What Do Blood Pressure Readings Mean
The American Heart Association defines normal blood pressure as less than 120/80. Elevated blood pressure ranges between 120/80 and 129/80, and high blood pressure is 130/80 and higher. In pregnancy, normal blood pressure should be below 120/80.
If your blood pressure reaches the high range, you should see your doctor about lifestyle changes, and possibly medication especially if you have other risk factors, such as diabetes or heart disease.
High blood pressure may indicate an emergency situation. If this high blood pressure is associated with chest pain, shortness of breath, headache, dizziness, or back or abdominal pain, seek medical care immediately. If you are experiencing no associated symptoms with a high blood pressure reading such as this, re-check it again within a few minutes and contact your doctor or go to an emergency room if it is still high.
If your blood pressure is lower than about 100/60 you may have low blood pressure, depending on the associated symptoms. If you are unsure, check with your doctor.
How Does Blood Pressure Affect My Health
Even if you’re only in your 20s or 30s, long-term studies show that having elevated blood pressure significantly increases your risk of developing serious health conditions later in life.
“Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease in middle age, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S.,” says Dr. Nasir. “It’s also a risk factor for stroke, kidney disease and several eye conditions.”
Plus, high blood pressure affects more than just your health there are financial implications, too. A person with high blood pressure spends almost $2,000 a year on the associated medications and health costs. These costs skyrocket if high blood pressure is left uncontrolled and serious medical conditions, such as heart disease, result.
Medications With Blood Pressure Of 140/90
If you arent on medications already, your doctor may recommend you begin with lifestyle changes. However, many will ultimately need medication to reduce their high blood pressure.
Medications can have a big impact on your blood pressure. There are a variety of different types of blood pressure medications available.
Following is a short list of each type of medication and what they do to reduce blood pressure.
- DiureticsHelps rid the body of sodium , which helps control blood pressure.
- Beta-blockersHelps reduce your heart rate, which helps lower blood pressure.
- ACE inhibitorsACE stands for Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme. Helps the body produce less angiotensin, which helps the blood vessels relax and lowers blood pressure.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockersHelps block the chemical that causes blood vessels to narrow, which helps blood vessels stay open and lowers blood pressure.
- Calcium channel blockersHelps lower blood pressure by preventing calcium from entering smooth muscle cells, which can cause stronger heart contraction and narrow blood vessels.
- Alpha blockersHelps relax certain muscles, which keeps blood vessels open and lowers blood pressure.
- Alpha-2 Receptor AgonistsHelps lower blood pressure by inhibiting sympathetic activity.
- Central agonistsUsing a different nerve path than Alpha and Beta blockers, Central agonists help relax blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure.
- VasodilatorsHelps dilate the blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure.
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What Is High Blood Pressure What Is Normal Blood Pressure
- High blood pressure is defined as high pressure in the arteries, which are the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
- Blood pressure readings are given as two numbers:
- The systolic blood pressure equals the pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts.
- The diastolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries as the heart relaxes.
What Are Stages Of Hypertension
Hypertension stages Normal: systolic less than 120 mm Hg and diastolic less than 80 mm Hg. Elevated: systolic between 120-129 mm Hg and diastolic less than 80 mm Hg. Stage 1: systolic between 130-139 mm Hg or diastolic between 80-89 mm Hg. Stage 2: systolic at least 140 mm Hg or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg.
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Does Diabetes 2 Affect Blood Pressure
Hatipoglu. Over time, diabetes damages the small blood vessels in your body, causing the walls of the blood vessels to stiffen. This increases pressure, which leads to high blood pressure. The combination of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes can greatly increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
How Can I Be More Active
- Check first with your healthcare provider before increasing your physical activity. Ask your provider what type and amount of exercise is right for you.
- Choose aerobic activities such as walking, biking or swimming.
- Start slowly and increase activity gradually. Aim for a regular routine of activity five times a week for 30 to 45 minutes each session.
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What Does A Blood Pressure Reading Of 140/90 Mean
Readings between 140/90 and 159/99 indicate Stage 1 Hypertension, which means the force of the blood pressure in your arteries is higher than normal. Hypertension is defined as a systolic blood pressure of greater or equal to 140 and/or a diastolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 90.
Hypertension increases your risk of life-threatening problems such as heart attacks and stroke. Blood pressure in this range may also damage the heart and kidneys, particularly in those who already have chronic medical problems affecting these organs.
How To Measure Your Blood Pressure
Usually, before a doctors appointment, a nurse checks your blood pressure to make sure its not too low or too high. But you can also check your blood pressure readings at home.
