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Complications Of High Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure Measurement: How to Check Blood Pressure Manually

Untreated or poorly managed high blood pressure can cause serious and even life threatening issues. It can damage your blood vessels as well as your organs. The longer your hypertension goes untreated, the more it can damage your body and affect your health.

Potential complications of high blood pressure include:

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.

What Is It Used For

A blood pressure measurement is most often used to diagnose high blood pressure.

Blood pressure that’s too low, known as hypotension, is much less common. But you may get tested for low blood pressure if you have certain symptoms. Unlike high blood pressure, low blood pressure usually causes symptoms. These include:

  • Weakness

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How Do Health Care Professionals Measure My Blood Pressure

First, a health care professional wraps an inflatable cuff around your arm. The health care professional then inflates the cuff, which gently tightens on your arm. The cuff has a gauge on it that will measure your blood pressure.

The health care professional will slowly let air out of the cuff while listening to your pulse with a stethoscope and watching the gauge. This process is quick and painless. If using a digital or automatic blood pressure cuff, the health care professional will not need to use a stethoscope.

The gauge uses a unit of measurement called millimeters of mercury to measure the pressure in your blood vessels.

If you have high blood pressure, talk to your health care team about steps to take to control your blood pressure to lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Use this list of questions to ask your health care team pdf icon to help you manage your blood pressure.

Tips For Checking Your Own Blood Pressure

Doctors: Home blood pressure monitors can help

There are certain factors that can cause blood pressure to temporarily rise. For example, blood pressure normally rises as a result of:

Try to avoid as many of these factors as you can when taking your blood pressure. Also, try to measure your blood pressure at about the same time each day. Your doctor may want you to check your blood pressure several times during the day to see if it fluctuates.

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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 Risks®external icon campaign.

Welcome To Our Home Monitoring Resource Hub

Here you can find resources for home monitoring, see our simple steps to get an accurate reading and make the most out of home monitoring.

Plus, read more about .

The first step to managing your blood pressure is to Know Your Numbers! Watch our video to see how to measure your blood pressure at home and use our tips and resources below to check your own blood pressure at home.

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How Are Blood Pressure Levels Categorized

There are four blood pressure categories:

  • Normal blood pressure: Systolic below 120 and diastolic below 80 mm Hg
  • Prehypertension: Systolic between 120-139 and diastolic between 80-89 mm Hg
  • Stage I hypertension: Systolic between 140-159 and diastolic between 90-99 mm Hg
  • Stage II hypertension: Systolic above 160 and diastolic above 100 mm Hg

Monitoring your blood pressure levels can help you prevent or delay the onset of high blood pressure and related health problems. If you notice that your blood pressure readings are getting higher, talk to your doctor. They can help you set goals and recommend lifestyle changes that can help you get the numbers back down and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

Healthy And Unhealthy Blood Pressure Ranges

Blood Pressure: How High is Too High and How Do I Lower it Safely?

Learn whats considered normal, as recommended by the American Heart Association.

Blood Pressure Chart

SYSTOLIC mm Hg and/or DIASTOLIC mm Hg
NORMAL
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE STAGE 1 130 139
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE STAGE 2 140 OR HIGHER
HYPERTENSIVE CRISIS HIGHER THAN 180 and/or HIGHER THAN 120

Note: A diagnosis of high blood pressure must be confirmed with a medical professional. A doctor should also evaluate any unusually low blood pressure readings.

The five blood pressure ranges as recognized by the American Heart Association are:

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Understanding Your Blood Pressure Reading

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury and is given as 2 numbers:

  • systolic pressure the pressure when your heart pushes blood out
  • diastolic pressure the pressure when your heart rests between beats

The highest number is always the systolic pressure and it’s always given first. For example, a blood pressure given as “120 over 80” or 120/80mmHg means a systolic pressure of 120mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 80mmHg.

As a general guide:

  • normal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg
  • high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher
  • low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower

If your reading is between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg, you may be at risk of developing high blood pressure. There are things you can do to help prevent high blood pressure.

