Check With Your Healthcare Provider To See If Your Blood Pressure Medications Should Be Adjusted
As we change, our medical conditions change. This is especially true when it comes to blood pressure. Dr. Laffin says it increases as we get older and that has to do with the stiffening of the larger arteries within our body. So, its very common to have to escalate therapy. If youre taking blood pressure medicine, check in with your doctor to make sure youre taking the right formula or dosage.
Most people will not be on the same blood pressure medication regimen for a long time. Its normal for a healthcare provider to make adjustments here and there. This can be attributed to our lifestyles. They dont stay the same over time so neither will the medications were taking. So, medication changes often correspond with lifestyle changes, Dr. Laffin explains.
Looking For A List Of Symptoms
If you are looking for a list of symptoms and signs of high blood pressure , you wont find them here. This is because most of the time, there are none.
Myth: People with high blood pressure will experience symptoms, like nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping or facial flushing.
Truth: High blood pressure is a largely symptomless silent killer. If you ignore your blood pressure because you think a certain symptom or sign will alert you to the problem, you are taking a dangerous chance with your life.
What Is A Normal Blood Pressure
Both the American Heart Association and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force have published guidelines for defining healthy and elevated blood pressure. You can follow either guidelines, depending on what you and your doctor agree is acceptable.
|USPSTF Guidelines for Blood Pressure|
|Normal||Systolic: Less than 120 mm Hg Diastolic:Less than 80 mm Hg|
|Elevated||Diastolic: < Less than 80 mm Hg|
|AHA Guidelines for Blood Pressure|
|Normal||Systolic: Less than 120 mm Hg Diastolic: Less than 80 mm Hg|
|Elevated||Diastolic: Less than 80 mm Hg|
|High Blood Pressure Stage 1||Systolic: 130-139 mm Hg|
|High Blood Pressure Stage 2||Systolic: 140 mm Hg or higher Diastolic: 90 mm Hg or higher|
|Hypertensive Crisis||Systolic: Higher than 180 mm Hg Diastolic: Higher than 120 mm Hg|
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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.
In Most Cases High Blood Pressure Does Not Cause Headaches Or Nosebleeds
- The best evidence indicates that high blood pressure does not cause headaches or nosebleeds, except in the case of hypertensive crisis, a medical emergency when blood pressure is 180/120 mm Hg or higher. If your blood pressure is unusually high AND you have headache or nosebleed and are feeling unwell, wait five minutes and retest. If your reading remains at 180/120 mm Hg or higher, call 911.
- If you are experiencing severe headaches or nosebleeds and are otherwise unwell, contact your doctor as they could be symptoms of other health conditions.
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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.
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.
Root Causes And Risk Factors
Knowing what triggers high blood pressure can help you prevent or reverse it. Like with most other chronic diseases, the reason someone develops HBP has to do with several factors.
HBP seems to run in families, but its also highly dependent upon the type of lifestyle someone leads. Women are at an increased risk when taking control pills, during pregnancy, or if taking hormone therapy medications to control menopause symptoms. Obesity or being overweight increases the odds because this puts more pressure on the heart and arteries.
Men and women are equally likely to develop HBP during their lifetimes, but interestingly men are more likely when theyre younger. Before turning 45, men are more likely to have HBP than women but then this flips after age 65, when womens risk becomes higher than mens. When children younger than 10 years old have HBP its usually a side effect of another condition. This can include a kidney problem, medication use or type 1 diabetes.
High blood pressure has a real laundry list of risk factors. The good news is that the majority of these hypertension risk factors are well within your control. They include:
High blood pressure is most prevalent in the adult population, but children are also at risk. Sometimes children can experience high blood pressure symptoms that are caused by problems with the heart or kidneys.
Family History Of Hypertension
While exercising and healthy eating go a long way towards lowering your blood pressure, there are some risk factors that you may not be able to change.
Genetics is a major contributing factor when it comes to your hearts health, and blood pressure can be hereditary. If you are aware of your immediate family being hypertensive or having had a heart attack before the age of 45 , you should make it a priority to visit a doctor.
Understanding family history is important to recognize the cause of high blood pressure, further evaluating whether it is genetic, poor eating habits or lack of exercise repeating itself across generations is also essential.
Even if you have a family history of high blood pressure, it doesnt mean that you cant take actions to avoid another heart episode in the family. Recognizing high blood pressure is challenging, but with regular blood pressure readings, you can easily track it.
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High Blood Pressure Vs Low Blood Pressure
Risk of both low blood pressure and high blood pressure normally increases with age due in part to normal changes during aging. Here are how low and high blood pressure stack up.
High Blood Pressure
Frequently, there are no high blood pressure symptoms as blood pressure increases. Some warning signs for very high blood pressure, however, can include:
- chest pains
- vision changes
Here are some more alarming facts about high blood pressure and high blood pressure symptoms:
Low Blood Pressure
How can you tell if you have low blood pressure, high blood pressure or normal blood pressure?
- Low blood pressure or hypotension: Less than 90/60
- Normal: Less than 120/80
- Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140159/9099
- Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above/100 and above
Here are some stats on low blood pressure:
As long as you dont experience symptoms of low blood pressure, there is no need for concern. Most doctors consider chronically low blood pressure dangerous only if it causes noticeable signs and symptoms, such as:
- dizziness or lightheadedness
Stage One And Stage Two Hypertension
You have stage one hypertension if that top number is between 130 and 139 and, or the diastolic number is between 80 and 89. And you have stage two hypertension if the systolic blood pressure is greater than or equal to 140, and if that diastolic blood pressure is greater than or equal to 90 and then you have a whole hypertensive crisis if your blood pressure is 180 over 120.
Please watch my YouTube video on what causes hypertension to learn more. In order to be screened and monitored for hypertension, you should see your physician.
