Secondary High Blood Pressure
Some cases of high blood pressure are the result of underlying factors or cause and this is known as secondary high blood pressure.
Underlying factors include:
- kidney conditions, such as a kidney infection, or kidney disease
- narrowing of the arteries
- hormonal conditions, such as Cushing’s syndrome
- conditions that affect the bodys tissue, such as lupus
- medication, such as the oral contraceptive pill, or the type of painkillers that are known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen
- recreational drugs, such as cocaine, amphetamines and crystal meth
Occasionally, a rise in blood pressure can result from taking herbal remedies, such as herbal supplements.
Myth #: If Your Blood Pressure Is Below 140/90 Theres Nothing To Worry About
Fact: About 30 percent of adults have prehypertension, defined as systolic pressure of 120 to 139 or diastolic pressure of 80 to 89. Having even one number in this range, even if the other is normal , still counts as prehypertension, which is also known as borderline high blood pressure.
In a 2014 meta-analysis of studies involving more than 700,000 people, published in Neurology, people with prehypertension were 66 percent more likely to suffer a stroke than those with normal BP. For people at the high end of the prehypertensive range , stroke risk was nearly doubled. This meta-analysis provides further evidence to physicians and patients that we need to take blood pressure seriously even at borderline levels, commented Ralph L. Sacco, MD, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Florida.
What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers:
The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.
If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say, 120 over 80, or write, 120/80 mmHg.
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High Blood Pressure: Common Commonly Uncontrolled And Dangerous
10 steps for fighting the good fight against high blood pressure
It’s been more than a century since a Russian surgeon first described the simple and precise way to measure blood pressure that is still in use. We’ve learned a lot since then about what influences blood pressure and about how high blood pressure can wreak havoc throughout the body. What we haven’t managed to do is get the public, and a fair number of doctors, to take high blood pressure seriously. Nearly two-thirds of the 65 million American adults with high blood pressure don’t have it under control. That’s a big problem, because it’s a major cause of stroke, heart attack, heart and kidney failure, and early death.
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- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
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Measuring Ambulatory Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can also be diagnosed through a special device called an ambulatory blood pressure monitor. A doctor, nurse or pharmacist will get you to wear the device for a full day. The device measures blood pressure every 20 to 30 minutes and gives the doctor an average of your blood pressures during the day and while you are sleeping. These devices are not available everywhere and can be uncomfortable to wear.
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Primary High Blood Pressure
While the specific cause of primary high blood pressure remains unknown, there is compelling evidence to suggest that a number of risk factors increase your chances of developing the condition.
These risk factors include:
- age – the risk of developing high blood pressure increases as you get older
- a family history of high blood pressure – the condition seems to run in families
- being of Afro-Caribbean or South Asian origin
- high-fat diet
- high amount of salt in your diet
- lack of exercise
- excessive alcohol consumption
A number of health conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease, have also been linked to an increase risk of developing primary high blood pressure.
Risk Factors For Hypertension
There are a number of factors that can put you at a greater risk for developing hypertension.
If you are aware of these risk factors and understand how they can affect you, you may be less likely to develop high blood pressure or know you can help control it.
- Family History: If you have a close blood relative with HBP, you are at a greater risk of developing it yourself.
- Age: The older you get, the more likely you are to be diagnosed with HBP.
- Gender: Males are more likely to develop HBP before the age of 65. Women tend to develop hypertension over the age of 65.
- Race: More than 4 in 10 African-Americans suffer from high blood pressure. Hypertension in these individuals usually occurs earlier in life and is much more severe.
- Diabetes: More than 3 in 4 people with Diabetes are also diagnosed with Hypertension.
- Lifestyle: The choices you make can decrease your risk of developing hypertension. These factors include diet, exercise, being overweight and the use of alcohol and tobacco. The good news is that, unlike the others, these risk factors can be changed.
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What Should I Do When My Blood Pressure Reaches Dangerous Levels
If youre experiencing dangerous blood pressure levels, its important to know what to do. Weve covered some emergency treatment for high blood pressure at home.
