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.
Is It A Kidney Infection Or Something Else
Your symptoms could also result from another common illness. Some similar conditions you may mistake for a kidney infection include:
- Other UTIs. Other types of UTIs, such as those affecting the urethra and bladder, can also cause symptoms like urgent and painful urination, abdominal pain, and urine thats cloudy, foul-smelling, or bloody.
- Kidney stones.Kidney stones are hard deposits of materials like calcium or uric acid that form in the kidneys. When they become lodged in the kidneys, they can cause pain in the abdomen, side, or back, as well as nausea and vomiting.
- Lower back pain. If low back pain is your primary symptom, you may have a condition thats affecting your lower back. Examples include injuries, degenerative disc disease, and nerve compression.
- Pregnancy. Symptoms like frequent urination, nausea and vomiting, and abdominal cramping can all be early signs of pregnancy.
Its always a good rule of thumb to seek medical attention if you experience any new or concerning symptoms. A healthcare professional can work with you to determine what may be causing them.
Heres an idea of what you can expect when you seek care for a possible kidney infection.
What To Do If You Suspect A Hypertensive Crisis
If you suspect that you or someone else is experiencing a hypertensive crisis, these are the steps that should be taken:
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Spikes In Blood Pressure Don’t Always Need Er Care
Most cases of ‘hypertensive urgency’ can be treated safely in doctor’s office, large study finds
MONDAY, June 13, 2016 — If your blood pressure reading at a routine doctor’s office visit is alarmingly high, in most cases that doesn’t mean a trip to the emergency room, a new study suggests.
In the Cleveland Clinic study of office visits by almost 60,000 patients with “hypertensive urgency” , less than 1 percent needed a referral to a hospital ER.
The rest were treated and then sent home with no added risk in terms of patient outcomes, the researchers said.
“Hypertensive urgency is common in the outpatient setting,” noted the team led by the clinic’s Dr. Krishna Patel. However, the researchers believe that “most patients probably can be safely treated in the outpatient setting, because cardiovascular complications are rare in the short term.”
Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, who directs Women’s Heart Health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, called the finding “reassuring.”
“For those patients with hypertension, an episode of elevated blood pressure can be alarming,” she said.
However, the Cleveland study suggests that “hypertensive urgency — defined as a blood pressure of at least 180/110 — without symptoms or evidence of end organ damage can be managed safely as an outpatient,” Steinbaum said.
The findings are published online June 13 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
But it’s been unclear whether the best course of action is to send such patients to the ER.
So What Causes Our Blood Pressure To Be Elevated
Our blood pressure can rise transiently in response to a specific situation, or can be elevated more chronically secondary to certain diseases, diet, lifestyle, even aging. The latter is more important for long term health.
Temporary elevations in blood pressure can result from stressful life circumstances such as pain, an argument with a friend, pressure on the job, grief or depression, waiting for your coffee at Starbucks. You get the picture. This is normal, expected, and a part of life.
More sustained elevations in blood pressure can result from chronic conditions such as aging , a diet high in salt , a diet high in cholesterol , hormonal changes, diseases of the brain or kidney the list goes on. It is this long term hypertension, however, that can lead to disease.
The take-home point for our patients here is that, while we cant always control the day to day circumstances that lead to fluctuations in our blood pressure, the main goal is a relatively well-controlled blood pressure over time. It is also important to point out that as we age, and our blood vessels naturally get stiffer, it is normal to have a gradually increasing baseline pressure over time. In other words, healthy blood pressure for a 20-year-old is not the same number as healthy blood pressure for a 70-year-old, and so a healthy range is relative to the patient and their chronic medical conditions.
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What Do Your Blood Pressure Numbers Mean
Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood against the walls of your arteries. Blood pressure readings include two numbers. The first number is the systolic pressure . This is the force of blood on the artery walls as your heart pumps. The second number is the diastolic pressure . This is the force of blood on the artery walls between heartbeats.
If the top number stays high, or the bottom number stays high, or both, that means you have high blood pressure . It’s normal for blood pressure to go up and down throughout the day. Your doctor will give you a goal for your blood pressure.
The Surprising Reasons You Might Be Able To Delay Using Meds To Lower Your Pressureor Not Take Them At All
Been told that your blood pressure is too high? Or maybe youre already on meds to lower yours. Well, you might not have to lower it as much as you once thought. Many experts, including our own at Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs, say that millions of Americans dont have to aim quite as low when trying to manage their blood pressure.
That means you might be able to delay or even avoid taking a blood pressure medication, which reduces the risk of side effects and lowers your cost.
The not-so-great news is that it has been more than a year since the advice, from experts convened by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, came out, but many doctors have not yet adopted the new blood pressure targets. Heres why we think they should, and what it means for you:
Tell us what works for you below!
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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.
What Is High Blood Pressure/hypertension
Our heart pumps blood in our entire body. As it travels, the blood supplies oxygen to the bodys vital organs. Sometimes, a problem in the body makes it difficult for the heart to pump the blood, for example, when the artery becomes too narrow, etc.
High blood pressure is when your blood pressure, the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels, is consistently too high. It can lead to a variety of health problems, some of which can be life-threatening.
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Hypertensive Crisis: When You Should Call 911 For High Blood Pressure
A hypertensive crisis is when blood pressure rises quickly and severely with readings of 180/120 or greater.
The consequences of uncontrolled blood pressure in this range can be severe and include:
- Pulmonary edema
An elevated reading may or may not be accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms:
- Severe headache
- Severe anxiety
Why You Should Go To The Er For High Blood Pressure
When your blood pressure readings are high enough to indicate a hypertensive crisis, the pressure that your blood is exacting can damage your blood vessels. In particular, high blood pressure can increase your chances for blood clots, cause your blood vessels to leak or burst, and critically reduce the amount of blood that is reaching your organs.
