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How To Get A Low Blood Pressure Reading

Heart Rate Vs Blood Pressure

Lower Blood Pressure Readings

Blood pressure measures the force that moves blood through your blood vessels while your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. They are both important health indicators, but they are measured independently and dont necessarily increase or decrease synchronously.

A temporary increase in heart rate, such as during exercise, is not considered problematic. In fact, your heart is expected to rise during a bout of activity and return to its resting rate afterward. And the more intense you work, the more you should expect your heart rate to rise during exercise. Your heart rate can safely double during activity so long as it returns to its resting rate relatively soon after you finish your workout.

Significant increases in blood pressure, on the other hand, are not normal and should be monitored and shared with your health care provider.

About Low Blood Pressure

The heart pumps a constant supply of blood around the body. The blood flows through different networks in the body, for example, arteries, veins and capillaries. Blood pressure is a measure of the force of the blood on the walls of the arteries as the blood flows through them.

It’s measured in millimetres of mercury and recorded as two measurements:

  • systolic pressure the pressure when your heart beats and squeezes blood into your arteries
  • diastolic pressure the pressure when your heart rests between beats

For example, if your systolic blood pressure is 120mmHg and your diastolic blood pressure is 80mmHg, your blood pressure is 120 over 80, which is commonly written as 120/80.

Normal blood pressure is between 90/60 and 140/90. If you have a sustained reading of 140/90 or more, you have high blood pressure . This puts you at greater risk of developing serious health conditions, such as heart attack or stroke.

People with a blood pressure reading under 90/60 are usually regarded as having low blood pressure.

Check Your Blood Pressure

The only way of knowing whether you have low blood pressure is to have a blood pressure test.

All adults over 40 are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every five years. Getting this done is easy and could save your life. If you have problems with your blood pressure, it is likely your GP will advise more regular checks.

You can get your blood pressure tested at a number of places, including:

  • at your GP surgery

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Starting The Dash Diet

The DASH diet calls for a certain number of servings daily from various food groups. The number of servings you require may vary, depending on how many calories you need per day.

You can make gradual changes. For instance, start by limiting yourself to 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day . Then, once your body has adjusted to the diet, cut back to 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day . These amounts include all sodium eaten, including sodium in food products as well as in what you cook with or add at the table.

Dash Diet Tips

  • Add a serving of vegetables at lunch and at dinner.
  • Add a serving of fruit to your meals or as a snack. Canned and dried fruits are easy to use, but check that they don’t have added sugar.
  • Use only half your typical serving of butter, margarine, or salad dressing, and use low-fat or fat-free condiments.
  • Drink low-fat or skim dairy products any time you would normally use full-fat or cream.
  • Limit meat to 6 ounces a day. Make some meals vegetarian.
  • Add more vegetables and dry beans to your diet.
  • Instead of snacking on chips or sweets, eat unsalted pretzels or nuts, raisins, low-fat and fat-free yogurt, frozen yogurt, unsalted plain popcorn with no butter, and raw vegetables.
  • Read food labels to choose products that are lower in sodium.

Risk Of Injury From Falls

Learning to Take an Accurate Blood Pressure Reading

If your blood pressure is low enough, the drop can cause symptoms such as fainting or dizziness.This causes a significant risk of falling since youre not conscious to stop the fall. Additionally, youre not aware of how badly youve injured yourself during a fainting spell. This can lead to serious injuries, such as head trauma from hitting your head.

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Low Diastolic Pressure: No Symptoms

“When your systolic blood pressure gets too low, it can manifest as lightheadedness, fainting, and weakness. But low diastolic pressure by itself doesn’t have any symptoms,” says Dr. Paul Conlin, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of medicine at the VA Boston Healthcare System.

One of the new studies, which analyzed the medical records of more than 11,000 adults over a period of three decades, found that people who had low diastolic blood pressure were twice as likely to have subtle evidence of heart damage compared with people whose diastolic blood pressure was 80 to 89 mm Hg. Low diastolic values were also linked to a higher risk of heart disease and death from any cause. The findings appeared in the Aug. 30, 2016, Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Another study, published in The Lancet, involved more than 22,000 people with heart disease, whom researchers grouped according to their blood pressure readings. People with well-controlled blood pressure values were considered the reference group.

Not surprisingly, people with high systolic blood pressure were more likely to experience heart attacks or strokes, be hospitalized with heart failure, or to die compared with people in the reference group. But the same was true for heart attacks, heart failure, and death in people with low blood pressure .

