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.
How To Know If You Have High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, which is why its referred to as a silent killer. There are many symptoms associated with high blood pressure, including headaches, nosebleeds, dizziness, a flush face, and fatigue.
The only way to know for sure that you have high blood pressure is to measure your blood pressure. Doctors typically ask that it be measured twice daily morning and evening. Measuring your blood prssure twice daily will overtime, allow you to get an accurate measure.
People with high blood pressure may experience many of these symptoms, but they just as often occur in those with normal blood pressure. If left for too long, or if the hypertension is severe enough, it can damage the brain and cause symptoms such as headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, restlessness and blurred vision. In rare cases, it can even cause brain swelling which can lead to drowsiness and coma.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hypertension
High blood pressure is called a silent killer because you may not have any warning signs.
Once symptoms show up, they can include headaches, nosebleeds, irregular heart rhythms and vision changes. More serious cases of hypertension can lead to fatigue, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and muscle tremors.
How Common Is High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a common condition, it is estimated that 18% of adult men and 13% of adult women have high blood pressure but are not getting treatment for it.
In 90-95% of cases, there is no single identifiable reason for a rise in blood pressure. But all available evidence shows that lifestyle plays a significant role in regulating your blood pressure.
Risk factors for high blood pressure include:
- poor diet
- being overweight
- excessive alcohol consumption.
Also, for reasons not fully understood, people of Afro-Caribbean and South Asian origin are more likely to develop high blood pressure than other ethnic groups.
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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Who Is At Risk For High Blood Pressure
Your family history, lifestyle and medications can increase the chances youll develop high blood pressure. Risk factors for high blood pressure include:
- Drinking too much
- Some medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, also known as NSAIDS, some decongestants, weight loss medicines and stimulants)
- Some underlying health conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea, kidney conditions, adrenal gland tumors and thyroid diseases
- Tobacco and illicit drug use
Unfortunately, family history is a large contributing factor. Even if you eat well, are physically active and avoid risk factors, you may still experience high blood pressure.
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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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.
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.
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Symptoms Of Hypertension Crisis
When your blood pressure reaches 180/120 or higher, it is a hypertension crisis. Hypertension crisis is also known as malignant hypertension. This condition usually appears when hypertension is undiagnosed and untreated for a prolonged time. Sometimes, when a patient does not follow proper measures and take medication as prescribed, hypertension-crisis may appear.
When symptoms do occur in hypertension, they could be attributed to other health issues. Symptoms can include
How Is Hypertension Diagnosed
Adults 20 years of age and older should have their blood pressure checked during regular doctor visits.
Blood pressure is measured with a pressure cuff placed around the upper arm and manually or electronically inflated.
- When inflated, the cuff compresses the brachial artery, the major blood vessel of the upper arm, briefly stopping blood flow.
- The air in the cuff is then released slowly while the person performing the measurement listens with a stethoscope or monitors an electronic readout.
Blood pressure is expressed in two numbers:
|Systolic blood pressure||measures the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart beats|
|Diastolic blood pressure||measures the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart is at rest between beats|
High, elevated, and normal blood pressure is usually defined in the following ranges in the blood pressure chart below:
|High blood pressure|
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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.
When To Call A Doctor
If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately. These symptoms require immediate medical attention. You could be having a hypertensive crisis that may lead to a heart attack or stroke. You may also have another serious health condition. Some people may not experience all or any of these symptoms. but if the reading shows high blood pressure, then waiting for any symptom of hypertension could be fatal and damage your organs severely. The best way to diagnose hypertension is to get a regular reading at every appointment. Most of the doctors clinics take a pressure reading at every appointment.
If you have blood pressure problems, it is best to keep an at-home monitor, so you can check your blood pressure more often at home. Hypertension is a disease that keeps worsening with time, if not treated properly. In such conditions, medical attention is required immediately. If you experience the following symptoms, call an ambulance immediately. The hypertension crisis is treated in the intensive care unit.
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What Are The Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
One in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure and many dont even know it. How can this be? Because high blood pressure rarely has any symptoms.
High blood pressure or hypertension is known as a silent disease because you may not feel any symptoms at all, says Priscilla Bullen, FNP-BC, of Riverside Primary Care Hidenwood. It increases your risk of heart disease, heart failure, stroke and heart attack.
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against your blood vessel walls. High blood pressure is when that force is higher than normal. It often has no signs or symptoms and can lead to other health problems if its not treated.
