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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Eat More Potassium And Less Sodium
Increasing your potassium intake and cutting back on salt can also lower your blood pressure .
Potassium is a double winner: It lessens the effects of salt in your system, and also eases tension in your blood vessels. However, diets rich in potassium may be harmful to individuals with kidney disease, so talk to your doctor before increasing your potassium intake.
Its easy to eat more potassium so many foods are naturally high in potassium. Here are a few:
Foods labeled low-fat are usually high in salt and sugar to compensate for the loss of fat. Fat is what gives food taste and makes you feel full.
Cutting down on or even better, cutting out processed food will help you eat less salt, less sugar, and fewer refined carbohydrates. All of this can result in lower blood pressure.
Make it a practice to check labels. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration , a sodium listing of 5 percent or less on a food label is considered low, while 20 percent or more is considered high (
Who Can Have High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can affect anyone. These risk factors increase your chance of developing the condition:
- Family history: Your close relatives with high blood pressure increase your risk since it is often a genetic condition.
- Age: The elderly are more at risk for high blood pressure as blood vessels gradually lose some of their elastic quality with time
- Sex: Up to the age of 64, men are more likely to get high blood pressure than women. The opposite is true for ages 65 and above.
- Race: African-Americans have an elevated risk of high blood pressure.
- Kidney disease: This condition is tied to an increase in blood pressure.
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Seeking Medical Treatment Options
How To Bring High Blood Pressure Down Immediately In Case Of Emergency
The first step you should do is to measure the pressure. Remember that, for the person who has the symptoms of high or low blood pressure should be totally still and sitting, without speaking. If the systolic pressure exceeds 180 or the diastolic pressure is less than 120, you should be concerned. In case of not having a blood pressure monitor, you should wait for a specialist. In the meantime, you can help the person or yourself by doing the following.
Relax and breathe deeply: To help anyone with high blood pressure, help them to take a proper posture and maintain a good temperature. Also, make them breathe slowly and deeply. The nitric oxide we breathe in opens up blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. Another positive effect of this oxide is that in this way you reduce the hormones that cause stress.
Transfer to a hospital: Even if you manage to control blood pressure, you must go to a hospital as soon as possible. After an increase in pressure, other problems are likely to occur. In any case, it is always better to prevent them.
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Systolic Down Diastolic Still Up
Q: My BP was in the 170s over 120s and has been reduced with lifestyle changes and lisinopril to low 140s but over 100-110 still for diastolic. What might cause this? Are the dangers specific to a high diastolic or just the ratio being what it is with systolic and diastolic #s being closer to each other? Is there something specific I can do to improve/reduce the diastolic?
A: Your blood pressure is still not in good control. Both your systolic and diastolic pressure is still high. Normal blood pressure is 139/79 or less. Controlling both numbers is important. A high level of either number increases the risk for heart attack and stroke. The exact cause of high blood pressure is still not known. For more information go to this page at the National Heart Blood and Lung Institute site.
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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What Is High Blood Pressure Anyway
Let’s first begin with how the heart functions. With each beat, the heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to the rest of your body in an ongoing, life-sustaining cycle. The forceor pressureof that contraction is what keeps your blood flowing through your arteries and veins.
There are two types of pressure that get generated:
Systolic, which is the pressure when your heart beats
Diastolic, which is your blood pressure between beats
A healthy blood-pressure reading is written out like this: 120/80 mmHg , with the systolic number on top and the diastolic number below. Spoken out loud, youll hear: 120 over 80. Its only when your numbers spike higher than 129 and tick upward of 80 , that youre venturing into hypertensiona.k.a. high blood pressure territory.
Your blood pressure goes up when youre active. It goes down when you chill out. Its highest in the morning when you wake up and lowest when you sleep. These types of fluctuations occur normally. However, when its continually above normal, you have a problem.
Why? Because HBP can do A LOT of damage. It strains and stiffens your blood vessels, which can make your heart work harder than it shouldand that can lead to a range of heart disorders, some of them quite serious.
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.
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How To Get Blood Pressure Down To 120
A new study links reducing blood pressure with lower risk of heart attack and stroke
Exercising and reducing salt can get blood pressure into the normal range
Patients taking several blood pressure medications may be able to add more
Doctors have long known that systolic blood pressure below 120 was considered normal and meant a lower risk of heart disease and kidney problems. But they would often only treat patients if that top number crept above 140, the threshold for officially having high blood pressure.
Recent findings from a large National Institutes of Health study now suggest that its worth treating patients in that prehypertension gray area of 120 to 140, in order to bring them down into the normal range.