You can use an inflatable cuff, similar to those used at your doctors office. Or you can use a digital blood pressure monitor with automatic cuff inflation.
Read the directions carefully when measuring your blood pressure at home, and follow the instructions that come with the product.
Also, keep in mind that certain factors may cause a temporary rise in your blood pressure. These factors include:
For a more accurate blood pressure reading:
- Take your blood pressure in a quiet location when youre calm and relaxed.
- Dont exercise, smoke, or drink caffeine for at least 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure.
- Its best to vary the times of day that you take your pressure readings to see the range of your readings.
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/80 Is The New High Blood Pressure: What This Means For You
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recently released guidelines lowering the definition of high blood pressure and made new recommendations for blood pressure control.
The new guidelines now define high blood pressure as 130/80 rather than 140/90. This means 46 percent of U.S. adults are now considered to have high blood pressure, or hypertension, placing them at elevated risk for heart attack and stroke.
What Your Blood Pressure Numbers Mean
Blood pressure is the force that blood applies to the walls of arteries as it’s pumped throughout the body.
“Your arteries are built to withstand some pressure, but there’s a limit to what they can handle,” says Dr. Nasir.
This is why blood pressure is measured and segmented based on how it affects our health. The four blood pressure categories are:
- Normal blood pressure: Lower than 120/80 mmHg
- Elevated blood pressure: Between 120-129/80 mmHg
- High blood pressure, stage 1: Between 130-139/80-90 mmHg
- High blood pressure, stage 2: 140/90 mmHg or higher
Only normal blood pressure is considered healthy. Having elevated or high blood pressure damages your heart and arteries by:
- Forcing your heart to pump harder. Over time, this causes heart muscle to thicken, making it harder for the heart to fill with and pump blood.
- Narrowing and hardening your arteries. This can limit the normal flow of blood.
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Is 150/90 A Good Blood Pressure Lets Find Out
Monitoring our blood pressure is essential if you want to stay healthy and fit in the long run. That means you need to know if 150 over 90 is good blood pressure or not. You must have a good idea of what blood pressure you need to have based on your age. The last thing you want is to encounter is high blood pressure, as that can be very problematic for your body and it comes with major side effects.
A Blood Pressure Reading Of 135 Over 90 Is So Very Borderline For High But Dont Let That Fool You Because Its Dangerous
Blood pressure is called the silent killer for good reason, says Stacy Mitchell Doyle, MD, resident physician of FoodTherapyMD and long-time advocate of plant-based nutritional protocols.
Even borderline blood pressures, over time, result in cardiovascular disease like heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and even kidney failure, continues Dr. Doyle.
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When To Call Your Healthcare Provider
A hypertensive crisisdefined as blood pressure above 180/120 mm Hgrequires immediate medical attention. Call 911 if you are also experiencing symptoms such as chest pain, back pain, shortness of breath, difficulty speaking, a change in vision, weakness, or numbness.
Get Regular Blood Pressure Checks
If your blood pressure is in the healthy range and you have no other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and no personal or family history of high blood pressure, it is still important to have a check at least every two years. Your doctor can also check your blood pressure during routine visits.
If your blood pressure is highnormal , or if you have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as a personal or family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack, it is best to have it checked more frequently such as every 6 to 12 months or as directed by your doctor. Ask your doctor for advice.
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Are There Any Methods You Can Use To Prevent Hypertension
A good thing you can do is to limit the alcohol intake. Drinking a lot of alcohol is usually connected to having high blood pressure.
Drinking alcohol 3 times a week in moderation should not cause any problems. Cutting down on caffeine is just as important.
Another good idea is to lose weight. If youre overweight, then your heart has to work harder in order to pump blood throughout your body.
Losing some weight can really make a difference.
Smoking can put you at risk of a stroke or heart attack. While it doesnt affect the blood pressure directly, it will still lead to the same issues caused by high blood pressure. This is why it makes a lot of sense to stop drinking and smoking, as they are not good for you and they can end up causing major health issues in the long run.
Lastly, you may want to shift towards a healthier diet. Cut down the amount of salt in your food considerably, and also make sure that you go for a diet low on pasta, fruit, rice, and whole grains. Avoid processed food, fast food, or anything unhealthy.
Do I Have High Blood Pressure
Anyone can have high blood pressure. Some medical conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, kidney disease, and thyroid problems, can cause high blood pressure. Some people have a greater chance of having it because of things they can’t change. These are:
- Age. The chance of having high blood pressure increases as you get older, especially isolated systolic hypertension.
