Blood Pressure And Salt
Eat Less Salt
You can lower your blood pressure by losing weight or eating less salt, also called sodium. As part of a healthy eating pattern, the goal is less than 2,300 mg of sodium per dayabout 1 teaspoon of salt. Ideal amount is less than 1,500 mg per day, especially if you have high blood pressure, are age 50 or older, or African American.
As you eat less salt, your taste will adjust to the lower levels. It may take time to reach your goal but cutting your daily salt intake by 1/2 teaspoon can improve your blood pressure and your heart health.
Most people get most of their sodium from packaged and restaurant foods.
Taking Your Own Blood Pressure
To get more accurate readings of your blood pressure, your doctor may ask you to record your blood pressure at home and at work with your own automated blood pressure monitor.
Doing so can help determine if treatment is working, or if your condition is getting worse.
The American Heart Association recommends an automatic, cuff-style upper arm monitor for at-home use.
Before measuring your blood pressure, do not smoke, drink caffeinated beverages, or exercise for at least 30 minutes before the test. Rest for at least five minutes before the measurements and sit still with your back straight and supported. Feet should be flat on the floor and not crossed. Your arm should also be supported on a flat surface like a table with the upper arm at heart level.
Follow the instructions that came with your monitor or are provided by your healthcare provider.
Take readings at the same time every day and take two to three each time about a minute apart and record your results.
Finally, make sure not to take measurements over clothing.
Additional reporting by Ashley Welch
How Do I Know If I Have High Blood Pressure
Theres only one way to know if you have high blood pressure: Have a doctor or other health professional measure it. Measuring your blood pressure is quick and painless.
Talk with your health care team about regularly measuring your blood pressure at home, also called self-measured blood pressure monitoring.
High blood pressure is called the silent killer because it usually has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it.
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What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is a measurement of the force of your blood as it pushes against artery walls. This force moves blood throughout your body. Every time you visit a doctor, you get a blood pressure reading to make sure your blood pressure numbers arent too high or too low. If they get above a certain level, heart and blood problems can arise.
A typical blood pressure reading involves a top number and a bottom number. The top number refers to systolic blood pressure, or the measure of blood pressure when your heart contracts. The bottom number refers to diastolic blood pressure, or the measure of blood pressure when your heart expands.
But how do you know if your blood pressure is too high? Learn about the signs and symptoms and ways to treat high blood pressure if you have it.
How Can You Tell If You Have High Blood Pressure
People are often shocked to find out they have high blood pressure. Perhaps thinking it only happens to older people or people who are very overweight or unhealthy. Others think there will be signs and symptoms, like headaches or feeling dizzy. In reality, it can happen at any age, and most people dont feel any different.
The only way to know if your blood pressure is healthy is to have a check, and to keep having them regularly.
If you do notice anything unusual, for example blood shot eyes, headaches or generally feeling unwell, its always safest to make an appointment with your GP to see whats going on.
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Causes Of Low Blood Pressure
Its important to know what causes your blood pressure to drop. Hypotension occurs when your body cant bring your blood pressure back to normal fast enough after an event causes it to drop.
Factors that lower blood pressure can vary from person to person. In some cases, being dehydrated is enough to cause a dip. For others, certain medicines can lower pressure. Other things that can affect blood pressure include:
- Over-the-counter cold medicines
Quitting Smoking And Limiting Alcohol
If youre a smoker and have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor will most likely advise you to quit. The chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage the bodys tissues and harden blood vessel walls.
If you regularly consume too much alcohol or have an alcohol dependency, seek help to reduce the amount you drink or stop altogether. Drinking alcohol in excess can raise blood pressure.
If you have risk factors for hypertension, you can take steps now to lower your risk for the condition and its complications.
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Pounding In Your Ears
If you have a sensation of pulsing or pounding in your ears when you havent been exercising vigorously, this could indicate an elevated blood pressure. It could also be related to drinking too much caffeine, so try cutting back on the coffee and soda. Anxiety can have the same effect, so try meditation or a relaxing activity to see if the pounding sensation resolves.
