What Causes High Blood Pressure
The cause of high blood pressure, or hypertension, is often unknown. It develops over time and often happens as a result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Occasionally, some people have hypertension caused by an underlying condition, such as kidney disease, adrenal gland tumors or thyroid disorders, says Dr. Wong. Other conditions like pregnancy, diabetes and obesity can also increase your risk.
Some people are susceptible to high blood pressure from certain medications, such as birth control pills, some decongestants and even some over-the-counter pain relievers, says Wong. Illicit drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines may also raise blood pressure.
High blood pressure is extremely common. A 2017 to 2018 survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics found 45.5% of U.S. adults have hypertensionOstchega Y, et al. Hypertension prevalence among adults aged 18 and over: United States, 2017-2018. National Center for Health Statistics. Accessed 7/16/2021. .
What Causes Low Blood Pressure
The cause of low blood pressure isn’t always clear. It may be associated with the following:
- Some prescription medicines such as for high blood pressure, depression or Parkinsonâs disease
- Heart failure
- Heart arrhythmias
- Widening, or dilation, of the blood vessels
- Severe dehydration from vomiting, diarrhea, or fever
- A reaction to medication or alcohol
- A severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis that causes an irregular heartbeat
Who Gets Postural Hypotension?
Postural hypotension, which is low blood pressure when standing up suddenly, can happen to anyone for a variety of reasons, such as dehydration, lack of food, or being overly fatigued. It can also be influenced by genetic make-up, aging, medication, dietary and psychological factors, and acute triggers, such as infection and allergy.
Postural hypotension occurs most frequently in people who are taking drugs to control high blood pressure . It can also be related to pregnancy, strong emotions, hardening of the arteries , or diabetes. The elderly are particularly affected, especially those who have high blood pressure or autonomic nervous system dysfunction.
Hypotension after meals is a common cause of dizziness and falls after eating. This is most common after large meals containing a lot of carbohydrates. Itâs believed to be caused by blood pooling into the vessels of the stomach and intestines.
Common causes of naturally occurring postural hypotension include:
Medicines For High Blood Pressure
Several types of medicine can be used to help control high blood pressure.
Many people need to take a combination of different medicines.
- if youâre under 55 years of age youâll usually be offered an ACE inhibitor or an angiotensin-2 receptor blocker
- if youâre aged 55 or older, or youâre any age and of African or Caribbean origin youâll usually be offered a calcium channel blocker
You may need to take blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life. But your doctor might be able to reduce or stop your treatment if your blood pressure stays under control for several years.
Itâs really important to take your medicine as directed. If you miss doses, it will not work as well.
The medicine will not necessarily make you feel any different, but this does not mean itâs not working.
Medicines used to treat high blood pressure can have side effects, but most people do not get any.
If you do get side effects, do not stop taking your medicine. Talk to your doctor, who may advise changing your medicine.
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What’s The Difference Between Blood Pressure And Pulse
While your blood pressure is the force of your blood moving through your blood vessels, your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute.
- They are two separate measurements and indicators of health.
- For people with high blood pressure , theres no substitute for measuring blood pressure.
New Findings Focus On Diastolic Blood Pressurethe Second Number In Your Blood Pressure Reading
Of the two numbers that make up your blood pressure reading, the first one typically gets more attention. That’s because as people age, their arteries lose their elasticity, and the inner walls are more likely to accumulate cholesterol-laden plaque. These factors tend to raise systolic blood pressure, a measure of the pressure inside the arteries when the heart contracts to pump blood throughout the body.
Current guidelines suggest that most people should aim for a systolic blood pressure reading of 140 millimeters of mercury or lower. But last year, a widely publicized clinical trial suggested that a target of 120 mm Hg could further reduce the dangers associated with high blood pressure .
Yet reaching that lower target required an average of three blood pressure medications, which resulted in more side effects. Now, two recent observational studies highlight some concerns about blood pressure that’s too low, particularly with regard to diastolic blood pressure. Diastolic blood pressure represents the pressure between beats when the heart relaxes.
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What Procedures And Tests Diagnose Low Blood Pressure
In some people, particularly relatively healthy ones, symptoms of weakness, dizziness, and fainting raise the suspicion of low blood pressure. In others, an event often associated with low blood pressure, for example, a heart attack, has occurred to cause the symptoms.
Measuring blood pressure in both the lying and standing positions usually is the first step in diagnosing low blood pressure. In patients with symptomatic low blood pressure, there often is a marked drop in blood pressure upon standing, and patients may even develop orthostatic symptoms. The heart rate often increases. The goal is to identify the cause of the low blood pressure. Sometimes the causes are readily apparent . At other times, the cause may be identified by testing:
When To Contact A Medical Professional
If low blood pressure causes a person to pass out , seek treatment right away. Or call 911 or the local emergency number. If the person is not breathing or has no pulse, begin CPR.