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 control 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 control your blood pressure. Exercising and eating healthy foods also helps lower your blood pressure.
Blurred Or Double Vision
Untreated, persistent high blood pressure can damage the retina . Symptoms of retinal damage may include:
- Blurred vision, or no vision.
- Double vision, which is defined as a person seeing a double image when it should be a single image, Where the patient can see two images side by side or on top of each other, this condition may affect a persons balance, movement and ability to read.
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Factors Causing High Blood Pressure
Your weight is directly proportional to your blood pressure levels. If you are overweight or obese, the risk rate of catching the problem of high blood pressure increases. As your weight increases, your blood pressure does. Losing weight has been one of the most recommended treatments for people already suffering from hypertension.
- Salt Consumption
Salt has a very strong part to play when it comes to our taste. Also, it is responsible for balancing out all the fluid levels in our body, enabling the nerves to transmit impulses and muscles to contract and relax. But consuming too much salt can cause a rise in blood pressure. With time, taking salt in excessive amounts leads to high blood pressure, which further causes blood vessels to narrow down, and the flow of the blood from the heart to all the other key organs starts getting partially obstructed.
- Lack of Vegetables And Fruits
Since your kidney needs a balanced amount of sodium and potassium to maintain the fluids in your blood, you eat a low-salt diet. But your blood pressure can still rise if you are not eating enough veggies and fruits.
- Lack of Exercise
With age, your blood pressure tends to rise but, if you dont exercise or are not indulged in any kind of physical activities, the risk of hypertension gets even higher. Making exercise a habit can be a drug-free approach to lower your blood pressure.
- Sleep Deprivation
Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure In Elderly Women
Theres no change to the symptoms of high blood pressure as a person ages. Although cis women who are past menopause are at higher risk for high blood pressure, theyre still unlikely to experience any symptoms at all. High blood pressure is still a silent condition in older women.
If any symptoms do occur, theyll be likely to be flushing, red spots in front of the eyes, and dizziness. But the best way for older women to monitor their blood pressure is to keep track of their blood pressure numbers and have conversations about their blood pressure with their healthcare professional.
The overall risk for high blood pressure goes up as everyone ages, regardless of sex or gender.
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Don’t Wait For Symptoms Know Your Blood Pressure Numbers And What They Mean
Once you do get your blood pressure checked, it’s important to know what your current numbers mean:
- Normal blood pressure: Lower than 120/80 mmHg
- Elevated blood pressure: Between 120-129/< 80 mmHg
- Hypertension, stage 1: Between 130-139/80-< 90 mmHg
- Hypertension, stage 2: 140/90 mmHg or higher
“If your blood pressure is elevated, this is when we start to worry about it progressing into high blood pressure,” says Dr. Patel. “The higher your blood pressure gets, the harder it becomes to control and the more likely you are to experience complications so the earlier it’s diagnosed and managed, the better.”
What Diet Helps Control High Blood Pressure
- Eat foods that are lower in fat, salt and calories, such as skim or 1% milk, fresh vegetables and fruits, and whole-grain rice and pasta.
- Use flavorings, spices and herbs to make foods tasty without using salt. The optimal recommendation for salt in your diet is to have less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day. Don’t forget that most restaurant foods and many processed and frozen foods contain high levels of salt. Use herbs and spices that do not contain salt in recipes to flavor your food. Dont add salt at the table.
- Avoid or cut down on foods high in fat or salt, such as butter and margarine, regular salad dressings, fatty meats, whole milk dairy products, fried foods, processed foods or fast foods and salted snacks.
- Ask your provider if you should increase potassium in your diet. Discuss the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet with your provider. The DASH diet emphasizes adding fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your diet while reducing the amount of sodium. Since its rich in fruits and vegetables, which are naturally lower in sodium than many other foods, the DASH diet makes it easier to eat less salt and sodium.
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Symptoms In Teens And People In Their Early 20s
Teenagers can develop high blood pressure due to obesity or an underlying medical condition.
Possible medical factors
- endocrine disease, which affects the hormones
- vascular disease, which affects the blood vessels
- a neurological condition
These conditions may have symptoms of their own.
The symptoms of high blood pressure, if they occur, will be the same as for other groups.
A 2021 study notes that, while death rates from cardiovascular disease have fallen among older adults, the reduction has been less dramatic in those aged 1839 years. The author suggests there are lower rates of awareness, treatment, and management of high blood pressure in those aged 2039. With this in mind, they call for more effective identification of high blood pressure in these age groups to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems later in life.
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 To Manage High Blood Pressure
It all comes down to lifestyle changes. We know the pandemic has stressed us out, cut into our sleep and most likely made us stress eat or drink a little more. Dr. Laffin says that by cleaning up our acts, we can help keep our blood pressure under control.
I typically tell people that blood pressure management is about 70% lifestyle and 30% medications. Most people who take blood pressure medicines will need to take them because blood pressure doesnt get better as we get older. But if we do the right lifestyle things getting to an ideal weight, exercising and watching dietary sodium those things can go a long way. Sleeping six to eight hours a night and moderating alcohol consumption can make a major difference as well.
High Blood Pressure And Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors, including high blood pressure, that raises the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other health problems. It’s diagnosed when you have any three of these risk factors:
- High blood glucose
- Low levels of HDL cholesterol in the blood
- High levels of triglycerides in the blood
- Large waist circumference or apple-shaped body
- High blood pressure
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What Is High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is recorded with 2 numbers. The systolic pressure is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.
The diastolic pressure is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
They’re both measured in millimetres of mercury .
As a general guide:
- high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher
- ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg
Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.
Everyone’s blood pressure will be slightly different. What’s considered low or high for you may be normal for someone else.