Factors That Can Exaggerate Blood Pressure Readings
When you go to the doctors office, measuring blood pressure is one ofthe ways doctors can check up on your heart health. The only way to diagnosehigh blood pressure, or hypertension, is by a blood pressure test.
A healthy blood pressure reading is anywhere between 90/60 and 120/80.Anything 140/90 or above is considered a highblood pressure reading, which couldbe a diagnosis of hypertension, one of the leading causes of heart disease thatcan lead to heart attacks, kidney failure, stroke, and even dementia. If yourblood pressure measures below 90/60, that could be an indicator of hypotension,or low blood pressure, which can result in dizziness, fainting, and long-termdamage to the heart and brain.;
Because of the associated risks, a higher or lower than normal blood pressurereading in a healthy adult can be alarming. But did you know there are a numberof factors that can cause a temporary spike or drop in your blood pressure,leading to a false reading? Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to preparefor your test to ensure an accurate reading.
What Drugs Cause These Changes
While not all drugs of abuse may cause blood pressure levels to rise, several of the most commonly abused drugs present these risks. Changes in blood pressure, especially spikes, are so commonly attributed to substance abuse, that labile blood pressure is considered a red flag for substance abuse. Labile blood pressure occurs when a persons blood pressure rapidly, and suddenly, changing from normal to elevated levels.
The following drugs of abuse have been linked to concerns of high blood pressure:
Alcohol: Hypertension is associated with chronic alcohol abusers and binge drinking. Some theories also attribute HBP to chronic states of withdrawal in those displaying alcohol addictions.
Amphetamines: Hypertension is exceedingly common with these drug users, with stroke being one of the most predominant concerns.
Cannabinoids: Including, marijuana and hashish, within twenty minutes after smoking, hypertension occurs, which may be of particular danger for those who already experiencing cardiovascular concerns, as explained by the California Society of Addiction Medicine.
Cocaine: Hypertension is common with cocaine users, but may be reduced if other side effects attributable to cocaine are decreased, according to a University of Pennsylvania publication which states: Resolution of anxiety, agitation, andischemia will often lead to resolution of the hypertension.
What Causes Blood Pressure To Rise
Soback to our original question; what can make your blood pressure spike or consistently be too high?
Any number of things, actually. Lets take a look at a few:
Dr. Adrian Danchenko has more than 18 years experience as an invasive cardiologist. He recently relocated from Florida to Athens, Tennessee where he is providing cardiology care and follow-up.
Blood pressure is checked as part of an annual physical. Whens the last time you had a checkup? If its been a while, schedule one today! If you think it might be something more serious, book an appointment at The Erlanger Heart and Lung Institute.
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What Causes Labile Hypertension
When labile hypertension is suspected, a 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitor may be used to confirm the diagnosis. Then the work of pinpointing the underlying cause begins. Serious detective work often is required. We look at the patients overall health, lifestyle and medications, says Dr. Lioudis.
When a medication or lifestyle choice is the precipitating factor, making appropriate changes can cause labile hypertension to disappear.
Underlying medical conditions are a bigger concern, since they may be harder to treat.
We look for sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease or a problem with the adrenal glands, as any of these can cause blood pressure to fluctuate,says Dr. Lioudis.
What Is The Connection Between Sleep Apnea And High Blood Pressure
Sleep apnea, or obstructive sleep disorder, causes a reduction of airflow while you sleep; the most tell tale sign is snoring, as well as gasping for air, waking up frequently, and chronic daytimefatigue.
A national multi sleep study of over 6,000 men and women, conducted through the John Hopkins School of Public Health found a correlation between high blood pressure and sleep apnea. While more severe sleep apnea, with over 30 lapses in breathing, presents the highest risk, this sweeping study found that even modest sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure.
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You Do Things That Give You Incorrect Numbers
Blood pressure readings can vary widely, which is why it’s recommended that you take two or more measurements on two or more occasions and average them to get the most accurate numbers, suggests Lawrence Fine, MD, DrPH, at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the NIH. To get the most useful measurement, be sure you don’t make these mistakes that can easily cause an artificially high blood pressure reading:
- You’re nervous about going to see a doctor. These natural jitters about doctor appointments can actually raise your BP. And it’s one reason taking a blood pressure reading in the comfort of your stress-free home may give you a more accurate result.
- You are slouching or sitting in a sofa. Bad posture during a test can skew results.
- You cross your legs, which can squeeze the large veins in your legs and raise blood pressure.
- You’re making conversation with the nurse who is checking your blood pressure. Talking can actually boost your pressure.
