How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed
High blood pressure is usually diagnosed by a health care professional after a blood pressure screening during an annual checkup. If your blood pressure is usually normal, one high reading is likely nothing to worry about.
Blood pressure can be temporarily raised by lots of different things such as physical activity, dehydration, what you eat or drink, and even the temperature outside. Just being in the doctors office can raise blood pressure.
So before diagnosing high blood pressure, your doctor will likely look at past readings and possibly take another reading. If theyre still not sure, they may recommend additional testing with a home blood pressure monitoring system. And depending on your risk factors or other health conditions, you may be referred to a cardiologist who specializes in cardiovascular diseases .
Why Is It Important To Know If You Have High Blood Pressure
Early detection of high blood pressure is very important. Often referred to as the silent killer because it may show no symptoms, high blood pressure puts you at an increased risk for heart disease, heart failure, and stroke, among other things. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, more than 360,000 deaths in the United States included high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause.
Eat Some Dark Chocolate
Yes, chocolate lovers: Dark chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure.
But the dark chocolate should be 60 to 70 percent cacao. A review of studies on dark chocolate has found that eating one to two squares of dark chocolate per day may help lower the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and inflammation.
The benefits are thought to come from the flavonoids present in chocolate with more cocoa solids. The flavonoids help dilate, or widen, your blood vessels .
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What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers:
The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.
If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say, 120 over 80, or write, 120/80 mmHg.
What Are Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors What Are The Side Effects
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors or MAOIs were the first class of antidepressants to be developed. They fell out of favor because of concerns about interactions with certain foods and numerous drug interactions. MAOIs elevate the levels of norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine by inhibiting an enzyme called monoamine oxidase. Monoamine oxidase breaks down norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. When monoamine oxidase is inhibited, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine are not broken down, increasing the concentration of all three neurotransmitters in the brain.
Monoamine oxidase also breaks down tyramine, a chemical present in aged cheese, wines, and other aged foods. Since MAOIs inhibit monoamine oxidase, they decrease the breakdown of tyramine from ingested food, increasing the level of tyramine in the body. Excessive tyramine can elevate blood pressure and cause a hypertensive crisis. Patients treated with MAOIs should adhere to recommended dietary modifications that reduce the intake of tyramine. Interestingly, the 6 mg/24 hour dose of selegiline transdermal system does not require dietary restrictions because at this dose EMSAM does not substantially inhibit tyramine. Higher selegiline transdermal system doses require dietary restrictions.
What are the side effects of MAOIs?
Symptoms of hypertensive crises include
Other side effects and adverse events of MAOIs include:
Sexual side effects may diminish with time or a reduction in dose.
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Low Blood Pressure Chart
Considering low blood pressure chart in context of women, for men, during pregnancy and by age
Low blood pressure is defined as blood pressure that is below the normal expected for a person in a given environment. You may look at the blood pressure definition for a broader definition of blood pressure. The following low blood pressure chart is applicable to adult men and women. This is because both adult male and females are expected to have a similar normal blood pressure on average of 120/80mmHg.
This chart in discussion here may not be efficiently applicable on children because infants and children specifically have significantly lower blood pressure compared to adult men and women.
High blood pressure which is also known as hypertension is often presented with the aid of a high blood pressure chart showing the various stages of hypertension congruent with particular blood pressure numbers. Several challenges present when attempting to do the same for low blood pressure in the form of a low blood pressure chart.
Chief among these challenges is the widely agreed and understood relativity of a low blood pressure condition. The chart above summarizes known data of low blood pressure readings in some individuals and accompanying symptoms of low blood pressure.
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What Causes High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure usually develops over time. It can happen because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as not getting enough regular physical activity. Certain health conditions, such as diabetes and having obesity, can also increase the risk for developing high blood pressure. High blood pressure can also happen during pregnancy.
You can manage your blood pressure to lower your risk for serious health problems that may affect your heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes.
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.
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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Stroke And Brain Problems
High blood pressure can cause the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain to burst or be blocked, causing a stroke. Brain cells die during a stroke because they do not get enough oxygen. Stroke can cause serious disabilities in speech, movement, and other basic activities. A stroke can also kill you.
Having high blood pressure, especially in midlife, is linked to having poorer cognitive function and dementia later in life. Learn more about the link between high blood pressure and dementia from the National Institutes of Healths Mind Your Risks®external icon campaign.
What Are Serotonin And Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors How Do They Work
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or SNRIs are the newest class of antidepressants. SNRIs work by increasing the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine that are active in the brain. Serotonin and norepinephrine are produced by nerves and released into the surrounding tissues where they can attach to nearby receptors on other nerves, thereby stimulating the other nerves. The released serotonin and norepinephrine then are taken up and released again by the nerves that produce them. SNRIs block the uptake of the serotonin and norepinephrine so that more of the serotonin and norepinephrine are free in the tissues surrounding the nerves.
- Urinary retention: Urinary hesitation may be treated with bethanechol .
- Visual disturbances: Visual disturbances may be treated with pilocarpine eye drops.
- Sexual dysfunction:Erectile dysfunction may be managed with sidenafil , reducing the TCA dose, or discontinuing the TCA. Yohimbine, ginkgo, bethanechol, and neostigmine have also been used for managing TCA induced sexual dysfunction in some patients.
Side effects that are more serious include:
- TCAs also cause sedation. Amitriptyline , doxepin , and trimipramine are more sedating than amoxapine and desipramine . Sedation may improve after a few weeks of treatment. Sedating TCAs may be beneficial for depressed patients who have insomnia.
- Dose dependent and reversible weight gain may occur during TCA treatment. Amitriptyline causes weight gain more often than desipramine .
