Signs Your Blood Pressure Is Too High
Unfortunately, high blood pressure is a silent killer with very few warning signs. Many people dont even know they have it as it develops slowly over time. The only way to truly know whether you have high blood pressure is to measure it regularly.
Among the symptoms that may be related to elevated blood pressure levels include:
- Blood spots in the eyes
- Facial flushing
- Pounding in your chest, neck, or ear
- Blood in your urine
Worth repeating: Many of these signs are related to but not created by high blood pressure, which often presents few if any overt signs.
If you suspect that you have high blood pressure, please dont diagnose yourself. A healthcare professional can diagnose your condition and then discuss treatment options, including dietary and lifestyle modifications for high blood pressure.
Can You Help Control Your Blood Pressure
Yes, you can help. There are three things you can do: have a more active lifestyle, make healthy food choices, and, if needed, take your medicine every day as it is prescribed. With prehypertension, some people can bring blood pressure down to normal through weight loss, exercise and other changes for a healthy lifestyle. Medications are used to control high blood pressure. Medicines may be recommended for some people with prehypertension who also have other diseases, such as diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease and coronary artery disease.
If you have slightly high blood pressure, your doctor may suggest these steps:
- lose weight if you are overweight,
- get regular physical activity,
- cut down on alcohol, and
- change your food choices to those with less salt and fat
A special eating plan called DASH can help you lower your blood pressure. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fatfree or lowfat milk and milk products, wholegrain products, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. The DASH eating plan also contains less salt/sodium, sweets, added sugars, sugar containing beverages, fats, and red meats than the typical American diet.
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Cut Back On Sugar And Refined Carbohydrates
A 2010 study compared a low-carb diet to a low-fat diet. The low-fat diet included a diet drug. Both diets produced weight loss, but the low-carb diet was much more effective in lowering blood pressure.
The low-carb diet lowered blood pressure by 4.5 mm Hg diastolic and 5.9 mm Hg systolic. The diet of low-fat plus the diet drug lowered blood pressure by only 0.4 mm Hg diastolic and 1.5 mm Hg systolic .
A 2012 analysis of low-carb diets and heart disease risk found that these diets lowered blood pressure by an average of 3.10 mm Hg diastolic and 4.81 mm Hg systolic .
Another side effect of a low-carb, low-sugar diet is that you feel fuller longer, because youre consuming more protein and fat.
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Prevention And Management Of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure
There are some things you can do to help prevent and manage low diastolic pressure.
- Try to keep your salt intake to between 1.5 and 4 grams per day. An ideal number is probably about 3.5 grams. You can do this by reading food labels and avoiding added salt in your diet.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and include whole grains. For protein, stick to lean meats and fish. Avoid fatty foods.
- Drink enough fluids and avoid alcohol, which can increase your risk for dehydration.
- Stay physically active and start an exercise program. Ask your doctor what type and amount of exercise is safe for you.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If youre overweight, ask your doctor to help you with a safe weight loss plan.
- Dont smoke.
Your Blood Pressure Numbers And What They Mean
Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.
- Diastolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
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How Long Does It Take For High Blood Pressure To Go Down
Medication helps lower blood pressure quickly, typically within a few days. However, it may not be the best long-term treatment due to side effects. Medication can help manage high blood pressure while a person changes their underlying lifestyle that may be causing high blood pressure. Diet changes can quickly lower blood pressure in many cases.
What Treatments Are Available For Patients With High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Without treatment, you can have a transient ischemic attack or stroke, heart attack, enlarged heart, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease , aneurysms, kidney disease, and broken blood vessels in your eyes. Treatment includes making changes recommended by your healthcare provider.
Diet and lifestyle changes:
- Reach and stay at your ideal body weight
- Get regular exercise
- Eat a well-balanced, heart healthy diet that is low in salt, fat and cholesterol, and contains lots of fresh fruits and vegetables*
- *Your diet is an important part of blood pressure control. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension eating plan and limiting sodium help control blood pressure. Ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian for a more personalized eating plan. More information is available from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at www.nhlbi.nih.gov or the American Heart Association at www.americanheart.org*
Medications and follow-up care:
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How Long Does It Take To Lower Blood Pressure
It was just a routine doctors visit, at least thats what you thought.