What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Each time your heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure. When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is called diastolic pressure.
Your blood pressure reading uses these two numbers. Usually the systolic number comes before or above the diastolic number. For example, 120/80 means a systolic of 120 and a diastolic of 80.
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Diagnosing High Blood Pressure
Diagnosing hypertension is as simple as taking a blood pressure reading. Most doctors offices check blood pressure as part of a routine visit. If you dont receive a blood pressure reading at your next appointment, request one.
If your blood pressure is elevated, your doctor may request you have more readings over the course of a few days or weeks. A hypertension diagnosis is rarely given after just one reading.
Your doctor needs to see evidence of a sustained problem. Thats because your environment can contribute to increased blood pressure, like the stress you may feel by being at the doctors office. Also, blood pressure levels change throughout the day.
If your blood pressure remains high, your doctor will likely conduct more tests to rule out underlying conditions. These tests can include:
- cholesterol screening and other blood tests
- test of your hearts electrical activity with an electrocardiogram
- ultrasound of your heart or kidneys
- home blood pressure monitor to monitor your blood pressure over a 24-hour period at home
These tests can help your doctor identify any secondary issues causing your elevated blood pressure. They can also look at the effects high blood pressure may have had on your organs.
During this time, your doctor may begin treating your hypertension. Early treatment may reduce your risk of lasting damage.
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.
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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.”
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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High Blood Pressure: 6 Signs And Symptoms Of Hypertension
- 20 Sep 2018
High blood pressure or hypertension is often associated with few or no symptoms. Theres a reason why hypertension is called the silent killer because many people suffer from it without facing any symptoms.
However, just because high blood pressure is often symptomless doesnt mean its harmless. In fact, uncontrolled high blood pressure, or hypertension, causes damage to your arteries, especially those in the kidneys and eyes. High blood pressure is also a risk factor for stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular problems.
If you are worried that you could be suffering from hypertension, here are 6 signs that you need to watch out for.
Blood Pressure Is Mostly A Silent Disease
Unfortunately, high blood pressure can happen without feeling any abnormal symptoms.
Moderate or severe headaches, anxiety, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, palpitations, or feeling of pulsations in the neck are some signs of high blood pressure. Often, these are late signs that high blood pressure has existed for some time, therefore annual checks are recommended for all adults.
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Pregnancy Can Expose High Blood Pressure
“A new diagnosis of high blood pressure sometimes occurs during pregnancy,” says Dr. Patel. “One reason for this is because the changes that occur during pregnancy can unmask existing high blood pressure that had been lurking in the background.”
A new diagnosis may also simply be the result of a woman having her blood pressure measured for the first time in a while at her first prenatal appointment.
“There is also a specific form of high blood pressure that can occur during pregnancy, called preeclampsia,” says Dr. Patel. “This is not uncommon and is important to manage for both the mom and baby.”
Preeclampsia typically goes away after delivery, but it is very important for a woman who does develop preeclampsia to follow her care team’s advice for managing it.
Eating More Fruits And Vegetables And Less Fat
People who have high blood pressure or people at high risk for developing high blood pressure should reduce their intake of saturated fats in favor of unsaturated forms.
that those with high blood pressure prioritize more heart-healthy foods, such as:
- whole grain, high fiber foods
- a variety of fruits and vegetables
- pulses, such as chickpeas, beans, and lentils
- fish rich in omega-3 twice per week
- nontropical vegetable oils, such as olive oil
- skinless poultry and fish
- low fat dairy products
If a person has high blood pressure or wished to maintain moderate blood pressure, it is important to avoid trans fats, hydrogenated vegetable oils, animal fats, and processed fast foods when creating a diet plan.
However, omega-3 fatty acids, such as those in oily fish and olive oil, have protective effects on the heart. However, these are still fats. While they are typically healthful, people with a risk of hypertension should still include them in their total fat intake.
contribute to hypertension. A fall in blood pressure usually follows weight loss, as the heart does not have to work so hard to pump blood around the body.
A balanced diet with a calorie intake that matches the individuals size, sex, and activity level will help.
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What’s The Impact Of Having High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular diseases such as:
- coronary heart disease – where the main arteries that supply your heart become clogged up with plaques
- strokes – a serious condition where the blood supply to your brain is interrupted
- heart attacks – a serious condition where the blood supply to part of your heart is blocked
Diabetes and kidney disease are also linked to high blood pressure complications.