Additionally, well continue with more information about how to treat or prevent this condition in the long term if you can take care of yourself before your numbers reach emergency status again.
Here we go:
-Stay away from caffeinated and alcoholic beverages as they can raise your heart rate. If youre around friends or family who are intoxicated, try to stay calm and avoid engaging in heated conversations.
This will help lower your blood pressure levels, so emergency treatment is not necessary again soon after this emergency episode passes.
-If you have a history of emergency treatment for high blood pressure at home, try to avoid foods high in sodium as they can cause your numbers to rise.
-If youre under stress or feel anxious about something going on in your life. It might be helpful to take up meditation and yoga find an instructor who works with your schedule and try to make this a daily practice.
These activities can help lower your blood pressure levels, especially if youre feeling anxious or stressed out about something in particular.
-Try walking around the block each day after dinner as its been shown that regular walking can reduce high blood pressure symptoms over time. Dont forget to take enough water with you so that you stay hydrated.
How To Prepare For A Blood Pressure Test
Your doctor will use a blood pressure test to see if you have higher-than-normal blood pressure readings. The reading is made up of two numbers, with the systolic number above the diastolic number. These numbers are measures of pressure in mm Hg. To learn more about systolic and diastolic pressure, visit How the Heart Works.
A blood pressure test is easy and painless and can be done in a doctor’s office or clinic. A healthcare provider will use a gauge, stethoscope, or electronic sensor and a blood pressure cuff to measure your blood pressure. To prepare, take the following steps:
- Do not exercise, drink coffee, or smoke cigarettes for 30 minutes before the test.
- Go to the bathroom before the test.
- For at least 5 minutes before the test, sit in a chair and relax.
- Make sure your feet are flat on the floor.
- Do not talk while you are relaxing or during the test.
- Uncover your arm for the cuff.
- Rest your arm on a table so it is supported and at the level of your heart.
If it is the first time your provider has measured your blood pressure, you may have readings taken on both arms.
You can also take your blood pressure at home or at a pharmacy. Visit Measure Your Blood Pressure for more information.
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What Does High Blood Pressure Feel Like
High blood pressure often doesn’t have any symptoms, so you usually don’t feel it.
Hypertension is usually diagnosed by a health care professional during a routine checkup. The average person should get a blood pressure reading at least once a year. As a cardiologist, I think its important for everyone to know their numbers. That means knowing what your blood pressure is. And it also means knowing your blood sugar level, cholesterol and body mass index. When you know your numbers, you can work with your doctor to make a plan to reduce any risks.
Blood pressure is even more important to pay attention to, though, if you have a close relative with hypertension or other risk factors. And know that if your blood pressure is extremely high, you may have unusually severe headaches, chest pain, difficulty breathing or get easily worn out by workouts. If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away.
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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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.
Keep Normal Blood Pressure Levels
To maintain normal blood pressure levels, there are a number of things you can do to prevent high or low blood pressure levels that can turn into serious health problems.
Sodium intake should be kept at 1500 mg and should not exceed 2300 mg a day. And avoid adding additional salt to your foods.
Avoid processed foods which contain high amounts of sodium and offer little nutritional value.
Limit your caffeine intake which can have an effect on your blood pressure.
You can greatly reduce your risk of dangerous blood pressure levels by exercising regularly for 30 minutes a day.
Keep yourself at a healthy weight for your height and age. Even ten pound can have a huge impact on your blood pressure levels.
Reduce your stress by practicing yoga or meditating.
Limit your alcohol consumption or stop altogether.
Stop smoking and using tobacco products.
The older you get, the more important is is to take the steps to prevent high or low levels of blood pressure. People over 50 tend to have an increase in systolic pressure which can be even more a problem for those who also have diabetes. It is always recommended you talk to your doctor about how to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.
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Importance Of Managing Hypertension Through Medication
It is critical to take medicine to control hypertension before traveling for your healths sake. Blood pressure medications help in maintaining a healthy blood pressure level, lowering the risk of heart disease.
