New Findings Focus On Diastolic Blood Pressurethe Second Number In Your Blood Pressure Reading
Of the two numbers that make up your blood pressure reading, the first one typically gets more attention. That’s because as people age, their arteries lose their elasticity, and the inner walls are more likely to accumulate cholesterol-laden plaque. These factors tend to raise systolic blood pressure, a measure of the pressure inside the arteries when the heart contracts to pump blood throughout the body.
Current guidelines suggest that most people should aim for a systolic blood pressure reading of 140 millimeters of mercury or lower. But last year, a widely publicized clinical trial suggested that a target of 120 mm Hg could further reduce the dangers associated with high blood pressure .
Yet reaching that lower target required an average of three blood pressure medications, which resulted in more side effects. Now, two recent observational studies highlight some concerns about blood pressure that’s too low, particularly with regard to diastolic blood pressure. Diastolic blood pressure represents the pressure between beats when the heart relaxes.
When To Call The Doctor
Low blood pressure can cause symptoms of lightheadedness or dizziness, weakness or feeling faint. If you have any of these symptoms associated with a low blood pressure, you should contact your doctor.
If you have a lower than normal blood pressure but you feel fine without symptoms you are probably okay, says Dr. Courson.
Treatment For Low Blood Pressure
How low blood pressure is treated will depend on the cause of the low blood pressure, but some common treatments include:
1. Preventative Measures
In some situations, taking preventive measures can help correct your low blood pressure. For instance, if you have neurally mediated hypotension and a job that requires you to stand still for long periods of time, your blood pressure can drop.
Dr. Lajoie explains that taking preventive measures such as moving your legs around, walking at regular intervals, getting up slowly and performing leg exercises can help prevent dangerous drops in blood pressure that could cause fainting.
Adequate fluid intake is key to maintaining a healthy blood pressure, Dr. Lajoie says. Improving hydration can sometimes be sufficient to raise blood pressure levels.
3. Dietary Changes
In some situations, a doctor will prescribe increasing your salt intake to try to raise your blood pressure. However, Dr. Lajoie cautions that you should always talk to your doctor before making any significant changes to your salt intake because in certain situations such as heart failure it can make your blood pressure worse.
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As If You Needed Another Reason To Quit Smoking
Do you still smoke? Quitting smoking is a healthy decision in general, and it can also help improve poor blood circulation.
If youve ever seen pictures of poor circulation in feet or hands and wondered why the extremities look so discolored, smoking is usually the culprit.
In fact, smoking-related circulatory diseases kill more people each year than lung cancer does, so put down the butts once and for all!
Symptoms And Causes Of Low Blood Pressure
Many different conditions and situations can cause low blood pressure, from standing up too fast to being pregnant. Sometimes, low blood pressure is linked to an underlying problem. Thats why its important to see your doctor right away if you experience the signs of low blood pressure.
Symptoms of low blood pressure can include:
Low blood pressure can be a sign of serious heart, endocrine or neurological conditions. If left untreated, the brain and other vital organs do not get the oxygen and nutrients they need. In extreme cases, this can cause shock, a life-threatening condition.
If you show signs of low blood pressure, your doctor will conduct an exam and may perform tests to determine whats causing the condition. Low blood pressure can occur with many other conditions.
Some causes of low blood pressure are:
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Hawthorn Used As A Heart Tonic
Hawthorn is a wonderful herb used as a heart tonic. Various traditional references1 indicate the beneficial use of Hawthorn with low blood pressure, as its effect is to normalise the action of the heart and bring it back into balance.
Hawthorn improves the flow of blood to the heart, and increases the power of the heartbeat, so that it is pushing blood more effectively out of the heart and into the arteries.
A weak, light heartbeat wont get the blood very far on its journey round the body whereas a strong, effective heartbeat will propel blood out into the body with greater force and energy, so that it will go further.
This has beneficial repercussions on many of the symptoms outlined above, as the tissues and organs are perfused with the oxygen and other nutrients carried in the bloodstream.
Hawthorn is recommended for at least four to six months to see results. You should talk to your doctor before taking Hawthorn.
Add Ginkgo to the mix to get more help for your arteries, in delivering blood to the extremities. Ginkgo cant be taken if you are on aspirin or warfarin.
Resolving low blood pressure can address many health problems, so if you think this is an issue for you, get your blood pressure checked and start back on the road to healthy circulation.
