions, such as Cushings syndrome, acromegaly, or pheochromocytoma
Sometimes, there is no apparent cause. In this case, a doctor will diagnose primary hypertension.
Consuming a high fat diet, carrying excess weight, drinking a lot of alcohol, smoking tobacco, and the use of some medications also increase the risk.
Treatment will depend on several factors, including:
- how high the blood pressure is
- the risk of cardiovascular disease or a stroke
The doctor will recommend different treatments as blood pressure increases. For slightly high blood pressure, they may suggest making lifestyle changes and monitoring the blood pressure.
If blood pressure is high, they will recommend medication. The options may change over time, according to how severe the hypertension is and whether complications arise, such as kidney disease. Some people may need a combination of several different medications.
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The Bottom Number Is The Only One That Matters In High Blood Pressure
Both numbers in your blood pressure reading count. A reading below 120/80 is normal.
If your top number is 120 to 129 and your bottom number is 80 or less, you have prehypertension. It means you could end up with high blood pressure unless you take steps to prevent it.
If your top number is 130 or above and your bottom number is 80 or above, you have high blood pressure. The higher the number, the greater your health risks.
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Most Common High Blood Pressure Symptoms
Most commonly high blood pressure causes no symptoms at all. This means that people with high blood pressure can be having damage occur to their heart, kidneys, eyes, and circulation without feeling badly! It is very important, therefore, to have blood pressure testing as part of the routine physical examination. However, in people with uncomplicated high blood pressure, they may experience
- dizziness, and
- shortness of breath.
The consequences of high blood pressure depend on the severity and the duration of the pressure, as well as the underlying medical condition of the individual affected. High blood pressure can affect the heart to cause:
- shortness of breath,
- heart attack.
High blood pressure can impair the function of the kidneys, leading to fluid retention and swelling of the legs, and even kidney failure. High blood pressure can affect the eyes, causing vision loss. High blood pressure can seriously affect the circulation causing pain in the legs with walking, cold feet, and stroke.
Fortunately, when high blood pressure is detected early, treated, and monitored, the consequences of high blood pressure can be avoided.
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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
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.
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High Blood Pressure Is Often Found Incidentally
Most people first discover they have high blood pressure during a routine visit to their healthcare provider. At other times, it is diagnosed when a person comes in with symptoms of heart problem which is either directly or indirectly associated with hypertension.
Another common time for diagnosis is during a womans first perinatal visit to an obstetrician. Since most new mothers tend to be young, regular visits to the healthcare provider arent usually a priority, leading to an uncharacteristically high number of diagnoses in this group.
How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed
To figure out your blood pressure rate, your health care provider takes blood pressure readings at different times. You need more than 1 reading because blood pressure changes depending on what you are doing and varies during the day. For example, your blood pressure can increase when you are nervous or in a hurry.
If your blood pressure is high while with your health care provider but normal otherwise, you may just be nervous. This effect is common. Even people already being treated for high blood pressure go through this.
What matters is what happens to your blood pressure outside your health care providers office. If you have high blood pressure, you should use a home blood pressure monitor. Ask your health care provider how to use the monitor correctly.
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What Medication Is Prescribed To Treat High Blood Pressure
Once diagnosed with high blood pressure, you and your doctor will discuss the best treatment options. If your doctor decides to prescribe you with a medication, it can be comforting to understand the different types of blood pressure medication available and what each of them do.
Each class of medications is accompanied by possible side effects and your doctor will work to determine which medication is right for you.
Why Is Your Blood Pressure Important
Your blood pressure is important because if it is too high, it affects the blood flow to your organs. Over the years, this increases your chances of developing heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, eye disease, erectile dysfunction and other conditions.
Very occasionally, people with very high blood pressure are at serious risk of problems and need urgent treatment in hospital to reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Current Australian guidelines recommend that if you have persistent raised blood pressure over 160/100 mmHg, but are at low risk of having a stroke or heart attack, you should talk to your doctor or specialist about taking medication to lower your blood pressure.
For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
If youre over 18, you should have your blood pressure checked by your doctor at least every 2 years, or more often if advised.
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Stroke And Brain Problems
High blood pressure can cause the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain to burst or be blocked, causing a stroke. Brain cells die during a stroke because they do not get enough oxygen. Stroke can cause serious disabilities in speech, movement, and other basic activities. A stroke can also kill you.
Having high blood pressure, especially in midlife, is linked to having poorer cognitive function and dementia later in life. Learn more about the link between high blood pressure and dementia from the National Institutes of Healths Mind Your RisksÂ®external icon campaign.
Treatments For Sudden Rise In Blood Pressure
A rise in already high blood pressure requires immediate medical attention. You can expect to have intravenous therapy and tests to determine what caused the spike in your pressure. Once your pressure is stabilized to a satisfactory level, then your doctor will discuss further treatment. Depending on your current health condition and any issues aside from high blood pressure, your treatment will vary.For example, if there is fluid in your lungs, you will be treated with prescribed diuretics to remove the fluid. If there is damage to your heart, you will be prescribed specific heart medication. Medications you may be taking may need to be adjusted or changed to another type, depending on your test results. Any kidney damage or tumors may require surgery.
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