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Who Should Have A Blood Pressure Check
High blood pressure can develop at any age. Over 2.1million adults under 45 had high blood pressure in England in 2015.
If you are under 40 and you dont know your numbers, its a good idea to have a check, especially if youre carrying extra weight, you smoke, or you have any of the s that mean youre more likely to have high blood pressure.
High blood pressure becomes more common with age, so if you are over 40, you should at least every five years.
Heart Attack And Heart Disease
High blood pressure can damage your arteries by making them less elastic, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and leads to heart disease. In addition, decreased blood flow to the heart can cause:
- Chest pain, also called angina.
- Heart attack, which happens when the blood supply to your heart is blocked and heart muscle begins to die without enough oxygen. The longer the blood flow is blocked, the greater the damage to the heart.
- Heart failure, a condition that means your heart cant pump enough blood and oxygen to your other organs.
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Can High Blood Pressure Be Prevented Or Avoided
If your high blood pressure is caused by lifestyle factors, you can take steps to reduce your risk:
- Lose weight.
- Reduce your alcohol consumption.
- Learn relaxation methods.
If your high blood pressure is caused by disease or the medicine you take, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to prescribe a different medicine. Additionally, treating any underlying disease can help reduce your high blood pressure.
How Blood Pressure Is Tested
Blood pressure machines vary, but they’re all a type of measuring device, which often have an arm cuff attached to it.
The cuff is usually wrapped around your upper arm and filled with air until it feels tight. This can feel uncomfortable but it only lasts a few seconds.
It’s important to relax and not talk during this time, because this is when your blood pressure is measured.
If a healthcare professional is doing this for you, they may also use a stethoscope to record your blood pressure.
An automatic device usually picks up the measurements from sensors in the arm cuff, which are sent to a digital display.
You should get the results straight away.
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How To Check Blood Pressure With No Cuff
This article was co-authored by Erik Kramer, DO, MPH. Dr. Erik Kramer is a Primary Care Physician at the University of Colorado, specializing in internal medicine, diabetes, and weight management. He received his Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from the Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012. Dr. Kramer is a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine and is board certified.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 95,961 times.
Your blood pressure measure the force your blood exerts on the sides of the blood vessels as it moves around your body and is an important indicator of your health. Blood pressure monitoring should be done with a cuff and a stethoscope instruments that most people do not have at home, but are necessary for an accurate reading. If you want to check if your systolic blood pressure is normal, you can use your pulse for a rough estimate. Diastolic blood pressure must always be done with an arm cuff or stethoscope.XResearch source
Adopting A Cleaner Lifestyle
If youre a smoker, try to quit. The chemicals in tobacco smoke damage the bodys tissues and harden blood vessel walls.
If you regularly consume too much alcohol or have an alcohol dependency, seek help to reduce the amount you drink or stop altogether. Alcohol can raise blood pressure.
One of the easiest ways you can treat hypertension and prevent possible complications is through your diet. What you eat can go a long way toward easing or eliminating hypertension.
Here are some of the most common dietary recommendations for people with hypertension.
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Tests For High Blood Pressure
When you have a doctors appointment, a nurse, medical assistant, or doctor typically checks your blood pressure. They routinely check blood pressure because there arent symptoms of high blood pressure. The only way to catch it is to test it.
A blood pressure machine, officially called a sphygmomanometer, is used to test for high blood pressure. The blood pressure cuff fits around your arm. Doctors or nurses might use a manual blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope to measure your blood pressure. At home, you can use an electronic blood pressure monitor. It only takes a minute or so to do the test.
When measuring blood pressure, youll observe two numbers:
- Systolic: top number indicating pressure inside the artery when the heart is contracting
- Diastolic: bottom number indicating the pressure of blood inside the arteries when the heart is filling
You have high blood pressure if you have a systolic reading of 140 mm Hg or higher and a diastolic reading of 90 mm Hg or higher. In this case, the nurse or doctor might wait a few minutes and check your blood pressure again. If its still high, you might be asked to monitor your blood pressure at home.
High blood pressure can be a sign of another medical condition. Untreated high blood pressure can cause organ damage. To assess your health properly, a doctor might also order a urine test, blood tests, or an electrocardiogram to check your heart health.
