What Causes Systolic Hypertension
Several psychological and physical factors can impact systolic blood pressure in an individual. However, it is important to keep in mind that blood pressure is not a static measurement, as the values for both systolic and diastolic ranges change constantly throughout the day. This is because your circulatory system is a dynamic structure that has to adjust to various stressors. As a result, your doctor will never make a diagnosis of hypertension from a single visit, but rather take blood pressure readings across multiple visits before making a definite diagnosis.
Every organ in the body contributes to your blood pressure, with the kidneys, heart, and brain playing the biggest roles in systolic blood pressure values. Heart health can directly create a significant impact on systolic blood pressure, as the force its creates may have to pump harder if you suffer from medical conditions. Having kidney failure will also lead to increases in blood pressure due to the ineffective removal of excess fluid, creating an increased burden on the heart.
Factors affecting our mental state, such as being frightened or anxious, can also affect systolic blood pressure. This is an autonomic response by the body to help deal with immediate stressors. These situations typically result in increased heart rate and blood pressure, as your body is preparing to go into action.
Regular Blood Pressure Checks If Diagnosed With High Blood Pressure
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, your blood pressure will need to be closely monitored until it is brought under control.
After your blood pressure has been controlled, your GP or practice nurse will measure your blood pressure at agreed regular intervals .
It is important you attend these appointments to ensure your blood pressure is being maintained within an acceptable range.
What Should Your Blood Pressure Be
Ideally, we should all have a blood pressure reading between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
Most people in the UK have blood pressures higher than the ideal, but below the usual cut-off for diagnosing high blood pressure somewhere between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg. If youre in this range, you could develop high blood pressure in the future. Taking steps to will keep your risk of health problems down.
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Normal Blood Pressure By Age Race And Gender
Previously, guidance for normal blood pressure for adults varied by gender and specific age, but new data states normal blood pressure for adults as a collective is less than 120/80 mmHgHigh Blood Pressure Symptoms and Causes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 7/16/2021. .
When it comes to race and ethnicity, Dr. Desai says certain groups have a higher rate of hypertension. Non-Hispanic Black people have a significantly higher rate of hypertension compared to non-Hispanic white people, and Hispanics and non-Hispanic Asians have lower rates than the first two, he says.
The reason for this variance can range from substandard insurance coverage and poor access to healthcare to gaps in the use of medications to treat multiple conditions with reduced compliance in certain groups, he adds.
As for gender, theres increasing evidence for risk of cardiovascular disease in women with blood pressures lower than what is considered normal, says Jennifer Wong, M.D., medical director of non-invasive cardiology at MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.
What Is High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is blood pressure that is higher than normal. Your blood pressure changes throughout the day based on your activities. Having blood pressure measures consistently above normal may result in a diagnosis of high blood pressure .
Your health care team can diagnose high blood pressure and make treatment decisions by reviewing your systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels and comparing them to levels found in certain guidelines.
The guidelines used to diagnose high blood pressure may differ from health care professional to health care professional:
- Some health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 140/90 mm Hg or higher.2 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2003, as seen in the table below.
- Other health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 130/80 mm Hg or higher.1 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2017, as seen in the table below.
|systolic: 130 mm Hg or higherdiastolic: 80 mm Hg or higher|
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, talk with your health care team about your blood pressure levels and how these levels affect your treatment plan.
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How Can I Tell If I Have High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. In fact, many people have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. Thats why its called the silent killer. In 90-95 percent of cases, the cause of high blood pressure is unknown.
A single elevated blood pressure reading doesnt mean you have high blood pressure, but its a sign that further observation is required. The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked.
Medications With Blood Pressure Of 74/44
You may get low blood pressure as a side effect of certain medications. Already on blood pressure medication? If so it may be working too well and should be adjusted.
Talk to your doctor about adjusting your blood pressure medication dosage.
If lifestyle changes dont work to raise your blood pressure your doctor might prescribe medicines such as Fludrocortisone, which promotes sodium retention, or Midodrine, which activates receptors in arteries to promote blood pressure.
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What Does A Blood Pressure Reading Of 74/44 Mean
Readings below 80/60 indicate very low blood pressure or Severe Hypotension. You may have very low blood pressure but feel fine. It depends on the person.
However, very low blood pressure could also have an underlying cause and indicate a serious heart problem or infection. In some instances severe hypotension can result in shock, causing confusion, clammy skin and rapid shallow breathing.
