How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. So the only way to find out if you have it is to get regular blood pressure checks from your health care provider. Your provider will use a gauge, a stethoscope or electronic sensor, and a blood pressure cuff. He or she will take two or more readings at separate appointments before making a diagnosis.
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For children and teens, the health care provider compares the blood pressure reading to what is normal for other kids who are the same age, height, and gender.
Easy Things You Can Do To Lower Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is dangerous. It can lead to many health problems, including heart attack, stroke, heart failure, angina, coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, kidney disease, vision loss, sexual dysfunction and more.
Fortunately, high blood pressure can often be prevented or controlled.
Here are some easy things you can do to lower your blood pressure or help prevent high blood pressure in the first place.
Set small, easily attainable goals, and when you reach them, set bigger ones. Step by step, you will take control of your health and your blood pressure.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Regularly drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure over time.
Staying within the recommended levels is the best way to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure:
- men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week
- spread your drinking over 3 days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week
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Small Changes Can Make A Big Difference In Your Blood Pressure Numbers
If you suddenly find yourself with high blood pressure under the new guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, you might be wondering what to do. The guidelines lowered the definition for high blood pressure to 130/80 from 140/90 millimeters of mercury , meaning more people now meet the criteria for stage 1 hypertension.
While you shouldn’t shrug off the change, there’s also no need to panic. “Obviously, nothing happened overnight inside a woman’s body or to her health with the release of the guidelines,” says Dr. Naomi Fisher, director of hypertension service and hypertension innovation at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Hypertension, and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
The change, however, should spur you to take your blood pressure seriously. “These guidelines have been long anticipated and are very welcome by most hypertension experts. They may seem drastic, but in putting the knowledge we’ve gained from large trials into clinical practice, they will help thousands of people,” says Dr. Fisher.
Dash Diet And Exercise Helps Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure Study Finds
CucumberIceberg lettuceCeleryRadishesTomatoesGreen peppersCauliflowerWatermelonSpinachStar fruitStrawberriesBroccoliGrapefruitBaby carrotsCantaloupe
Nearly half of all Americans live with high blood pressure, a key contributor to diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and serious complications from Covid-19, according to the American Heart Association.
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What To Eat To Prevent Or Manage High Blood Pressure
A heart-healthy diet helps prevent heart disease as well as high blood pressure, a major contributor to heart disease. What is a heart-healthy diet? Its a diet rich in:
- Whole grains
- Low-fat or nonfat dairy products
- Lean proteins
- Good fats found in products such as vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds
The DASH eating plan, which has been clinically proven to lower blood pressure, provides a framework for incorporating these heart-healthy foods into your diet. Although the name says its for people with high blood pressure, people with normal blood pressure levels who follow a DASH eating style can lower their risk of developing high blood pressure.
What To Eat And Not Eat To Prevent High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, affects about a third of all adults in the United States. Another third have prehypertension, where their blood pressure is high but not quite high enough to be diagnosed as hypertension. Often, high blood pressure has no symptoms, so the only way to know if you have it is to have your doctor measure it during your annual medical checkup.
High blood pressure is easy to get under control, but if left unchecked, it can lead to life-threatening conditions such as stroke, heart attack, and other serious heart issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 50% of those with high blood pressure have it under control.
In addition to exercising and losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, following a healthy eating plan is one of the best ways to prevent or manage high blood pressure.
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Seek Help For Snoring
Loud, incessant snoring is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea , a disorder that causes brief but dangerous breathing interruptions. Up to half of sleep apnea patients also live with hypertension, possibly due to high levels of aldosterone, a hormone that can boost blood pressure. Fixing sleep apnea could be helpful for improving BP, says Robert Greenfield, M.D., medical director of Non-Invasive Cardiology & Cardiac Rehabilitation at MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute.
Drugs And Supplements To Avoid With High Blood Pressure
It’s just as important to avoid substances that can increase your blood pressure as it is to make lifestyle changes and take blood pressure medications.