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When Should You Call Your Doctor
One high or low blood pressure reading by itself may not mean you need to call for help. If you take your blood pressure and it is out of the normal range, wait a few minutes and take it again. If it’s still high or low, use the following guidance.
anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
- You passed out .
or seek immediate medical care if:
- Your blood pressure is much higher than normal .
- You think high blood pressure is causing symptoms such as:
- Severe headache.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
- Your blood pressure measures higher than your doctor recommends at least 2 times. That means the top number is higher or the bottom number is higher, or both.
- You think you may be having side effects from your blood pressure medicine.
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.
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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.
Treating High Blood Pressure
Treatment for high blood pressure will depend on your blood pressure levels and your associated risk of developing a cardiovascular disease, such as a heart attack or stroke.
There are seven main risk factors for developing a cardiovascular disease. These are:
- having a high level of cholesterol in your blood
- having a family history of cardiovascular disease .
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How Do I Know If I Have High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure usually doesnt cause symptoms. The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure taken. Know your numbers so you can make the changes that help prevent or limit damage.
Your blood pressure reading has two numbers. The top number is the systolic, which measures the pressure on the blood vessel walls when your heart beats. The bottom number is the diastolic, which measures the pressure on your blood vessels between beats when the heart is at rest.
For example, a reading of 110/70 is within normal range for blood pressure 126/72 is an elevated blood pressure a reading of 135/85 is stage 1 hypertension, and so on .
Cut Back On Sugar And Refined Carbohydrates
Sugar, especially fructose, may increase your blood pressure more than salt, according to one 2014 review. In trials lasting at least 8 weeks, sugar increased blood pressure by 5.6 mm Hg diastolic and 6.9 mm Hg systolic .
A 2020 study that compared various popular diets found that for people who with more weight or obesity, low carb and low fat diets lowered their diastolic blood pressure by an average of about 5 mm Hg and their systolic blood pressure 3 mm Hg after 6 months .
Another benefit of a low carb, low sugar diet is that you feel fuller longer, because youre consuming more protein and fat.
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Eat More Potassium And Less Sodium
Increasing your potassium intake and cutting back on salt can also lower your blood pressure .
Potassium is a double winner: It lessens the effects of salt in your system and eases tension in your blood vessels. However, diets rich in potassium may be harmful to people with kidney disease, so talk with your doctor before increasing your potassium intake.
Its easy to eat more potassium. So many foods are naturally high in potassium. Here are a few:
- other processed snacks
Foods labeled low fat are usually high in salt and sugar to compensate for the loss of fat. Fat is what gives food taste and makes you feel full.
Cutting down on or even better, cutting out processed food will help you eat less salt, less sugar, and fewer refined carbohydrates. All of this can result in lower blood pressure.
Make it a practice to check nutrition labels. According to the Food and Drug Administration , a sodium listing of 5 percent or less on a food label is considered low, while 20 percent or more is considered high (
Regular Blood Pressure Checks For Over Over 40’s
The only way to find out whether you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Ask your GP when you are next due for yours to be checked.
Blood pressure checks are usually available on request at most GP surgeries and health clinics. Some surgeries have home monitoring devices available, which you may be able to use at the time of blood pressure medication start up or change. Many also have a policy of arranging regular checks for you.
Adults who are over 40 and have not been diagnosed with high blood pressure should have their blood pressure checked at least once every five years. However, your blood pressure should ideally be checked more frequently, particularly if you have any contributory risk factors.
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Diagnosing High Or Low Blood Pressure
Only one of your numbers needs to be higher than it should be to be diagnosed with high blood pressure, and only one needs to be lower than it should be to be diagnosed with low blood pressure.
So if your top number is over 140 or the bottom number is over 90, you may be diagnosed with high blood pressure, regardless of the other number. If your top number is under 90 or your bottom number is under 60, you may be diagnosed with low blood pressure. Use the chart to see where your numbers sit.
If your top number is consistently higher than 140mmHg, but the bottom number is healthy this is known as Isolated Systolic Hypertension. If the bottom number is consistently higher than 90mmHg but the top number is healthy this is known as Isolated Diastolic Hypertension.
Making sure your readings arent a one-off
A single high reading doesnt necessarily mean you have high blood pressure, as many things can affect your blood pressure throughout the day, such as the temperature, when you last ate, and if youre feeling stressed.
Your doctor or nurse will probably want to measure your blood pressure a number of times over a few weeks to make sure the reading wasnt just a one off and that your blood pressure stays high over time.
Read about how high blood pressure is diagnosed, getting a blood pressure check, the further tests you might have if you have a high blood pressure reading, and what it means if youre diagnosed with high blood pressure.
About High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is usually defined as having a sustained blood pressure of 140/90mmHg or above.
The line between normal and raised blood pressure is not fixed and depends on your individual circumstances. However, most doctors agree that the ideal blood pressure for a physically healthy person is around 120/80mmHg.
A normal blood pressure reading is classed as less than 130/80mmHg.
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How Can I Control My Blood Pressure
You can often lower your blood pressure by changing your day-to-day habits and by taking medication if needed. Treatment, especially if you have other medical conditions such as diabetes, requires ongoing evaluation and discussions with your doctor.
Lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent and lower high blood pressure:
In addition to recommending lifestyle changes, your doctor will likely prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure to a safe level. Isolated systolic hypertension, the most common form of high blood pressure in older adults, is treated in the same way as regular high blood pressure but may require more than one type of blood pressure medication. You may try several kinds or combinations of medications before finding a plan that works best for you. Medication can control your blood pressure, but it can’t cure it. If your doctor starts you on medication for high blood pressure, you may need to take it long-term.