So What Exactly Is A Blood Pressure Measurement
Blood pressure, or arterial tension, is the pressure at which the blood flows through the arteries, or the pressure your blood exerts on the walls of your arteries, according to Lauren Munsch Dal Farra, MD, an internal medicine physician, cardiologist and CEO of PALM Health in St. Louis. When your blood pressure is measured, there are two values, maximum and minimum, expressed by two numbers separated by a slash, she explains. For example, 135/85 millimeters of mercury means a maximum pressure of 135 and a minimum pressure of 85.
The first number in the measurement is also know as systolic blood pressure, which is the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. The second number is diastolic blood pressure, which is the arterial pressure between beats, says Sameer K. Mehta, MD, a board-certified cardiologist and president of Denver Heart. The difference between the two pressures is known as pulse pressure.
The exact importance of pulse pressure is still being investigated, though some studies suggest that patients with a wide pulse pressure are at higher risk for heart disease, stroke, or death, says Dr. Mehta.
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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.
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When someone has high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, it means their blood is pumping with too much force against the artery walls. The condition can eventually lead to heart disease, stroke, or other cardiac conditions. High blood pressure is extremely common in the United States. More than 103 million people in the country have itand many dont even know theirs is too high, because it can be asymptomatic, says John Osborne, MD, director of cardiology at LowT Center/HerKare and a volunteer for the American Heart Association .
The reason many people dont know? There are often few or no symptoms associated with high blood pressure, says Sondra DePalma, a cardiac physician assistant at PinnacleHealth CardioVascular Institute with UPMC Pinnacle in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which is why it is called the silent killer.
If youre wondering how to lower blood pressure, luckily, there are natural ways to do so with the proper diet and healthy lifestyle changes.
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For most people, the first-choice medication for high blood pressure is a thiazide diuretic. For other people, a diuretic alone is not enough to control blood pressure. In these cases, a diuretic may be combined with a beta-blocker, ACE inhibitor, angiotensin II receptor blocker, or calcium channel blocker. Adding a second medication may lower your blood pressure more quickly than using a diuretic alone. Also, it allows you to take less of each medication, which may reduce side effects.
Home Remedies For Managing High Blood Pressure
What is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force at which blood pumps from the heart into the arteries. A normal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 mm Hg.
When blood pressure is high, the blood moves through the arteries more forcefully. This puts increased pressure on the delicate tissues in the arteries and damages the blood vessels.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects about half of American adults, estimates the American College of Cardiology.
Known as a silent killer, it usually doesnt cause symptoms until theres significant damage done to the heart. Without visible symptoms, most people are unaware that they have high blood pressure.
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Limit Saturated And Trans Fats
The AHA recommend that people limit their daily intake of saturated fats. According to the AHA, saturated fats should make up no more than of a 2000 calorie-per-day diet.
The 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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Regular Exercise To Reduce High Blood Pressure
The Journal of the American Heart Association reports on a review of trials involving the effects of exercise training on blood pressure. The results of 95 trials found that regular exercise and resistance training lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Even less vigorous exercising such as walking can also help to remedy hypertension. One study found that moderate walking can help to lower blood pressure naturally and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Use Supplements Under Doctor Supervision
I do want to touch on supplements as another way to lower blood pressure naturally. Remember, every supplement is not for everyone. So if you’re using supplements, you must, again, do it under the supervision of your physician. One supplement is fish oil. Now there have been trials to show that fish oil can help to lower blood pressure. In fact, there was one meta-analysis of 70 randomized trials, and it demonstrated that fish oil actually can reduce the blood pressure, both the systolic and the diastolic in people who have normal blood pressure and in people who do have a diagnosis of hypertension. They actually got the best results in people who were untreated. So fish oil is a supplement that can reduce blood pressure naturally.
Another supplement that may help to lower blood pressure naturally is CoQ10 or coenzyme Q10. There have been some studies to support this, but there also have been some mixed results. So let me just touch on it. CoQ10 is like a vitamin. It’s found in the mitochondria of cells in the heart, liver, and kidney, and it’s believed to be anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. So it helps to fight free radicals and it potentially can help to relax the walls of blood vessels which would lower blood pressure.
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Exercise To Reduce High Blood Pressure
Having at least 30 minutes of exercise, cardiovascular, resistance training, and do at least 30 minutes most days of the week. In fact, it can help to decrease that blood pressure by as much as 5 to 15 millimeters of mercury. Yoga and meditation can also decrease blood pressure.
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Understanding Your Blood Pressure Numbers
Hypertension often has no symptoms, so its important to check your blood pressure regularly. Understanding your results is the first step to managing high blood pressure.
Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressurethe first numbermeasures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats.
- Diastolic blood pressurethe second numbermeasures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart rests between beats.
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First Why Is Your Blood Pressure High
Its natural to experience short-term spikes in blood pressure, like during exercise or after a cup of coffee. But over time, if your heart consistently pumps out more blood than usual or your blood vessels become stiffer, your blood pressure can stay high, which may lead to hypertension. Many things can cause this to happen, including eating too much salt, being overweight, or even taking certain medications that can cause high blood pressure as a side effect.
You might know that a blood pressure reading has two numbers . The American Heart Association describes normal blood pressure as a first number of 120 or less and a second number of 80 or less.
What Is Good Blood Pressure
A good, normal blood pressure readingtaken while seated, with a blood pressure cuffshould be 120/80. The first number is the systolic blood pressure , and the second is the diastolic blood pressure . Anything over that is either considered elevated or high.
Those numbers apply across the board for adults over the age of 18, Dr. Osborne says. He notes that decades ago, good blood pressure numbers varied based on age, limits some people still cling to today. But in actuality, its all standardized to 120/80.
The vast majority of hypertension out there is in adults, he says. Its independent of age. It doesnt matter whether youre 21 or 81. The numbers are the same.
For adults, that is. For kids, its a little different. Blood pressure numbers are based on population and age, and are generally lower than with adults. Theres not a standardized set of guidelines for children, but certainly if you come across a kid that repeatedly has blood pressures that would be high according to the adult category, its high, Dr. Osborne explains.
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