But you heard news that surprised you. You have high blood pressure, your doctor announced, and you need to lower it to avoid some very serious things that high blood pressure can lead to, like strokes and heart attacks.
Many people can reduce their high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, in as little as 3 days to 3 weeks.
Its a lot to take in, and you have questions, including:
How long does it take to lower blood pressure? and
Whats the best way to do it?
Here are answers from the physicians, registered dietitians, and other faculty at the famed Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, which has helped thousands over the past four decades lower their blood pressure and live well.
Get Enough Sleep Each Night
Although sleep may not directly lower a persons blood pressure, it is vital for physical health and mental wellbeing. A lack of good quality sleep can increase the risk of chronic health conditions, some of which may increase a persons blood pressure.
The exact amount of sleep a person needs will vary from person to person. However, adults should be aiming to get between 79 hours of good quality sleep each night.
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High Blood Pressure Facts
High blood pressure is serious because it can lead to major health problems. Make a point of learning what blood pressure should be. And, remember:
If your doctor asks you to take your blood pressure at home, keep in mind:
- There are many home blood pressure monitors for sale. Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist which monitor you need and how to use it. Have your monitor checked at the doctor’s office to make sure it works correctly.
- Avoid smoking, exercise, and caffeine 30 minutes before checking your blood pressure.
- Make sure you are sitting with your feet uncrossed and on the floor, and that your back is resting against something.
- Relax quietly for five minutes before checking your blood pressure.
- Keep a list of your blood pressure numbers, what time you measured your blood pressure, and when you took your blood pressure medication . Share this information with your doctor, physician’s assistant, or nurse.
What Do The Blood Pressure Numbers Mean
When blood pressure is measured, the result is given as two numbers, such as 120/80. The first number is the amount of force used when the heart beats . The second number is the pressure in the arteries between heart beats . Pressures are measured in millimeters of mercury . High blood pressure is defined as pressures above 140/90 for a period of time. Prehypertension is defined as a systolic pressure from 120139 millimeters of mercury or a diastolic pressure from 8089 mm Hg. Because blood pressure changes often, your health care provider will check it on several different days before deciding whether your blood pressure is too high. Blood pressure is considered high when it is elevated above 140/90 for a period of time. For people with chronic kidney disease, the recommended level is below 130/80.
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Monitor Your Blood Pressure Regularly
If you are curious about your blood pressure and want to check it yourself, or your doctor instructed you to monitor it routinely, there are ways to do so outside the doctors office.
Blood pressure machines or cuffs are available at many pharmacies, and are recommended for any patient who has high blood pressure, Dr. Evanchan explains.
Record the numbers daily over a period of a few weeks and give them to your doctor.
How Can I Control My Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is very common in older people. As we age, our vascular system changes. Arteries get stiffer, so blood pressure goes up. This is true even for people who have heart-healthy habits. The good news is that blood pressure can be controlled in most people.
There are many lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of high blood pressure:
If these lifestyle changes don’t lower your blood pressure to a safe level, your doctor will also prescribe medicine. You may try several kinds or combinations of medicines before finding a plan that works best for you. Medicine can control your blood pressure, but it can’t cure it. You will likely need to take medicine for the rest of your life. Plan with your doctor how to manage your blood pressure.
What Is Normal And High Blood Pressure
The first step to controlling high blood pressure is understanding the numbers. Blood pressure is measured in two numbers and in millimeters of mercury. The top number, or the first one, is systolic blood pressure, or the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The bottom number, or the second one, is diastolic blood pressure, which measures the pressure in your blood vessels between heart beats.
Normal blood pressure is a systolic reading of less than 120 mm Hg and diastolic reading of less than 80 mm Hg.
High blood pressure is a systolic reading of higher than or equal to 130 mm Hg and / or diastolic reading greater than or equal to 80 mm Hg.When systolic blood pressure is between 120 to 129 mm Hg it is considered elevated blood pressure or prehypertension, Dr. Evanchan adds. The more blood your heart is pumping, and the higher the resistance in your arteries, the higher your blood pressure will be. High blood pressure can damage or weaken your blood vessels, increasing the risk of blood clots that can cause heart attacks and strokes.
In general, for every 20 mm Hg higher systolic and 10 mm Hg higher diastolic than 115/75 mm Hg, the risk of death from heart disease and stroke doubles, Dr. Evanchan says.