Drink Plenty Of Water

Dehydration can sometimes lead to low blood pressure. Some people may have hypotension even with mild dehydration.

You can also get dehydrated by losing water too quickly. This can happen through vomiting, severe diarrhea, fever, strenuous exercise, and excess sweating.

Medications such as diuretics may also cause dehydration. Drink more water by using a portable water bottle. Use an alarm or timer to remind you to take a sip.

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How Can I Measure My Blood Pressure At Home

Talk with your health care team about regularly measuring your blood pressure at home, also called self-measured blood pressure monitoring.

SMBP means you regularly use a personal blood pressure measurement device away from a doctors office or hospitalusually at home. These blood pressure monitors are easy and safe to use. A health care team member can show you how to use one if you need help.

Evidence shows that people with high blood pressure are more likely to lower their blood pressure if they use SMBP combined with support from their health care team than if they dont use SMBP.3

Use these additional tips for SMBP:4

  • Use a blood pressure log pdf icon to record your blood pressure measurements.
  • Take your blood pressure at the same time every day.
  • Take at least two readings, 1 or 2 minutes apart.

What Is Low Blood Pressure

How to get a more accurate blood pressure reading

Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure .

A blood pressure reading appears as two numbers. The first and higher of the two is a measure of systolic pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills them with blood. The second number measures diastolic pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats.

Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 . In healthy people, low blood pressure without any symptoms is not usually a concern and does not need to be treated. But low blood pressure can be a sign of an underlying problem — especially in the elderly — where it may cause inadequate blood flow to the heart, brain, and other vital organs.

Chronic low blood pressure with no symptoms is almost never serious. But health problems can occur when blood pressure drops suddenly and the brain is deprived of an adequate blood supply. This can lead to dizziness or lightheadedness. Sudden drops in blood pressure most commonly occur in someone who’s rising from a lying down or sitting position to standing. This kind of low blood pressure is known as postural hypotension or orthostatic hypotension. Another type of low blood pressure can occur when someone stands for a long period of time. This is called neurally mediated hypotension.

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How To Use An Automated Blood Pressure Machine

The easiest way to take your own blood pressure is to purchase an automated cuff. Automatic blood pressure machines are the easiest to use, and theyre helpful if you have any hearing impairments.

These types of blood pressure cuffs have a digital monitor that will display your blood pressure reading on a screen. You can purchase these online, at most grocery stores, or at a health food store.

The American Heart Association recommends an automatic, upper arm blood pressure monitor for at-home use. To use your digital blood pressure monitor, follow the instructions that come with it. You can also take the monitor to your doctors office, or even your local pharmacy, for a demonstration.

You should also purchase a small notebook to start a blood pressure log. This can be helpful for your doctor. You can a free blood pressure log from the AHA.

Machines can give you a different reading than a manual blood pressure reading. Bring your cuff to your next doctors appointment so you can compare the reading from your cuff to the reading your doctor takes. This can help you calibrate your machine and identify levels you should look for on your own device.

Its also important to purchase a high-quality machine and monitor for errors. Even if you check your blood pressure at home, your doctor will still want to manually check it during appointments.

How To Raise Low Blood Pressure

If youre dealing with hypotension, the first step is making an appointment with your doctor. After discussing your medical history, lifestyle, and other factors, your doctor may change your medication or suggest certain lifestyle changes to get to the root of the issue.

Its important not to stop taking any medications or change dosages without talking to a healthcare professional first. The same is true of dietary or other changes.

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Q What Should You Eat When Experiencing Low Blood Pressure

  • Along with constantly monitoring your symptoms, and managing your blood pressure, here are some useful diet tips that will help you raise your blood pressure:
    • Drinking plenty of fluids- hydration is key, and dehydration can severely affect blood volume.
    • Drink plenty of water through the day, especially after a workout session.
    • Vitamin B12- lack of vitamin B12 can lead to anemia. So, you have to consume foods like eggs, cereals, and beef to avoid a dip in your blood pressure.
    • Folate- folate helps keep blood pressure levels at a steady level, and foods like asparagus, liver, and garbanzo beans are rich in folate.
    • Salt: Salty foods are known to increase blood pressure, and you can eat food like smoked fish, cottage cheese, canned soup, and olives.
    • Caffeine: Caffeinated tea and coffee can spike your blood pressure by stimulating the cardiovascular system and giving your rate a boost.