- You had a double shot of espresso this morning. Caffeine jolts up blood pressure, too!
If you’re looking for meal inspiration to help keep you on the right track, !
Difference In Blood Pressure Between Arms
Question: At a recent check of my blood pressure, my left arm was 135/88 and my right arm was 149/94. This has been going on for about a year. Should I have it checked out, and with what type of doctor?
Answer: Persistent differences in blood pressure between the arms can indicate disease of the arteries in the chest. An examination by a vascular specialist can help define the cause, and determine if it is an indication of a disease process and whether it needs treatment. The causes of a difference in blood pressure between arms include hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis, inflammatory diseases of the arteries, and certain structural abnormalities.
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Causes Of Sudden High Blood Pressure
Spikes of high blood pressure are always a concern. A client of mine asked me about them because he was getting some himself. While he knew the cause of his, he wanted to know all of them. Therefore, what are causes of sudden high blood pressure?
Causes of sudden high blood pressure include the following:
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Pregnancy Related High Blood Pressure
- Illegal drugs
This article will explain in detail each one of the causes. Knowing what causes sudden high blood pressure is a must know for anyone, especially for those struggling with blood pressure already;.
You Have Another Health Conditionor You Take One Of These Meds
If you do have high blood pressure, your doctor will likely take into consideration the range of other diseases and disorders that, when poorly managed, cause your blood pressure to become elevated. These include thyroid problems, renovascular disease, Cushings syndrome, and a number of others. The key to all these conditions is the correct diagnosis, says Dr. Beniaminovitz. When the proper diagnosis is made, working with your doctor to reverse and or treat these conditions often cures high blood pressure.
BP fix: Document symptoms that seem unusual.
If your doc says your BP is high, bring up any strange symptoms that could indicate an underlying cause , and always provide them with a list of your current medications and supplements.
If your meds are the issue, ideally they would be discontinued or changed to ones that have no or less effect on blood pressure, says Dr. Beniaminovitz. If a change in medication is not possible, often your doctor will prescribe optimal lifestyle and blood pressure medication to combat the effects.
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How Sleep Apnea Affects Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a common health issue in which the amount of force that pumps blood through blood vessels is higher than normal. People with hypertension often dont have symptoms but learn they have high blood pressure during routine checks at a doctors office. If left untreated, high blood pressure puts a daily strain on the cardiovascular system which may lead to stroke, heart disease, and other conditions. Fortunately, managing hypertension with medication and lifestyle changes can reduce your risk for harmful health effects.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes numerous lapses in breathing during sleep. There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea . OSA is marked by episodes of airway collapse, which blocks airflow into the lungs and often causes snoring and gasping during sleep. In CSA, breathing lapses occur because of a lack of communication between the brain and the muscles involved in breathing.
Its important to understand the relationship between hypertension and sleep apnea because these two conditions affect one another, and treatment for sleep apnea can lower blood pressure in people who have both.
Blood Pressure Cuff Placement
Most blood pressure reading errors are the result of improper sizingof the blood pressure cuff or placing the cuff over clothing. Improperplacement of the cuff over clothing can cause your blood pressure measurementto increase 10 to 50 points. If the cuff is too small, it can add 2 to 10points your reading. Be sure to roll up your sleeve for a blood pressure testand also let your doctor know if the cuff feels too tight around your arm.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Hypertension
While the exact causes of HBP remain a mystery in most cases, risk factors are much easier to identify. Fortunately, most of them are within your power to controlwhich means your hearts destiny may lie largely in your own hands. They include:
If youre overweight or obese, your body requires your heart to pump more blood to supply it with oxygen and other essential nutrients. This extra work adds to the pressure on the walls of your blood vessels.
How Do Doctors Diagnose High Blood Pressure
Because symptoms are so uncommon, the only way to know you have HBP is to have your blood pressure tested at your doctors office. Your doctor will use a device called a sphygmomanometer, which features an inflatable cuff that wraps around your upper arm. The cuff is attached to a scale, and when it inflates, it measures your systolic BP. It measures your diastolic BP as the cuff slowly deflates. Your doctor will also likely press a stethoscope to listen for any abnormal sounds as your blood flows.
You officially have HBPyour doctor may call it hypertensionwhen your readings are above normal during at least two visits to the doctor. However, many doctors will ask you to measure your own blood pressure using either a home monitor or with a 24-hour monitoring device your doctor lends you. Doing this will help confirm that your blood pressure remains high during the normal course of your day.
Why is this important? Many people have whats called white-coat hypertension, which means that your blood pressure spikes in your doctors office but returns to normal elsewhere. For example, your reading may be high when you have a physical and normal when you use the device at your pharmacist or grocery store .