Very low blood pressure can also be caused by an endocrine problem, pregnancy and dehydration. Certain medications and nutritional deficiencies can also reduce your blood pressure.
What Can I Expect If I Have This Condition
Since high blood pressure doesnt cause many symptoms at first, you probably wont feel any different with a high blood pressure diagnosis. But its important to follow your providers instructions to bring your blood pressure down so it doesnt cause serious illnesses later in life.
How long does high blood pressure last?
If you have primary high blood pressure, youll need to manage it for the rest of your life.
If you have secondary high blood pressure, your blood pressure will most likely come down after you receive treatment for the medical problem that caused it. If a medication caused your high blood pressure, switching to a different medicine may lower your blood pressure.
What is the outlook for high blood pressure?
You can get seriously ill if you dont treat your high blood pressure. However, if you take the medicines your provider ordered, you can manage your blood pressure. Exercising and eating healthy foods also helps lower your blood pressure.
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Healthy And Unhealthy Blood Pressure Ranges
Learn whats considered normal, as recommended by the American Heart Association.
|SYSTOLIC mm Hg||and/or||DIASTOLIC mm Hg|
|HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE STAGE 1||130 139|
|HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE STAGE 2||140 OR HIGHER|
|HYPERTENSIVE CRISIS||HIGHER THAN 180||and/or||HIGHER THAN 120|
Note: A diagnosis of high blood pressure must be confirmed with a medical professional. A doctor should also evaluate any unusually low blood pressure readings.
The five blood pressure ranges as recognized by the American Heart Association are:
Whats Considered Elevated Blood Pressure
Blood pressure numbers that are higher than 120/80 mm Hg are a warning sign. It means you need to pay attention to your blood pressure and focus on heart-healthy habits.
Although these numbers arent technically considered high blood pressure, youve moved out of the normal range. Elevated blood pressure may turn into high blood pressure, which puts you at an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Elevated blood pressure
When your systolic pressure is between 120 and 129mm Hgand your diastolic pressure is less than 80mm Hg, it means you have elevated blood pressure.
No medications are necessary for elevated blood pressure. But your doctor may talk with you about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, such as getting regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and managing your weight.
You may receive a diagnosis of stage 1 hypertension if:
- your systolic blood pressure is between 130 and 139 mm Hg, or
- your diastolic blood pressure is between 80 and 89 mm Hg
However, the AHA notes that if you get only one reading this high, you may not truly have stage 1 hypertension. What determines the diagnosis of hypertension at any stage is the average of your blood pressure numbers over a period of time.
Your doctor can help you measure and track your blood pressure to confirm whether its too high.
Stage 1 hypertension
If your systolic blood pressure is 130 to 139 mm Hgor your diastolic blood pressure is 80 to 89 mm Hg, its considered stage 1 hypertension.
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Learning To Cope With Stress Can Help
Stress and hypertension have often been linked, but researchers are still looking into a direct relationship between the two. Still, the best advice to hypertensive patients: Try to relax.
When you are stressed, your body sends stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream. These hormones create a temporary spike in blood pressure, causing your heart to beat faster and blood vessels to narrow. When the stressful situation is over, blood pressure goes back to its normal level.
Chronic stress, however, may cause your body to stay in this highly-charged state longer than natural.
While stress itself may or may not affect blood pressure, how you cope with stress does. For instance, overeating, smoking and drinking alcohol in response to stressful situations are direct causes of sustained high blood pressure. On the flip side, healthier coping mechanisms like exercising, practicing yoga and meditating can all help lower blood pressure.
A Note About Sex And Gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms male, female, or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. .
If blood pressure is too high for too long, it can cause serious damage to the blood vessels.
This can lead to various complications, some of which can be life threatening. They include:
There are ways of managing high blood pressure, or hypertension. The condition does not often cause symptoms, but regular screening can help a person know if preventive measures are necessary.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force estimates that high blood pressure affects around 45% of adults in the U.S.
In this article, we look at the causes of high blood pressure and how to treat it. We also explain the blood pressure measurements that health authorities consider to be typical or too high.
The heart is a muscle that pumps blood around the body. As it travels, the blood delivers oxygen to the bodys vital organs.
Sometimes, a problem in the body makes it harder for the heart to pump blood. For example, this could occur if an artery becomes too narrow.