With Stricter Guidelines Do You Have High Blood Pressure Now

That is topical right now because Whelton is among a group of physicians who have just recommended new standards for blood pressure. Now, if your blood pressure tops 130 over 80, you are in unhealthy territory. Having an accurate measure is important because more people than ever may be keeping a close eye on their blood pressure and trying to keep it in a healthy range through diet, exercise and potentially medications.

The new guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, released Tuesday, which lowered the threshold for diagnosing high blood pressure from 140/90, mean that nearly half of the U.S. population will be considered as having high blood pressure, with the greatest impact on younger people.

So Whelton and his committee members rolled out a checklist for medical professionals to follow when they’re taking your blood pressure. Here are the do’s and don’ts from a patient’s perspective, aimed at making it less likely that you’ll get a reading that is falsely high, or low:

If your blood pressure appears high, your doctor’s office should take a reading in both arms. And next time you come in, the reading should be from the arm that showed the higher blood pressure.

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Where Can I Get My Blood Pressure Checked

You can get your blood pressure measured

  • By a health care team member at a doctors office.
  • At a pharmacy that has a digital blood pressure measurement machine.
  • With a home blood pressure monitor that you can use yourself.

Take this form pdf icon with you on your first blood pressure visit to record important blood pressure-related information.

Small Changes Can Make A Big Difference In Your Blood Pressure Numbers

How Does Blood Pressure Works

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.

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Take Help From Family And Friends

It is advised to seek help from family, friends, and neighbors in case of uneasiness.

Visiting a crowded function increases the risk of hypertension by almost 52%.

Wondering how to quickly lower blood pressure in minutes?

One way is to be careful about your surroundings. If visiting someplace which might trigger anxiety, go with a family member.

That way, even if you feel mild discomfort, youll have someone by your side. It is good to have a known face around the time of crisis.

Remember hypertension is a product of irregular lifestyle and stress. If you have a close friend around, you might feel less anxious already.

Blood Pressure Results And Documentation

BP is recorded as a fraction, with the top number representing the systole and the bottom number representing the diastole. If first and second diastolic are recorded, the first diastolic is written over the second i.e. 120/90/80.

Documentation post the assessment is essential and should include the location the BP was taken and any factors that may have impacted the result. Further, it is important that health professionals note that drastic changes in BP can be a sign of clinical deterioration.

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Heart Attack And Heart Disease

High blood pressure can damage your arteries by making them less elastic, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and leads to heart disease. In addition, decreased blood flow to the heart can cause:

  • Chest pain, also called angina.
  • Heart attack, which happens when the blood supply to your heart is blocked and heart muscle begins to die without enough oxygen. The longer the blood flow is blocked, the greater the damage to the heart.
  • Heart failure, a condition that means your heart cant pump enough blood and oxygen to your other organs.

Taking Your Pulse Versus Checking Your Blood Pressure

How to Take a Blood Pressure Manually

While both are indications of health, blood pressure and heart rate are two separate measurements. Learn more about the difference between blood pressure and heart rate.

Systolic is less than 120 and my diastolic is less than 80

Great job! Your blood pressure is normal. To keep your readings in this range, stick with heart-healthy habits like following a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.

Systolic is 120 129 and my diastolic is less than 80

The good news is that you dont have high blood pressure. However, your numbers fall within the Elevated category, making you more likely to develop high blood pressure unless you take action to control it. Ready to make some small changes that have big impacts? Healthy lifestyle choices are a great place to start.

Systolic is 130 139 or my diastolic is 80 89

You are in the first stage of hypertension, but there are actions you can take to get your blood pressure under control. Your doctor will speak to you about small changes that can make a big difference and other BP Raisers. In addition, monitoring blood pressure outside of the doctors office is important for BP control.

Systolic is 140 or higher or my diastolic is 90 or higher

Systolic is higher than 180 and/or my diastolic is higher than 120

Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.

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Youve Incorrectly Positioned Your Patients Body

The second most common error in BP measurement is incorrect limb position. To accurately assess blood flow in an extremity, influences of gravity must be eliminated.