- Black or maroon stools
Hypotension Blood pressure – low Postprandial hypotension Orthostatic hypotension Neurally mediated hypotension NMH
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What Is Cardiac Syncope
Cardiac or cardiovascular syncope is caused by various heart conditions, such as bradycardia, tachycardia or certain types of hypotension. It can increase the risk of sudden cardiac death.
People suspected of having cardiac syncope but who don’t have serious medical conditions may be managed as outpatients. Further inpatient evaluation is needed if serious medical conditions are present. Conditions that may warrant hospital evaluation and treatment include various cardiac arrhythmic conditions, cardiac ischemia, severe aortic stenosis and pulmonary embolism. If evaluation suggests cardiac vascular abnormalities, an ambulatory external or implantable cardiac monitor may be required.
Heart failure, atrial fibrillation and other serious cardiac conditions can cause recurrent syncope in older adults, with a sharp increase after age 70.
Sudden Spike In Blood Pressure Can Be Serious
Blood pressure is a measurement of the force that blood applies to your arterial walls as it pumps from your heart throughout your body. It also represents how hard your heart is working to push the blood. When blood pressure is higher, it means the heart must work harder to push blood through your system. In turn, the risk of heart disease or heart attack increases.
According to 2014 data, high blood pressure accounts for roughly 1,100 deaths every day in the United States, and only about half of all people with high blood pressure have it under control.
Disturbingly, most people may not even be aware that they have the condition, or are at least on the verge of becoming hypertensive. Some risk factors for high blood pressure include:
- Eating a high sodium/low potassium diet
- Not getting enough exercise/physical activity
- Overactive thyroid
- Overactive adrenal glands
A normal blood pressure is in the range of 120 mmHg/80 mmHg . The higher number represents systolic blood pressure and the lower represents diastolic. Prehypertension arises when systolic and diastolic pressures exceed these numbers, and hypertensionor high blood pressurearises when blood pressure reaches 140 mmHg/90mmHg.
Sometimes, however, something causes blood pressure to spike unexpectedlyand the higher your resting blood pressure is, the greater your risk of suffering a severe cardiac event becomes. Therefore, knowing how to lower blood pressure fast is very important.
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Can You Be Healthy And Have Low Blood Pressure
According to Luke Laffin MD, a preventive cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, There are many normal reasons for lower blood pressure, including younger age and small stature. Some people just have a genetic predisposition to low blood pressure.
Generally, if there are no symptoms, low blood pressure is not considered a problem. Though some people do naturally have blood pressure that tends to be on the low side and have no symptoms.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure
A normal blood pressure is a systolic blood pressure that is less than 120 mmHg ) and a diastolic blood pressure that is less than 80 mmHg.
The ACC and AHA recommend that adults should have their blood pressure checked at least once a year. If an adult has one or more risk factors for high blood pressurefor example, a family history or a history of smokingthey should be screened at least twice a year.
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What Is High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is defined as the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. High blood pressure also known as hypertension is a disease in which blood flows through blood vessels at a higher than normal pressure.
Blood pressure is measured with two numbers. The first, or top number, is the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats, called the systolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the higher of the two numbers. The second, or bottom number, measures the force of blood in your arteries while your heart is relaxed between beats. The bottom number is the lower of the two and is called the diastolic pressure.
Normal pressure is 120/80 or lower. Your blood pressure is considered high if it reads 130/80. Stage 2 high blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. If you get a blood pressure reading of 180/110 or higher more than once, seek medical treatment right away. A reading this high is considered hypertensive crisis.
Readings between 120/80 and 129/89 are considered pre-hypertension. People with pre-hypertension do not have blood pressure as low as it should be but are not yet considered to have high blood pressure.
Research For Your Health
The NHLBI is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health the Nations biomedical research agency that makes important scientific discovery to improve health and save lives. We are committed to advancing science and translating discoveries into clinical practice to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders, including problems associated with low blood pressure. Learn about current and future NHLBI efforts to improve health through research and scientific discovery.
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Diagnosing High Blood Pressure
Only a licensed healthcare professional can diagnose high blood pressure. Your doctor will check your blood pressure to see what your reading is.
If your doctor suspects that your high blood pressure is the symptom of another medical condition, youll need to complete more specific tests to learn more. If another condition is discovered, treating it should have a positive impact on your blood pressure.
When Is Low Blood Pressure An Emergency
In many cases, low blood pressure readings are not a cause for concern. A person with low blood pressure may not even be aware that their blood pressure is low, as it does not cause symptoms in many cases.