What Abnormal Results Mean
If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 130/80 mm Hg, you have elevated blood pressure.
- Your provider will recommend lifestyle changes to bring your blood pressure down to a normal range.
- Medicines are rarely used at this stage.
If your blood pressure is higher than 130/80 but lower than 140/90 mm Hg, you have Stage 1 high blood pressure. When thinking about the best treatment, you and your provider must consider:
- If you have no other diseases or risk factors, your provider may recommend lifestyle changes and repeat the measurements after a few months.
- If your blood pressure remains above 130/80 but lower than 140/90 mm Hg, your provider may recommend medicines to treat high blood pressure.
- If you have other diseases or risk factors, your provider may be more likely to start medicines at the same time as lifestyle changes.
If your blood pressure is higher than 140/90 mm Hg, you have Stage 2 high blood pressure. Your provider will most likely start you on medicines and recommend lifestyle changes.
Most of the time, high blood pressure does not cause symptoms.
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How Does High Blood Pressure Affect Your Body
- Your Brain – High blood pressure hurts the arteries leading to the brain and increases your risk for stroke .
- Your Heart and Blood Vessels – High blood pressure hurts your heart and blood vessels and increases your risk for heart attack.
- Your Kidneys – High blood pressure hurts your kidneys and increases your risk for kidney failure.
Tips For Taking Your Blood Pressure At Home
Its not uncommon for patients to have normal blood pressure readings at home but high blood pressure readings at their doctor appointments. This can be very frustrating for hypertensive patients, especially those who are diligent about keeping their high blood pressure under control.
Patients often are nervous about what their blood pressure will be when its measured at their doctors office, and that anxiety causes their blood pressure to go up. Its known as white coat hypertension, and its particularly common among elderly patients.
For that reason, I encourage my patients who take hypertension medication to monitor their blood pressure numbers at home.
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Change In Mental Status
This can be a difficult symptom to deal with because when we become confused we may not be able to respond with appropriate judgment. Its important that people who are usually around you are able to recognize the signs of changes in mental status: muddled thinking, changes in speech, unusual behavior and even simply reduced activity. There are many other possible causes for this symptom besides hypertension, including stroke or possibly an unreported head injury, so always seek medical attention if you experience changes in consciousness. Make sure that family members and caregivers know what to watch for, and know that any sign of quickly changing mental status is an emergency that requires immediate medical response.
Fasting For High Blood Pressure
Surprisingly, there is another way to treat high blood pressure, with better results than medication, dieting, reducing your salt intake, exercising, managing your stress, not smoking or drinking. And this scientifically proven method is called fasting.
After doing my 7-day cleanse, people see their blood pressure drop dramatically. And the best part is that if you decide after your cleanse to follow my extreme advice , you may be able to stay off your medication for good.
The Retreat with Nick Knowles, a famous case study
In 2015, I participated in the filming of the British TV series The Retreat with Nick Knowles, where a group of unhealthy participants joined to change their lives during a one-month detox retreat. The program involved my 7 day fast followed by a healthy vegan diet and daily yoga.
Some were diagnosed with high blood pressure. After a month of filming, the participants had gone from dangerously high blood pressure to what is considered to be in the normal range.
They were also able to lower their cholesterol and to lose weight. Lets look at the results of two of the participants.
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How Does High Blood Pressure Affect You
Know the signs and symptoms of high blood pressure, to understand how to know if your blood pressure is high. High blood pressure can affect every person in a slightly different manner and being a silent killer, is difficult to spot it.
Sometimes, people having high blood pressure may experience symptoms like headaches, dizziness, nose bleeds, blurring of vision or difficulty in normal vision, overall discomfort, nausea and sometimes vomiting.
While these symptoms are also commonly noticed in other conditions, it is worth checking your blood pressure if you experience these symptoms to know if your blood pressure is high. Also, these symptoms may not be necessarily experienced in the initial period and is mostly noticed after much damage is caused.
Hence, it is better to seek medical advice, if you experience these symptoms. Regular monitoring can help you to know if your blood pressure is high.