Here is a list of substances to avoid if you have high blood pressure:
- Over-the-counter “decongestant” cold medications that contain pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine, like Sudafed
- Chronic use of NSAIDs , like Motrin , Advil , and Aleve
- Black licorice
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Cut Added Sugar And Refined Carbs
Theres a growing body of research showing a link between added sugar and high blood pressure 00649-8/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”> 30, 31).
In the Framingham Womens Health Study, women who drank even one soda per day had higher levels than those who drank less than one soda per day .
Another study found that having one less sugar-sweetened beverage per day was linked to lower blood pressure .
And its not just sugar all refined carbs, such as the kind found in white flour convert rapidly to sugar in your bloodstream and may cause problems.
Some studies have shown that low carb diets may also help reduce blood pressure.
One study on people undergoing statin therapy found that those who went on a 6-week, carb-restricted diet saw a greater improvement in blood pressure and other heart disease markers than people who did not restrict carbs .
Bottom line: Refined carbs, especially sugar, may raise blood pressure. Some studies have shown that low carb diets may help reduce your levels.
Berries are full of more than just juicy flavor.
Theyre also packed with polyphenols, natural plant compounds that are good for your heart.
Polyphenols can reduce the risk of stroke, heart conditions, and diabetes, as well as improving blood pressure, insulin resistance, and systemic inflammation .
One study assigned people with high blood pressure to a low-polyphenol diet or a high-polyphenol diet containing berries, chocolate, fruits, and vegetables .
The Health Risks Of High Blood Pressure
A healthy blood pressure is anything below 120/80 mm Hg, according to the CDC. Hypertension, on the other hand, is defined by a systolic blood pressure of 130 or higher or a diastolic reading of 80 or higher.
Having high blood pressure affects almost every single organ in your body, according to the American Heart Association , because it increases how hard your cardiac system has to work.
Over time, increased pressure in your arteries damages them stretching them out and putting them at risk for hardening, tearing or leaking, says Nicole Weinberg, MD, a cardiologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center. High blood pressure can also lead to blood clots and an accumulation of LDL, the “bad” cholesterol.
The most serious risks of hypertension, though, are stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, eye damage and dementia, Scott Jamison, MD, a functional and internal medicine physician with PALM Health, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
“Not everyone can feel elevations in their blood pressure,” Dr. Weinberg tells LIVESTRONG.com. “This is why it is known as the ‘silent killer,’ because you can have elevated blood pressure for years without knowing it. During that time, blood vessels and organs are accommodating these changes. By the time it is diagnosed, damage may have already occurred.”
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Canned Tomatoes And Bottled Sauce
Making your own tomato sauce can take some time. Therefore, I can understand buying your own jar of it when preparing a meal after work. Although it doesnt taste as good as homemade, convenience and speed will frequently make bottled sauce your first choice.
One serving of bottle tomato sauce has about 480 mg of sodium. Depending on your choice, canned tomatoes can have almost the same. After adding cheese and bread to your meal, the sodium level in one meal exceeds what you should consume in one day.
Prevent High Blood Pressure
Practice healthy living habits, like being physically active, to help prevent high blood pressure.
By living a healthy lifestyle, you can help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range. Preventing high blood pressure, which is also called hypertension, can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. Practice the following healthy living habits:
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Get Regular Exercise To Hamper Hypertension
Exercise has a direct, immediate impact on blood pressure. “The increase in nitric oxide in one’s system from exercise causes vasodilation, which lowers blood pressure,” Dr. Weinberg says.
What’s more, regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is associated with lower cardiac events and mortality, according to the American College of Cardiology‘s 2019 ACC/AHA Guidelines on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease.
“One of the most impactful lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure is exercising 30 to 60 minutes a day,” says Sanjiv Patel, MD, interventional cardiologist at MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center.
Although incorporating exercise into your daily routine can be beneficial for blood pressure, always be sure to speak with your doctor before starting an exercise regimen, especially if you have any other medical conditions, to ensure that the activity you’re choosing is safe.