- Gender. Before age 55, men have a greater chance of having high blood pressure. Women are more likely to have high blood pressure after menopause.
- Family history. High blood pressure tends to run in some families.
- Race. African Americans are at increased risk for high blood pressure.
High blood pressure often has no signs or symptoms, but routine checks of your blood pressure will help detect increasing levels. If your blood pressure reading is high at two or more check-ups, the doctor may also ask you to measure your blood pressure at home.
There are important considerations for older adults in deciding whether to start treatment for high blood pressure if it is above 130/80, including other health conditions and overall fitness. Your doctor may work with you to find a blood pressure target that is best for your well-being and may suggest exercise, changes in your diet, and medications.
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British Columbia Specific Information
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can damage your blood vessels, heart and kidneys. This damage can cause a heart attack, stroke or other health problems. Your blood pressure reading is based on two measurements called systolic and diastolic. The systolic and diastolic are written as a ratio, for example . A reading of more than 140/90 mmHg taken at your healthcare providers office may indicate high blood pressure. This figure is different for people with diabetes whose blood pressure should be below 130/80 mmHg. People suffering from other illnesses will have different target normal values. For more information on hypertension, visit the Heart & Stroke Foundation and Hypertension Canada.
Healthy lifestyle choices can help lower your blood pressure and improve your health. For information on healthy eating for lowering your blood pressure, see:
You may also call 8-1-1 to speak to a registered dietitian, Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or you can Email a HealthLinkBC Dietitian.
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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/90 Or Higher : You Probably Need Medication
At this level, your doctor is likely to prescribe medicine now to get your blood pressure under control. At the same time, you’ll also need to make lifestyle changes.
If you ever have blood pressure that’s 180/120 or above, it’s an emergency. You need medical help right away to get it under control.
If You Now Have High Blood Pressure You May Not Need Meds Yet
The guidelines also outline very clearly when a diet-and-lifestyle approach is the recommended, first-line treatment, and when medications are simply just what you have to do. Thankfully, the decision is largely based on facts and statistics. For the elevated blood pressure category, medications are actually not recommended rather, a long list of evidence-based, non-drug interventions are. What are these interventions? Things that really work: a diet high in fruits and vegetables decreased salt and bad fats more activity weight loss if one is overweight or obese and no more than two alcoholic drinks per day for men, and one for women. Simply changing what you eat can bring down systolic blood pressure by as much as 11 points, and each additional healthy habit you adopt can bring it down another four to five points.
For people with stage 1 hypertension who dont have cardiovascular disease and are at low risk for developing it , lifestyle changes are still the way to go.
However, if a patient has any kind of cardiovascular disease and stage 1 hypertension , or no existing cardiovascular disease but a significant risk of developing it , then lifestyle changes plus medications are recommended. And, even if someone has less than a 10% risk, if their blood pressure is over 140 systolic or 90 diastolic, which is now stage 2 high blood pressure, they ought to be treated with medication as well.
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What Medications Are Used To Treat High Blood Pressure
Four classes of high blood pressure medications are considered first line when starting treatment. Sometimes other medications are coupled with these first-line drugs to better control your high blood pressure. First-line, pressure-lowering medications are:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors block the production of the angiotensin II hormone, which the body naturally uses to control blood pressure. When angiotensin II is blocked, your blood vessels dont narrow. Examples: lisinopril , enalapril or captopril.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers block this same hormone from binding with receptors in the blood vessels. ARBs work the same way as ACE inhibitors to keep blood vessels from narrowing. Examples: metoprolol , valsartan or losartan.
- Calcium channel blockers prevent calcium from entering the muscle cells of your heart and blood vessels, allowing these vessels to relax. Examples: amlodipine , nifedipine , diltiazem .
- Diuretics flush excess sodium from your body, reducing the amount of fluid in your blood. Diuretics are often used with other high blood pressure medicines, sometimes in one combined pill. Examples: indapamide, hydrochlorothiazide or chlorothiazide.
High Blood Pressure And Daily Activity
Check with your doctor before starting a new activity or increasing your level or intensity. Be active safely. Build up your levels of activity gradually.
Try to do at least 30 to 45 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. This can be done in bouts of 10 minutes or longer, if that is more convenient.
Physical activity is any form of bodily movement performed by our large muscle groups. Moderate-intensity physical activity , such as brisk walking or cycling, is enough to provide health benefits.
Walking is a great activity for all ages. You may like to join one of the Heart Foundations community walking groups.
Some types of exercises, such as body presses and lifting heavy weights, can raise your blood pressure. Avoid these if you have high blood pressure.
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