1 American Materica Medica, Ellingwood, 1919 The Eclectic Materica Medica, Felter, 1922.
Ask The Doctor: Should I Worry About My Low Diastolic Pressure
Q. I am a 70-year-old woman with type 2 diabetes. I take Glucophage and Glucotrol to control my blood sugar and a statin for cholesterol. I have been able to keep my blood pressure in the normal range with diet and exercise. My systolic pressure runs between 117 and 130. My diastolic pressure used to be between 70 and 80, but now it is getting down into the 50s, and sometimes into the 40s. My doctor says that’s great, but it seems to be a low diastolic blood pressure to me. I haven’t changed anything, so could this indicate a problem?
A. First, you should feel very good about your systolic blood pressure, which is in a fine range. As people get older, the systolic pressure becomes the most important predictor of complications like stroke and heart disease, so the big message about your blood pressure is a reassuring one.
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What Does A Blood Pressure Reading Look Like
When you have your blood pressure measured, you will be given two numbers, a top number and a bottom number.
- Systolic blood pressure. This is the first, or top, number. This is the highest level your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats, forcing blood around your body.
- Diastolic blood pressure. The second number, or bottom number, is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart relaxes between beats.
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury . If the first number is 120 and the second number is 80, this would be written as 120/80mmHg, and youd call it 120 over 80.
This video explains more about systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Hug Your Body With Compression Gear
Compression garments, especially compression socks are another great way to improve poor blood circulation.
Like a good massage, compression socks can help improve blood flow to your legs and other extremities, making them a quick and affordable way of how to improve blood circulation right now.
Beyond increasing blood flow, compression socks can also help prevent blood clots, reduce swelling, and improve the condition of venous diseases, as well.
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Foods That Lower Cholesterol
If you’re not one of the 1 in 300 people Braun estimates has an inherited form of high cholesterol, you may be able to lower your LDL cholesterol by adopting a healthier diet. The NLM recommends following these general guidelines:
- Avoid saturated fats and trans fats. Instead, opt for healthier fats such as those found in unsaturated oils like olive, canola and safflower.
- Limit foods containing cholesterol. These are typically animal-based foods such as organ meats, egg yolks and whole-milk dairy products.
- Eat foods high in soluble fiber. Enjoy whole-grain cereals, fruits and beans. The fiber helps keep your body from absorbing cholesterol.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables in general. These have compounds called plant stanols or sterols that can also prevent your body from absorbing cholesterol.
In particular, the Mayo Clinic recommends the following foods that improve cholesterol levels that is, lowering your LDL cholesterol, raising your HDL, and lowering your triglycerides :
- Oatmeal or oat bran
- Fatty fish such as mackerel, herring, tuna, salmon and trout
- Almonds and other tree nuts
- Whey protein
What To Do If Blood Pressure Goes Too Low:
One reader asked a very simple question. We wish the answer were as straightforward:
Q. Do you have any remedies for low blood pressure?
A. Doctors usually worry far more about high blood pressure, but low blood pressure can cause symptoms such as dizziness, brain fog, fatigue, blurred vision, nausea and fainting. Some people experience these symptoms when they stand up suddenly .
There is growing recognition of a condition called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome , in which low blood pressure makes the heart race. Doctors are reporting that POTS may be part of a post-COVID syndrome .
You can learn lots more about POTS by listening to show 1254 Combating the Long-Term Effects of Post-COVID Syndrome.
Doctors often recommend non-drug approaches to treat low blood pressure. They include eating more salt, drinking more fluid and wearing compression hose to keep blood from pooling in the legs. In severe cases, physicians may prescribe midodrine . This drug squeezes blood vessels to raise blood pressure. Patients must not lie down after taking it, as the drug can cause hypertension in such a situation.
What Are Low Blood Pressure Signs And Symptoms
Many people live with low blood pressure but they don’t experience any symptoms. If that’s the case, the low blood pressure is of no consequence. However, others who have low blood pressure experience dizziness and lightheadedness. This is an indication that insufficient blood flow is reaching the brain. This, in turn, can lead to weakness, nausea, confusion, and blurry vision. Low blood pressure can affect other organs leading to shortness of breath, fainting, blacking out, chest pain, and cool, clammy skin.
Health Risks Of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure means your top number is 130 or higher or your bottom number is 80 or higher. For most people, hypertension is caused by aging or lifestyle factors tied to heart health . For others, it could be the result of another health condition, such as sleep apnea or thyroid issues, or even certain medications.