Based on the American College of Cardiology’s recommendations for heart health, you should get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity physical activity, being sure to include resistance exercise.
“A combination of both an aerobic exercise like running, jogging, fast walking or swimming, in combination with low-weight, higher-repetition exercise is a great way to reduce blood pressure,” Dr. Patel says.
How Can I Prevent High Blood Pressure
You can help prevent high blood pressure by having a healthy lifestyle. This means
If you already have high blood pressure, it is important to prevent it from getting worse or causing complications. You should get regular medical care and follow your prescribed treatment plan. Your plan will include healthy lifestyle habit recommendations and possibly medicines.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
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When To See A Doctor
High blood pressure is a serious condition that can lead to stroke, heart attack, and even death if left untreated. While there is a lot you can do at home to help lower your systolic blood pressure, it’s important to follow all treatment recommendations from your healthcare provider.
If you experience severe headache, blurred vision, drooping on one side of the face, weakness on one side of the body, chest pain, or other concerning symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
What Is High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of your blood as it flows through the arteries in your body. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. When your heart beats, it pushes blood through your arteries. As the blood flows, it puts pressure on your artery walls. This is called blood pressure.
High blood pressure happens when your blood moves through your arteries at a higher pressure than normal. Many different things can cause high blood pressure. If your blood pressure gets too high or stays high for a long time, it can cause health problems. Uncontrolled high blood pressure puts you at a higher risk for stroke, heart disease, heart attack, and kidney failure.
There are 2 types of high blood pressure.
Primary hypertension. This is also called essential hypertension. It is called this when there is no known cause for your high blood pressure. This is the most common type of hypertension. This type of blood pressure usually takes many years to develop. It probably is a result of your lifestyle, environment, and how your body changes as you age.
Secondary hypertension. This is when a health problem or medicine is causing your high blood pressure. Things that can cause secondary hypertension include:
- Kidney problems.
- Thyroid or adrenal gland problems.
- Some medicines.
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Prevent And Manage High Blood Pressure
Whatever your age, you can take steps each day to keep your blood pressure in a healthy range.
You can help prevent high blood pressurealso called hypertensionby making healthy choices and managing other health conditions you may have.
Health care professionals and other partners can help by visiting The Surgeon Generals Call to Action to Control Hypertension. Learn about specific steps that key sectors can take to make a substantial, positive impact on the health of Americans.
Read The Surgeon Generals Call to Action to Control Hypertension and share it with your colleagues, peers, and loved ones. Incorporate actionable steps into your work, community, or personal life to help reduce high blood pressure.
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What you eat and drink can have an enormous effect on blood pressure, helping you to either lower blood pressure naturally or make it worse over time. There are three food additives partially hydrogenated oil, sodium, and sugar that have the worst and biggest impact on increasing blood pressure. But they arent the only offenders. Youve got to avoid certain foods if youre trying to lower high blood pressure.
Consider the following as enemies number one, two and three as you work to regain heart health and get blood pressure under control.
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How To Lower Your Blood Pressure
You already know that you should exercise, quit smoking and cut back on alcohol. Besides those healthy moves, here are five other strategies proven to lower your blood pressurea lot.
1. Improve your diet / lose weight. If youre carrying around extra pounds, dropping them will lower your blood pressure. But even people who are at a healthy weight can stand to improve their diet. The DASH eating plan was developed just for people with high blood pressure: DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The flexible diet recommends more vegetables and whole grains and fewer fatty and sweetened foods. Consider probiotics as well some studies suggest that gut bacteria influence blood pressure.
Online health coaching can help you lower your blood pressure, lose weight and more. Some Aetna members, for instance, have free access to the Simpler Steps to a Healthier Life program, which offers online sessions that make attaining health goals easy and fun.
2. Relax / manage stress. Blood pressure rises in response to stress. Stress management techniques help fight high blood pressure. That can mean yoga, meditation, listening to music, spending time in nature whatever is most effective for you. One recent study found that people who enjoy saunas 4 to 7 times a week had 50% lower blood pressure than non-sauna users.