    Diagnosing The Cause Of Low Blood Pressure

    Blood Pressure Readings Explained

    The first key to know how to raise low blood pressure is to detect what causes the problem in the first place. This is something which should only be done by a doctor as they will not only be able to determine major illnesses or underlying conditions, but advise on the most effective course of treatment. The best medical professional to see will be an arterial hypotension specialist as they should have the most comprehensive knowledge on the subject.

    However, raising low blood pressure is also about stopping certain actions which might lower blood pressure. This is why we have some general recommendations to help keep a healthy blood pressure level until a specialist can make confirmation of a diagnosis. Until then, keeping an eye on the symptoms and making sure you are not in need of emergency care is important. If you are, then you will need to see a doctor right away.

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    High Blood Pressure And Older Adults

    On this page:

    High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major health problem that is common in older adults. Your bodys network of blood vessels, known as the vascular system, changes with age. Arteries get stiffer, causing blood pressure to go up. This can be true even for people who have heart-healthy habits and feel just fine. High blood pressure, sometimes called “the silent killer,” often does not cause signs of illness that you can see or feel. Though it affects nearly half of all adults, many may not even be aware they have it.

    If high blood pressure isn’t controlled with lifestyle changes and medication, it can lead to serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease such as heart disease and stroke, vascular dementia, eye problems, and kidney disease. The good news is that blood pressure can be controlled in most people.

    What Affects A Blood Pressure Reading

    Many things can affect a blood pressure reading, including:

    • Nervousness about having your blood pressure taken. This is called white coat syndrome. As many as 1 in 3 people who have a high blood pressure reading at the doctors office may have normal blood pressure readings outside of it.1
    • What you ate, drank, or did before your reading. If you smoked, drank alcohol or caffeine, or exercised within 30 minutes of having your blood pressure measured, your reading might be higher.2
    • How you are sitting. Crossing your legs and letting your arm droop at your side rather than rest on a table at chest height can make your blood pressure go up.2

    Its important to get an accurate blood pressure reading so that you have a clearer picture of your risk for heart disease and stroke.

    A reading that says your blood pressure is lower than it actually is may give you a false sense of security about your health. A reading that says your blood pressure is higher than it actually is may lead to treatment you dont need.

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    Serious Injuries And Shock

    Low blood pressure can also be caused by serious injuries or burns, particularly if you have lost a lot of blood. This can mean that there is less blood being pumped around your body. Low blood pressure can also occur if you go into shock after having a serious injury.

    Other kinds of shock are described below.

    Anaphylactic shock

    Anaphylactic shock, or anaphylaxis, is caused by an allergic reaction to something – for example, a wasp sting or a peanut. During an allergic reaction, your body produces a large amount of a chemical called histamine, which causes your blood vessels to widen and leads to a sudden, severe drop in blood pressure.

    Cardiogenic shock

    Cardiogenic shock occurs when your heart cannot supply enough blood to your body, so your blood pressure drops. This can happen during a heart attack.

    Why You Might Have Low Blood Pressure

    Easy Blood Pressure, Understanding your blood pressure reading.

    Low blood pressure has many possible causes, from lifestyle choices, to medication or an underlying health condition.

    In some cases, it may just be the result of being healthy and active or a tendency you’ve inherited from your parents.

    Throughout the day, it’s normal for your blood pressure to vary depending on what you’re doing. Stress at work, the temperature outside and your diet could all affect your blood pressure reading.

    This is why it’s important your blood pressure is checked under similar conditions each time to make sure results are consistent.

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    How To Check Your Blood Pressure Manually

    To manually take your blood pressure, youll need a blood pressure cuff with a squeezable balloon and an aneroid monitor, also known as a sphygmomanometer, and a stethoscope. An aneroid monitor is a number dial. If possible, enlist the help of a friend or family member, because it can be difficult to use this method on your own.

    Here are the steps to taking your blood pressure at home:

  • Before taking your blood pressure, make sure youre relaxed. Position your arm straight, palm facing up on a level surface, such as a table. Youll place the cuff on your bicep and squeeze the balloon to inflate the cuff. Using the numbers on the aneroid monitor, inflate the cuff about 20-30 mm Hg over your normal blood pressure. If you dont know your normal blood pressure, ask your doctor how much you should inflate the cuff.
  • Once the cuff is inflated, place the stethoscope with the flat side down on the inside of your elbow crease, toward the inner part of your arm where the major artery of your arm is located. Be sure to test the stethoscope before using it to make sure you can hear properly. You can do that by tapping on the stethoscope. Its also helpful to have a high-quality stethoscope and to ensure that the ears of the stethoscope are pointed in toward your eardrums.
  • 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.

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