These complications can lead to severe complications, including but not limited to:
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Treatment For Hypertensive Crisis
Most doctors will opt for an intravenous medication to treat a hypertensive crisis, as this enters the bloodstream directly for faster results. The reduction in blood pressure should be gradual to limit other complications of fatigue, heart rhythm problems, fainting, and respiratory distress.
The goal is to lower blood pressure by about 25% within the first one to two hours. Once you gain stability, the doctor then administers oral antihypertensive medications.
The drugs prescribed differs depending on several factors such:
If you’re pregnant
Whether you have an underlying medical condition
Whether the hypertensive crisis is due to drug abuse
What Can Cause Blood Pressure To Go Up Or Down
It’s normal for blood pressure to go up and down throughout the day. Things like exercise, stress, and sleeping can affect your blood pressure. Some medicines can cause your blood pressure to go up. These medicines include certain asthma medicines and cold remedies.
A low blood pressure reading can be caused by many things, including some medicines, a severe allergic reaction, or an infection. Another cause is dehydration, which is when your body loses too much fluid.
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How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed
Your blood pressure varies from day to day, even from moment to moment. Generally, if a person has a blood pressure reading taken on 3 separate occasions that is greater than 140/90 mmHg, they have high blood pressure. Your doctor may ask you to monitor your blood pressure at home, or wear a monitor over a 24-hour period, to see how it varies and to make sure they get an accurate reading.
Measuring Ambulatory Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can also be diagnosed through a special device called an ambulatory blood pressure monitor. A doctor, nurse or pharmacist will get you to wear the device for a full day. The device measures blood pressure every 20 to 30 minutes and gives the doctor an average of your blood pressures during the day and while you are sleeping. These devices are not available everywhere and can be uncomfortable to wear.
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What Is Postpartum Preeclampsia
Postpartum preeclampsia is a rare condition that can occur after a woman has given birth. A woman with postpartum preeclampsia will have high blood pressure and high levels of protein in her urine.
Most women who develop postpartum preeclampsia do so within 48 hours of childbirth. However, the condition can develop as long as six weeks after childbirth.
Postpartum preeclampsia is a very serious condition. It can lead to strokes, seizures and other complications if not promptly treated. The causes of postpartum preeclampsia are not known.
Why Is Your Blood Pressure Important
Your blood pressure is important because if it is too high, it affects the blood flow to your organs. Over the years, this increases your chances of developing heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, eye disease, erectile dysfunction and other conditions.
Very occasionally, people with very high blood pressure are at serious risk of problems and need urgent treatment in hospital to reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Current Australian guidelines recommend that if you have persistent raised blood pressure over 160/100 mmHg, but are at low risk of having a stroke or heart attack, you should talk to your doctor or specialist about taking medication to lower your blood pressure.
For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
If youre over 18, you should have your blood pressure checked by your doctor at least every 2 years, or more often if advised.
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High Blood Pressure Diagnosis
Hypertension is often called a “”. Approximately a third of people¹ with hypertension don’t know they have this condition because it may have no warning signs or symptoms. When symptoms do occur, these may include early morning headaches, nosebleeds, irregular heartbeat, and changes to vision or the inner ear. Severe hypertension can cause fatigue, nausea, vomiting, confusion, anxiety, chest pain, and muscle tremors.
The best way to know whether you have hypertension is through regular health check-ups. The doctor will refer to your medical history and conduct a physical examination to rule out or detect hypertension. You can also purchase a blood pressure machine to monitor your pressure at home if you are hypertensive or have a family member with high blood pressure.
Blood pressure measurements fall into different categories. For ordinary healthy adults, the pressure should be less than 120/80mmHg. If your readings are higher or lower than the healthy limits, the diagnosis can be as follows:
Elevated high blood pressure: Any value that ranges between 120/80 and 130/80mm Hg.
Stage 1 hypertension: 130/80 to 140/90mm Hg
Stage 2 hypertension: 140/90mm Hg and above
Hypertensive emergency: 180/120mm Hg and above. If you record these values, you should go to the ER immediately as this is life-threatening.
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.
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Monitor Your Blood Pressure
If anything, this study reinforces the need for men to be more diligent about maintaining a healthy level, says Dr. Huang. He suggests older men follow these basic guidelines:
Check your pressure every month and alert your doctor to changes. “If the upper number is repeatedly higher than 140, or the lower number higher than 90, let your doctor know,” he says.
Continue to take your medications as prescribed. “If you suffer from any side effects, talk with your doctor about changing the dosage or drug.”
Reduce your salt intake. “You do not have to go sodium-free, but be more aware of how much sodium is in the foods you eat,” he says. In general, try to keep your sodium intake below 2,000 milligrams a day. Foods that include the words “smoked,” “processed,” “instant,” or “cured” in the name or on the label are often quite high in sodium.
Continue to exercise or adopt some kind of workout routine. “Activity and weight loss can help lower and maintain a healthy blood pressure,” says Dr. Huang.
What Are The Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
Most people with high blood pressure have no symptoms, and feel quite well. This is why its important to see your doctor and have your blood pressure checked regularly, especially if you have one or more of the risk factors listed above.
Check your symptoms with healthdirects online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
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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.
Measuring Your Blood Pressure At Home
You can also diagnose yourself with hypertension by measuring your blood pressure at home. If readings are high over two visits at the doctors office, and if your blood pressure is higher than 135/85 mmHg when properly measured at home, then the diagnosis of hypertension can be made. This requires you to measure your blood pressure twice a day, in the morning and evening, for one week. Pay no attention to the measurements from the first day. Measuring blood pressure at home requires accurate equipment and proper measuring techniques. Measure the blood pressure of others in your house their blood pressure may also be high.
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