Who Gets Isolated Systolic Hypertension
Older people are more likely to have it, because systolic blood pressure usually goes up as you age.
- More than 30% of women over 65 and more than 20% of men have this condition.
- If your parents had high blood pressure, you may be more likely to have it.
- African-Americans are more likely than other groups to have high blood pressure.
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Diastolic Blood Pressure: How Low Is Too Low
- May 17, 2015
Blood pressure consists of two numbers. Systolic pressure, the force exerted on blood vessels when the heart beats, is the upper number. Diastolic pressure, the force exerted when the heart is at rest, is on the bottom in more ways than one. Systolic pressure attracts the lions share of attention from physicians and patients, says UAB cardiologist Jason Guichard, M.D., Ph.D.
Physicians are busy people, and like it or not they often focus on a single number, Guichard said. Systolic blood pressure is the focus, and diastolic pressure is almost completely ignored. That is a mistake, he argues. The majority of your arteries feed your organs during systole. But your coronary arteries are different they are surrounding the aortic valve, so they get blood only when the aortic valve closes and that happens in diastole.
Diastolic pressure has been getting more attention lately, however, thanks in part to an influential paper in Hypertension, written in 2011 by Guichard and Ali Ahmed, M.D., then a professor of medicine in UABs Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care and now the associate chief of staff for Health and Aging at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Most people are trying to lower their blood pressure. What would you define as too low, and why is that a problem?
Eat Less Sodium And More Potassium
A high-sodium diet makes it harder for your kidneys to remove water from your bloodstream, raising your blood pressure and strain on your blood vessels due to the excess liquid.
This is why it is good to avoid salty foods, such as deli meats, canned soups, condiments, frozen and boxed foods and snack foods like chips and salted pretzels, Dr. Evanchan explains.
A high-potassium diet is great for those with high blood pressure because it lessens the effects of sodium on the body.
The DASH diet Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension for example, is a good diet option, because it is high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, low-fat dairy products and nuts, Dr. Evanchan says.
A healthier diet can also help you to lose weight, Dr. Evanchan adds, which, can in turn help to reduce blood pressure. Losing as little as five to 10 pounds can ease high blood pressure.
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When To Seek Emergency Care
High blood pressure causes damage to your organs over time. However, its possible for BP to rise suddenly and cause what is called a hypertensive crisis. Hypertensive crises can manifest as either hypertensive urgency or hypertensive emergency.
When checking your blood pressure, measurements over 180 for systolic and 120 for diastolic are warning flags. Wait a few minutes before you check again. If readings still exceed 180/120, then this is indicative of a hypertensive emergency.
If left unchecked, a hypertensive emergency may have severe consequences. Possible outcomes of uncontrollable high blood pressure include:
Take Control Of Your Weight
If you are suffering from obesity, try to achieve a healthy weight. Increased body weight increases your risk of developing high blood pressure.
How to maintain a healthy weight?
Check with your healthcare practitioner to determine what your ideal body weight should be. If your body weight is higher than normal, try to follow a healthy eating plan and engage in more physical activity.
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Ways Of Lowering Diastolic Pressure
Your blood pressure reading has an upper and a lower number, called systolic and diastolic pressures, respectively. The diastolic pressure indicates the heart’s pressure when it is relaxing between beats. A diastolic pressure above 90 is considered high because it can lead to a heart attack or a stroke. If your blood pressure is constantly high you must learn how to lower diastolic pressure not only by taking medications but also by making some lifestyle changes.
Low Diastolic Blood Pressure Symptoms
“Low blood pressure by itself is not a cause for concern,” says Erika Schwartz, MD, a New York-based physician who specializes in combining conventional and integrative medicine_._ “But when symptoms start occurring, then that’s when you should look at ways to counteract it.”
Several common symptoms may indicate that you need a blood-pressure check, the AHA notes.
- The first is dizziness or feeling lightheaded, especiallywhen you change position. For example, if you’re reaching down to a bottomshelf for a grocery item and pop up to put it in your cart, you may get a”head rush” feeling.
- The second major symptom is brain fog, which can make youfeel disconnected or spacey, or even mess with your short-term memory, Dr. Schwartzsays.
- There’s also fatigue, especially the kind that makes you feellike you’re dragging through your day. Since you’re not getting enoughoxygenated blood into your system, your muscles may feel weakened.
Less-common symptoms include blurred vision and nausea, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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