Persistent high blood pressure can place strain on the walls of the arteries. This can lead to various health problems, some of which can be life threatening.
Doctors measure blood pressure in millimeters of mercury .
Therefore, if blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg, the systolic pressure is 120 mm Hg and the diastolic pressure is 80 mm Hg.
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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.
Surprising Facts About High Blood Pressure
What you dont know about high blood pressure could hurt you. High blood pressure affects nearly half of the adult population in the United States,1 yet many people who have the condition dont know they have it.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure raises the risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States. Fortunately, high blood pressure is treatable and preventable.
To lower your risk, get your blood pressure checked regularly and take action to control your blood pressure if it is high.
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Lifestyle Changes Can Help Reduce Blood Pressure
What helps high blood pressure? Here are some healthy lifestyle changes you can try:
- Modify your diet with a focus on nutrition and a healthy body weight. Try to lose weight if you need to since weight loss can help improve your blood pressure.
- Consider following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension eating plan to help control your blood pressure. It emphasizes vegetables, fruits and whole grains. It also includes fat-free or low-fat dairy, fish, poultry, beans, nuts and vegetable oil and other foods in limited amounts.
- Avoid processed foods and fast foods, which are typically high in sodium. Too much sodium intake can raise blood pressure.
- Reduce your caffeine intake.
- Try to get at least 2.5 hours of physical activity per week.
- Steer clear of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs.
- Manage your stress.
- Make sure you get enough sleep.
The most important factor in making lifestyle changes is consistency, Dr. Gideon said.
When To Call Your Doctor
The risks of both high and low blood pressure make monitoring your blood pressure at home essential to your overall health and well-being. Both Dr. Wong and Dr. Desai recommend calling your healthcare provider if your self-monitored blood pressure readings are greater than 180/120 mmHgeven if you have no other symptoms.
You should call 911 if these blood pressure readings are associated with symptoms of organ damage, such as headache, vision changes, weakness, numbness, chest pain or shortness of breath, says Dr. Wong.
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How To Lower Blood Pressure
Treatment will depend on several factors, including how high the blood pressure is and the risk of cardiovascular disease or a stroke.
The doctor will recommend different treatments as blood pressure increases. For slightly high blood pressure, they may suggest making lifestyle changes and monitoring the blood pressure.
If blood pressure is high, they will recommend medication. The options may change over time, according to how severe the hypertension is and whether complications arise, such as kidney disease. Some people may also need a combination of several different medications.
How Is High Blood Pressure Treated
Treatment for hypertension depends on how high your blood pressure is, as well as your lifestyle and risk factors.
For elevated blood pressure, the goal is to keep your blood pressure from developing into clinical hypertension. No medications are necessary at this stage. Your doctor may recommend:
- losing weight if you have overweight or obesity
For stage 1 hypertension, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes as mentioned above, as well as:
- reducing your sodium intake
- finding healthy ways to manage your stress
- medication, if your blood pressure doesnt improve after 1 month of lifestyle changes
For stage 2 hypertension, the typical treatment, in addition to a healthier lifestyle, is medication. Your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following medications to help lower your blood pressure:
- ACE inhibitors to block substances that tighten blood vessels
- alpha blockers to help relax the arteries
- beta-blockers to decrease your heart rate and block substances that tighten blood vessels
- calcium channel blockers to relax blood vessels and decrease the work of your heart
- diuretics to decrease the amount of fluid in your body, including your blood vessels
A hypertensive crisis requires immediate treatment. Medications may be given orally or intravenously .
The most for a hypertensive crisis include:
- vasodilators, such as hydralazine, nitroglycerin, and nitroprusside
- beta-blockers, such as labetalol and esmolol
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Who Should Have A Blood Pressure Check
All adults should have their blood pressure checked. Blood pressure becomes more common with age, so if youre over 40 you should have a blood pressure check at least every five years. Its a good idea to have a blood pressure check if you are younger as well, especially if you are carrying extra weight or have other .
If You Notice A Sudden Decline In Blood Pressure
A single lower-than-normal reading is not cause for alarm, unless you are experiencing any other symptoms or problems. If you experience any dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea or other symptoms, its a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider. To help with your diagnosis, keep a record of your symptoms and activities at the time they occurred.
Is low blood pressure related to low heart rate? Find out.
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.
Last Reviewed: Oct 31, 2016
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