Whatever the cause, high blood pressure doesn’t usually have any symptoms, which isn’t a good thing. Hypertension is often called the “silent killer” because it can lead to heart attack, stroke and coronary artery disease, among other conditions, with little to no warning.
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Is Low Blood Pressure A Problem
For some people, low blood pressure is a sign of good health. These are generally people who are very fit and who have a slow pulse. For other people, low blood pressure is a problem.
Often, people with low blood pressure can be expected to lead longer lives.
However, people who experience continuing symptoms of low blood pressure should see a doctor. Sudden, severe low blood pressure can be associated with serious medical conditions.
You Will Read About Too Many Meds Below And How They Affect Blood Pressure
- Ask your doctor if you can cut back on some meds if you suffer symptoms of postural low blood pressure.
- Get up slowly from bed or from a chair.
- Use a hand rail or support to stand safely
- Get dressed while sitting down
- Avoid walking by yourself if you are dizzy
- Be very careful getting out of the shower or bathtub and keep temperature comfortable but not really hot
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Natural Blood Pressure Medicines
Editors Note: Something strange was happening to pilots training to fly F-16 fighter jets.
The ones who went into the program with elevated blood pressure were coming out a few weeks later with normal, healthy readings. They hadnt taken any medications. Their diets hadnt changed. They hadnt made any changes to their exercise regimens.
Go HERE to discover their secret. And how you could lower your blood pressure up to 15 points from your living room using this same trick.
What Do The Readings Mean
As a general guide:
140/90mmHg or over you may have high blood pressureMost doctors use 140/90mmHg as the cut off for point for diagnosing high blood pressure . This is the point where your risk of serious health problems goes up. They might prescribe medications and advise you to make changes to your lifestyle to bring your blood pressure down. 120/80mmHg up to 140/90mmHg pre-high blood pressureAlso called high-normal blood pressure. This is not high blood pressure, but it is a little higher than it should be and means you could go on to develop high blood pressure. See how you can make healthy changes to your lifestyle to lower it. 90/60mmHg up to 120/80mmHg ideal blood pressureAlso called normal blood pressure. Your blood pressure reading is healthy. At this level you have a much lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Following a healthy lifestyle will help you to keep it in the healthy range. 90/60mmHg or lower you may have low blood pressureLow blood pressure usually isnt a problem, but it can sometimes make you feel faint or dizzy or could be a sign of another health problem.
The video below explains how your blood pressure numbers are linked to the risk of stroke and other disease.
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Improve Poor Blood Circulation By Managing Blood Pressure
Medical professionals constantly talk about the dangers of high blood pressure, but did you know that low blood pressure also presents dangers, as well?
People with low blood pressure are more likely to have poor circulation in hands while sleeping, in addition to several other circulation related issues.
If your blood pressure is too low, construct a plan to raise your blood pressure to a normal level.
Keep in mind, high blood pressure can also cause poor circulation, so its important to keep your blood pressure within an acceptable range for your height and weight.
The Blood Pressure Chart
Once you know your numbers, you can use the blood pressure chart to see what they mean and if your blood pressure is in the healthy range. The chart is suitable for adults of any age, as the cut-off point for diagnosing high blood pressure doesnt change with age.
How to use the blood pressure chart
Simply find your top number on the left side of the chart and your bottom number on the bottom. Where the two lines meet is your blood pressure.
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How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed
To figure out your blood pressure rate, your health care provider takes blood pressure readings at different times. You need more than 1 reading because blood pressure changes depending on what you are doing and varies during the day. For example, your blood pressure can increase when you are nervous or in a hurry.
If your blood pressure is high while with your health care provider but normal otherwise, you may just be nervous. This effect is common. Even people already being treated for high blood pressure go through this.
What matters is what happens to your blood pressure outside your health care providers office. If you have high blood pressure, you should use a home blood pressure monitor. Ask your health care provider how to use the monitor correctly.
Diagnosis Of Low Blood Pressure
Measuring blood pressure
Tests to determine cause
The doctor measures blood pressure and pulse while the person is lying down for a few minutes. If the blood pressure is not low and the person feels well, the doctor has the person stand up and rechecks the blood pressure right after standing up, and after a few minutes of standing. Other tests may be done to determine the cause of the low blood pressure, such as:
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