The standard reference level for measurement of blood pressure by any technique direct or indirect is at the level of the heart. When using a cuff, the arm where the cuff is applied must be at mid-heart level. Measuring BP in an extremity positioned above heart level will provide a falsely low BP whereas falsely high readings will be obtained whenever a limb is positioned below heart level. Errors can be significant typically 2 mmHg for each inch the extremity is above or below heart level.

A seated upright position provides the most accurate blood pressure, as long as the arm in which the pressure is taken remains at the patients side. Patients lying on their side, or in other positions, can pose problems for accurate pressure measurement. To correctly assess BP in a side lying patient, hold the BP cuff extremity at mid heart level while taking the pressure. In seated patients, be certain to leave the arm at the patients side.

Arterial pressure transducers are subject to similar inaccuracies when the transducer is not positioned at mid-heart level. This location, referred to as the phlebostatic axis, is located at the intersection of the fourth intercostal space and mid-chest level (halfway between the anterior and posterior chest surfaces.

Whats Considered Elevated Blood Pressure

Blood pressure numbers that are higher than 120/80 mm Hg are a warning sign. It means you need to pay attention to your blood pressure and focus on heart-healthy habits.

Although these numbers arent technically considered high blood pressure, youve moved out of the normal range. Elevated blood pressure may turn into high blood pressure, which puts you at an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Elevated blood pressure

When your systolic pressure is between 120 and 129mm Hgand your diastolic pressure is less than 80mm Hg, it means you have elevated blood pressure.

No medications are necessary for elevated blood pressure. But your doctor may talk with you about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, such as getting regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and managing your weight.

You may receive a diagnosis of stage 1 hypertension if:

  • your systolic blood pressure is between 130 and 139 mm Hg, or
  • your diastolic blood pressure is between 80 and 89 mm Hg

However, the AHA notes that if you get only one reading this high, you may not truly have stage 1 hypertension. What determines the diagnosis of hypertension at any stage is the average of your blood pressure numbers over a period of time.

Your doctor can help you measure and track your blood pressure to confirm whether its too high.

Stage 1 hypertension

If your systolic blood pressure is 130 to 139 mm Hgor your diastolic blood pressure is 80 to 89 mm Hg, its considered stage 1 hypertension.

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What Do The Numbers Mean

When a healthcare professional takes your blood pressure, its expressed as a measurement with two numbers, one number on top and one on the bottom , like a fraction. For example, 120/80 mm Hg.

Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury. Thats what the mm/Hg stands for. Heres what the numbers mean:

  • Your systolic pressure is the pressure of the blood in your arteries when your heart contracts or beats.
  • Your diastolic pressure is the pressure of the blood in your arteries between beats, when your heart relaxes.

Both numbers are important in determining the state of your heart health.

Numbers greater than the ideal range may be a sign that your heart is working too hard to pump blood to the rest of your body.

For a normal reading, your blood pressure needs to show:

  • a systolic pressure thats above 90 mm Hg and less than 120 mm Hg, and
  • a diastolic pressure thats between 60 mm Hg and less than 80 mm Hg

The American Heart Association considers blood pressure to be within the normal range when both your systolic and diastolic numbers are in these ranges.

If youre in the normal range, no medical intervention is needed. However, its important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and moderate weight to help prevent high blood pressure from developing.

You may need to be even more mindful of your lifestyle if high blood pressure runs in your family.

Drink Milk Coconut Water And Cranberry Juice

What Does High Blood Pressure Feel Like â When Start ...

Milk is a superfood. It consists of potassium, calcium, and Vitamin D. These nutrients are directly proven to lower blood pressure immediately.

Coconut water is highly rich in potassium, electrolytes, and minerals. These nutrients are an immediate solution to hypertension.

Not only that, at times, deficiency of these minerals can cause hypertension.

A study in West Indian Medical Journal proved that coconut water drops the pressure by margins.

Cranberry juice is rich in proanthocyanidins. This helps in reducing high BP by dilating blood vessels and increasing blood flow.

Articles published in Nature, 2016 proves that berry juice lowers systolic blood pressure.

However, milk is not suitable for everyone as people have lactose intolerance.

Thus, consultation with a doctor before the change in diet is advisable.

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