The findings, which have not yet been published and are still preliminary, found lower rates of heart attack, stroke and death among people with high blood pressure who brought that top number down to 120. In order to reach that goal, study participants in the 120 group took an average of three blood pressure medications, whereas the 140 group took two medications.
This is notable because there a lot of people out there with blood pressure in the 130s that we might previously have left alone, but if the results of this trial as we think they are, it might be reason to try to get them to 120, said Dr. John D. Bisognano, professor of medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center and president-elect of the American Society of Hypertension.
Limit Saturated And Trans Fats
The AHA also recommend avoiding trans fats, which can increase bad cholesterol levels while decreasing good cholesterol levels. Like high blood pressure, trans fats increase a persons chances of developing heart disease and stroke.
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Get In A Quiet Room And Calm Yourself Down
If you are in a crowded place, shelter yourself in a quiet room immediately.
The undertone is to get away from the crowd. High BP triggers anxiety and breathlessness which needs isolation.
However, its advisable to keep a friend around just in case the situation goes out of hand.
But it is important to get away from the crowd and focus on yourself to get a hold of yourself.
Erratic heartbeat, ragged breathing, and flashes of warmth are signs of hypertension. Therefore, these are the signs you should look out for!
Isolated Systolic Hypertension In Younger Adults
The elderly are not the only ones who can get isolated systolic hypertension. Younger people get it also but many times they slip through the cracks and dont receive the proper diagnosis 6. This can happen for several reasons including:
- High systolic blood pressure in the young is often considered an anomaly that will go away.
- Younger people often have worse diets consisting of fast foods and high sodium.
- Athletes in school often take steroids to increase their athletic performance and build up strength and muscle.
- Some risk factors affect all ages including young adults.
- Younger people often skip regular physicals.
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Isolated Systolic Hypertension In The Elderly
Systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age. This is due to the increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term plaque buildup and an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease.
According to a recent study, persons who reached age 65, if they lived another 20 years, had a 90% lifetime risk of developing isolated systolic hypertension or high blood pressure 5.
How Is It Treated
If your systolic blood pressure is too high, your doctor may prescribe medicine to help bring it down. Drugs used to control blood pressure include:
- Diuretics to help your kidneys flush water and sodium from your body
- Beta-blockers to make your heart beat slower and less forcefully
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers , or calcium channel blockers to relax your blood vessels
- Renin inhibitors to keep your kidneys from making a chemical that can lead to higher blood pressure
Your doctor also may recommend you do a few other things:
- If you smoke, stop. There are lots of good reasons for this, but nicotine in cigarette smoke can raise your blood pressure.
- Lower the amount of salt in your diet.
- Cut back on alcohol if you drink.
- Get to or stay at a healthy weight.
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Normal Systolic Blood Pressure
A normal systolic blood pressure reading is less than 120 mmHg and a diastolic number less than 80 mmHg indicates normal blood pressure 2.
For consistent blood pressure readings in this range, a doctor will typically suggest the following:
- Follow a heart healthy diet.
- Engage in regular physical activity.
- Continue to avoid unhealthy habits like excess alcohol or smoking.
- Monitor blood pressure readings.
- Attend regular physicals.
I explain how and why normal blood pressure is no longer 120/80 in my article, Normal Blood Pressure Surprisingly Its Not 120 Over 80.
How Do I Know If I Have High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure usually doesnt cause symptoms. The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure taken. Know your numbers so you can make the changes that help prevent or limit damage.
Your blood pressure reading has two numbers. The top number is the systolic, which measures the pressure on the blood vessel walls when your heart beats. The bottom number is the diastolic, which measures the pressure on your blood vessels between beats when the heart is at rest.
For example, a reading of 110/70 is within normal range for blood pressure 126/72 is an elevated blood pressure a reading of 135/85 is stage 1 hypertension, and so on .
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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.
When Youve Just Been Diagnosed
|I’m fit and healthy, so why do I have high blood pressure?|
For many people, there is no single specific cause of their high blood pressure. Your genes can play a role: youre more likely to develop high blood pressure if youre from an African-Caribbean or South-Asian background or people in your family have had high blood pressure.
You can lower your risk of high blood pressure by leading a healthy lifestyle. If you have high blood pressure, medicines and a healthy lifteyle will help to lower it.
These tests help your doctor to:
You may need more detailed investigations, your doctor will discuss these with you. Find out more about if you have high blood pressure.
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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 heartâs 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.