Lowering Systolic Blood Pressure More May Cut Health Risks
One major study found that lowering systolic blood pressure to well below the commonly recommended level also greatly lowered the number of cardiovascular events and deaths among people at least 50 years old with high blood pressure.
When study participants achieved a systolic blood pressure target of 120 mmHg compared to the higher target of 140 mmHg recommended for most people, and 150 for people over 60 issues such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure were reduced by almost one-third, and the risk of death by almost one-fourth.
“That’s important information, because more lives may be saved and more deaths may be prevented if we maintain lower blood pressure in certain patients,” says Lynne Braun, NP, PhD, a nurse practitioner at the Rush Heart Center for Women.
Braun cautions, however, that your personal blood pressure target depends on a variety of things, including your current blood pressure, lifestyle, risk factors, other medications you are taking and your age. “Every person has to be evaluated as an individual,” she says. “Realistically, we can’t get everybody down to 120, and trying to do so may create unintended problems.”
It can be dangerous, for instance, to keep an older person on medications that have unsafe side effects, such as diuretics , which can cause dehydration and dizziness in older adults.
And there can be other issues involved with taking multiple medications, such as cost and compliance.
Causes And Risk Factors
You may be at an increased risk for high blood pressure if you smoke, areoverweight, eat a diet thats low on produce and fiber and/or high in fatand salt, drink alcohol to excess, live with chronic stress or dont getmuch physical activity. Some causes of hypertension cannot becontrolledincluding your genes and your race . Aging also plays a role. Even if you do not have hypertensionby age 55 to 65, your lifetime risk for developing it is a whopping 90percent.
In one Johns Hopkins study of 975 older women and men with hypertension,healthy lifestyle steps helped 40 percent stop taking blood pressuremedications. Other research has shown that lifestyle changes can lower therisk for hypertension in African-Americans and others at an increasedgenetic risk.
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Try These Medicinal Herbs
Herbal medicines have long been used in many cultures to treat a variety of ailments.
Some herbs have even been shown to possibly lower blood pressure. However, more research is needed to identify the doses and components in the herbs that are most useful.
Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking herbal supplements. They may interfere with your prescription medications.
Heres a partial list of plants and herbs that are used by cultures throughout the world to lower blood pressure:
- black bean
- river lily
- Avoid daytime naps.
- Make your bedroom comfortable.
The 2010 national Sleep Heart Health Study found that regularly sleeping fewer than 7 hours a night and more than 9 hours a night was associated with an increased rate of high blood pressure.
Regularly sleeping fewer than 5 hours a night was linked to a significant risk of high blood pressure long term .
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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:
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Causes Of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure
There are three known causes of isolated diastolic hypotension:
- Alpha-blocker medications. These blood pressure medications work by causing your blood vessels to open up . Because they lower diastolic pressure more than systolic pressure, they may cause isolated diastolic hypotension. Common brand names include Minipress and Cardura.
- The aging process. As we age, we lose the elasticity of our arteries. For some older adults, arteries may become too stiff to spring back between heartbeats, causing diastolic blood pressure to be low.
- Too much salt in your diet. Dietary salt can decrease elasticity of your blood vessels. If you take in too much salt, you may increase your risk for low diastolic blood pressure.
There are several common causes of overall hypotension, which would include a low diastolic number.
- Overtreatment of high blood pressure. For some people, especially people over age 60, lowering systolic blood pressure below 120 may cause diastolic pressure to fall below 60.
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How To Increase Blood Volume
can cause hypotension by literally shrinking the volume of blood circulating throughout your body. Even losing a small percentage of your blood volume to dehydration can cause blood pressure to dip temporarily. due to physical activity, excessive sun exposure, , and all can cause dehydration that provokes a hypotensive episode.
You can address this type of low blood pressure by:
Drinking extra water. Make a conscious effort to consume more water until your hypotensive symptoms subside. Be careful not to drink large quantities of water within a short period of time, as this can induce a life-threatening medical condition called water intoxication. The recommended amount of water for an average person aged 8 years and older is 64 ounces a day, but you should drink water as necessary, preferably before you are thirsty.
Drinking an electrolyte replacement beverage . These beverages contain vital minerals that enable your cells to better take in and retain the water you need to rehydrate.
Eating a few salty meals or snacks. Salt helps your body retain fluid, so consuming some salty snacks or adding a little salt to a few meals in succession should correct any blood volume deficiency causing you to experience hypotensive symptoms. Eat a small handful of chips after exercising or a long hike to replenish your sodium.