There is also no specific cutoff point at which blood pressure becomes too low or dangerously low, as it may vary from person to person.
Some people may have chronic low blood pressure and can be otherwise healthy. The American Heart Association note that most doctors will only consider chronic low blood pressure to be dangerous if it causes other symptoms.
Severe symptoms that come on suddenly may also be a cause for concern.
While symptoms may vary from person to person, they typically include:
If a person experiences any of these symptoms, they should contact a doctor.
When blood pressure is very low or drops rapidly, it can also be a medical emergency. The note that extremely low drops in blood pressure may put the bodys organs at risk of not getting enough blood, which may lead to shock.
Some concerning signs accompanying very low blood pressure to look out for include:
- rapid, shallow breathing
- very weak but rapid pulse
- cold, clammy skin
- blue hue to the skin
Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek emergency medical attention.
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Bp Limits Which Is More Dangerous Low Or High Blood Pressure
When talking about blood pressure, we are actually referring to the pressure with which our blood circulates and pushes on the walls of our blood vessels. It is actually a very good indicator of our overall health and can even reveal how our health might be in the future. So it is understandable why a healthy blood pressure is something that everyone wants, but what exactly is a healthyblood pressure?
What Exactly Is Blood Pressure?
Our heart pumps blood continuously and it must do so in order to keep us alive by supplying our body with the energy and oxygen it requires. This pumping helps our blood circulate around our body and as the blood moves, it presses on the walls of our arteries. The strength with which blood presses and pushes the blood vessels is basically our blood pressure. When this pressure is too high it can damage and strain our arteries which can lead to a series of health complications. Likewise, very low blood pressure may also be detrimental to ones health.
If you have ever had your blood pressure taken, you know that the reading consists of two numbers. The top number is called systolic, while the bottom one diastolic.
What Is Considered Healthy BP? Blood Pressure Chart
Blood pressure that is below 120/80 is considered to be an ideal, healthy blood pressure. When your blood pressure is in this range, you have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke or other complications.
What Happens When Your Blood Pressure Is High?
Causes of High Blood Pressure
Improving Health With Current Research
Learn about the following ways the NHLBI continues to translate current research into improved health for people with abnormally low blood pressure. Research on this topic is part of the NHLBIs broader commitment to advancing heart and vascular disease scientific discovery.
- Testing Treatments for Cardiac Arrest and Trauma. The Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium clinical trial network tested treatments to address high morbidity and mortality rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and severe traumatic injury. ROC investigators compared different strategies for supplemental fluids in trauma patients who have low blood pressure. Other ROC studies found a link between low blood pressure readings and the need for emergency procedures.
- Understanding How Low Blood Pressure Affects Diverse Populations. NHLBI-supported researchers are studying low blood pressure in different populations. Investigators in the NHLBIs Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study found that people who have low blood pressure when standing up, known as orthostatic hypotension, are at higher risk for stroke. In a follow-up study of NHLBIs Honolulu Heart Program, researchers found older Japanese men who had orthostatic hypotension were nearly twice as likely to die within the next four years as those who did not have orthostatic hypotension. NHLBIs Cardiovascular Health Study found that orthostatic hypotension was common in older adults, increases with age, and is linked to cardiovascular diseases.
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Is Low Blood Pressure A Problem
For some people, low blood pressure is a sign of good health. These are generally people who are very fit and who have a slow pulse. For other people, low blood pressure is a problem.
Often, people with low blood pressure can be expected to lead longer lives.
However, people who experience continuing symptoms of low blood pressure should see a doctor. Sudden, severe low blood pressure can be associated with serious medical conditions.
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.
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What Puts People With Diabetes At A Higher Risk Of Bouts Of Low Blood Pressure
Diabetes and age-related changes can result in damage to your nerves involved in monitoring blood pressure as well as your reflexes that help constrict blood vessels and increase heart rate to compensate for standing up or eating a meal. Your nerve sensors in your arteries that monitor blood pressure may not work as effectively if you have diabetes especially if you have poor blood sugar control making them more prone to a drastic drop in blood pressure.
What To Do If You Experience A Sudden Drop In Blood Pressure
A single low blood pressure reading is no cause to be concerned unless you experience other symptoms.
A sudden drop in blood pressure as little as a drop from 120 to 100 in your systolic number can be dangerous if it triggers dizziness and fainting. Such symptoms can be a sign of an underlying problem that may need medical attention.
You should keep a record of your activities and when symptoms happen to discuss them with your doctor. If you experience any low blood pressure symptoms related to shock, you should seek immediate medical attention.
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