Blood pressure levels should be taken seriously when traveling, especially during the holidays, to ensure that you have a pleasant trip. When a high blood pressure level is effectively controlled, it is usually not a problem when participating in most activities. However, persons with hypertension should avoid high-adrenaline sports such as bungee jumping, scuba diving, and sky diving.
Additionally, blood pressure can be affected by more tranquil activities. If you use a hot tub, steam room, or sauna, ensure that you stay hydrated. Being in a hot environment can drop your blood pressure, making you feel dizzy or faint when mixed with blood pressure drugs. To be safe, when using these kinds of facilities, ensure you are with someone who understands your diagnosis.
Always verify with the activitys provider to ensure that they are aware of your condition. If they have no idea whether or not you should participate, it is not worth it to risk. It is also essential to consult your doctor before traveling or participating in any of the activities mentioned above. Again, it is better to be safe rather than sorry!
Myth #: Elevated Blood Pressure Always Requires Medication
Fact: For people with prehypertension, said Dr. Sacco, The first step is lifestyle modification with increasing physical activity, losing weight and eating healthy including reducing salt consumption. If these do not work or are unsuccessful, then medications may be warranted, particularly among those with elevated risk of stroke such as family history, diabetes, or other vascular conditions.
Research also shows that the right diet can also significantly lower BP in those with full-blown hypertension. For example, in one study, following the DASH diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods, for eight weeks reduced BP from an average of 146/85 to 134/82 mmHg, compared to a control diet.
While its likely that your physician will prescribe medication as well as lifestyle changes if your blood pressure 140/90 or above, following your treatment plan carefully can significantly reduce risk for heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, and other potential complications of HBP.
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When Should You Get Help For An Abnormal Blood Pressure Reading
One high or low blood pressure reading by itself may not mean you need to call for help. If you take your blood pressure and it is out of the normal range, wait a few minutes and take it again. If it’s still high or low, use the following guidance.
911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
- You passed out .
or seek immediate medical care if:
- Your blood pressure is much higher than normal .
- You think high blood pressure is causing symptoms such as:
- Severe headache.
- Your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher on two or more occasions.
- Your blood pressure is usually normal and well controlled, but it goes above the normal range on more than one occasion.
- Your blood pressure is lower than usual and you are dizzy or light-headed.
- You think you may be having side effects from your blood pressure medicine.
Dangerous Myths About High Blood Pressure
May marks National High Blood Pressure Education Month, dedicated to raising awareness of a disorder that claims more lives each year than obesity, pre-diabetes and high cholesterol combined, accounting for about 1,000 deaths a day in the US, according to a 2015 paper published in Journal of Human Hypertension.
In most countries, more than 80 percent of adults have blood pressure levels that increase their risk for early death from cardiovascular disease including heart attacks, strokes and heart failure, according to a recent paper published in European Heart Journal Supplements. Yet high blood pressure is both treatable and preventable.
Here are common misconceptions about HBP , along with the facts patients need to know to protect their health.
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So You Have High Blood Pressure What Else Could Be Wrong
If you have high blood pressure, get checked for diabetes and high cholesterol. Most people who have high blood pressure also have some of the other risks for heart disease and stroke, such as not getting enough physical activity, having unhealthy eating habits, smoking, being overweight or drinking too much alcohol. Ask your doctor to test your kidney function through a blood and urine test, and through the electrolytes in your blood kidney problems can cause high blood pressure.
What Happens If You Miss One Blood Pressure Pill
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses to make up for the dose you missed. Regularly fill prescriptions and ask the pharmacist any questions you have.
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Measuring Your Blood Pressure At Home
You can also diagnose yourself with hypertension by measuring your blood pressure at home. If readings are high over two visits at the doctors office, and if your blood pressure is higher than 135/85 mmHg when properly measured at home, then the diagnosis of hypertension can be made. This requires you to measure your blood pressure twice a day, in the morning and evening, for one week. Pay no attention to the measurements from the first day. Measuring blood pressure at home requires accurate equipment and proper measuring techniques. Measure the blood pressure of others in your house their blood pressure may also be high.