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.
You may need to be even more mindful of your lifestyle if high blood pressure runs in your family.
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Its Not Only Your Diet That Affects Your Blood Pressure Its Your Lifestyle Overall
How active you are, whether you smoke and how much alcohol you drink, for example, all make a big difference. In this section, we look at what affects your blood pressure and the best things you can do to lower your blood pressure naturally.
The best part is, all these changes will work together to keep your heart and your body healthy.
See if what you drink is within the recommended guidelines and find out how many units your favourite drinks contain its often more than you think.
Being overweight can raise your blood pressure and put extra strain on your heart. By keeping to a healthy weight, you can look after your blood pressure and your heart.
Exercise can keep you healthy, but it doesnt have to mean running marathons. See how you can be more active and keep it going in the long term.
Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for your blood pressure and your overall health. Find out about the benefits and who can help.
Think your high blood pressure is all down to stress? See what the science shows.
Did you know that the amount of sleep you have can affect your blood pressure?
There are lots of simple changes you can make to what you eat to lower your blood pressure, such as eating more fruit and veg and choosing foods low in salt.
Complications Of High Blood Pressure
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:
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A Fast & Easy Solution For Healthy Blood Pressure
There are a few important ways for having healthier blood pressure. – diet and exercise being the two important factors.
Unfortunately, they take time and most people are either NOT patient or need faster results, with less effort…This is the exact problem I ran into with my own parents.
Because of this, I needed to find a simple, easy and fast solution for naturally supporting healthier blood pressure levels in only 30 days, without the use of harmful prescription drugs or following a restrictive diet.
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/7firstly You Need To Understand What Actually Happens During High Blood Pressure
Hypertension, often known as high blood pressure, is a disorder characterised by a persistently high pressure of blood against the walls of arteries. Itâs also known as systolic pressure thatâs always more than 139 mmHg or diastolic pressure which is more than 89 mmHg.
When the bodyâs tiny blood capillaries narrow, the heart has to work harder to push blood through them, resulting in high blood pressure. It usually takes several years to develop and is often asymptomatic. The higher a personâs blood pressure is, the more likely they are to develop additional health concerns such as heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.
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Reducing Your Salt Intake
The American Heart Association recommends no more than a teaspoon of salt a day for adults. That may sound alarmingly small, but there are many painless ways to reduce your sodium intake.
Reduce canned and processed foods. Much of the salt you eat comes from canned or processed foods like soups, convenience meals, and fast food.
Cook more meals at home. Preparing your own meals gives you more control over your sodium intake. Use fresh ingredients whenever possible and cook without salt.
Use spices as alternatives to salt. Try fresh herbs like basil, thyme, or chives, or dried spices such as allspice, bay leaves, or cumin to flavor your meal without sodium.
Substitute reduced sodium versions. Choose your condiments and packaged foods carefully, looking for foods labeled sodium free, low sodium, or unsalted.
See Heart-Healthy Diet Tips to learn more.
The effects on your blood pressure
- Adopting the DASH diet, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, and reducing your consumption of unhealthy fats can lower your blood pressure by about 11 mm Hg.
- Cutting back on sodium by about 1,000 mg per day can reduce your blood pressure by 5 to 6 mm Hg.
- Increasing your potassium intake from food to 3,500-5,000 mg can knock 4 to 5 mm Hg off your reading.
- Limiting your alcohol intake to two drinks per day if youre male, or one drink per day if youre female can lower your reading by about 4 mm Hg.
What Should We Do When Blood Pressure Is Low
Treatment is usually not needed in cases where low blood pressure does not cause signs and symptoms or only mild symptoms. The question of how to treat low blood pressure and how to raise low blood pressure naturally depends on the cause of the low blood pressure. For example, in treating a patient with low blood pressure due to a drug used, reducing the dose of the drug or discontinuing the drug completely comes to the fore.Medications can be used to treat orthostatic hypotension, in which a decrease in blood pressure occurs when standing up from a sitting or lying position. With the steps below, you can maintain healthy levels of blood pressure.
How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. So the only way to find out if you have it is to get regular blood pressure checks from your health care provider. Your provider will use a gauge, a stethoscope or electronic sensor, and a blood pressure cuff. He or she will take two or more readings at separate appointments before making a diagnosis.
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For children and teens, the health care provider compares the blood pressure reading to what is normal for other kids who are the same age, height, and gender.
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