Lets look at the numbers. The American Heart Association provides the measurements that you should aim for, as well as the ranges that put you in the danger zone. All measurements are mm Hg.
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Foods That Can Spike Your Blood Pressure
With high blood pressure “on the rise” in American society more and more of us are following the health conscious trend to protect our bodies. But what many people don’t know is that there are specific foods that can spike your blood pressure alone.
With a third of our nation suffering from overly high blood pressure, hypertension, and another third suffering from prehypertension, the precursor, these foods should be strongly avoided if you’re concerned with keeping your heart pumping normally.
Don’t Be Too Concerned
High blood pressure spikes can be a concern in those with heart disease, but are generally harmless in those without. Still, you never want to deal with too much high blood pressure. Hypertension can put stress on your heart and possibly damage your blood vessels. That’s why even though there isn’t necessarily any danger to experiencing these blood pressure spikes, you should still make reducing your anxiety a priority.
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Dehydration And Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure is when your blood pressure reading is lower than 90/60 mm Hg. Dehydration can cause low blood pressure due to a decrease in blood volume.
Blood volume is the amount of fluid thats circulating in your blood vessels. Maintaining a normal blood volume is necessary for blood to be able to adequately reach all of the tissues of your body.
When youre very dehydrated, your blood volume can decrease, leading to a drop in blood pressure.
When blood pressure drops too low, your organs wont receive the oxygen and nutrients they need. You could potentially go into shock.
Should I Talk To My Doctor About Sleep Apnea
If you have high blood pressure and are concerned about whether you might also have sleep apnea, speak with a doctor. Diagnosis is the first step to accessing effective treatments for OSA that may improve your sleep and blood pressure. Consider whether any of the following symptoms apply to you:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty with attention and memory
- Headaches in the morning
- Dry mouth when waking up
- Irritability, anxiety, or depression
Sleep apnea is often not recognized by the affected individual. In many cases, a bed partner notices nighttime symptoms of OSA, which prompts a visit to the doctor. If you share a bedroom or home with someone else, ask if they have noticed you exhibiting any of these signs while you are sleeping:
- Loud snoring
- Choking or gasping during sleep
- Pauses in breathing during sleep
Experiencing one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have sleep apnea, but it is a good reason to bring up sleep with your doctor.
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Temporary Spikes Are Not Dangerous
Those with chronic anxiety may be more prone to high blood pressure spikes, but the body does do a good job of adjusting and blood pressure often gets back to its normal rate for most of the day. You can’t necessarily feel high blood pressure, and while any stress on the body can cause anxiety, it’s more likely that your anxiety causes the spikes than the other way around.
It’s never a bad idea to speak with a doctor about your blood pressure concerns either. Only a doctor can tell you if there is something you should worry about. Also, remember that the more you worry about your blood pressure, the more anxiety you’ll experience, and the more likely you’ll suffer from these blood pressure spikes.
The Truth About Sleep And Blood Pressure
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Youve gone in for your routine physical examination, and youre told what millions of Americans are: you have high blood pressure But, like many Americans, you may not be aware of the truth behind the powerful connection between blood pressure spikes and the quality of your sleep.
As a sleep doctor, I spend a lot of time explaining the health benefits of sleep, from everything like our mental health to even helping us look younger. In short, while quality, restorative sleep helps support our health, the opposite is also true: sleep disorders can affect our mind, bodies and even leave us more prone to depression.
This week Im tackling the most common questions about high blood pressure and sleep, including is lack of sleep can cause high blood pressure; why sleep apnea may play a role, and what might be behind a sudden spike of high blood pressure at night.
Ill finish by giving you tips to lower your blood pressure naturally, no prescription required, and how to more easily fall asleep and fall back asleep if you wake up in the middle of the night; using my Sleep Doctor PM formula. .
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How To Prevent Sudden High Blood Pressure Problem
In 2013, more than 360,000 deaths in the United States had high blood pressure as primary or contributing cause. Each year, the government spends an estimated $46 billion for workers missed days, health care services, and high blood pressure medications. Talk to your doctor about treatment for high blood pressure medications. In the meantime, there are precautions you can take right now.
1. Avoid Stress
Become involved in hobbies such as painting, exercise, and other physical activities to have a stress outlet and keep fit.
2. Limit Caffeine Intake
Talk with your doctor about your caffeine habits and stick to a plan to limit your daily intake.
3. Quit Smoking
As one of the biggest health risks, smoking can lead to serious heart and lung conditions and death.
4. Eat Healthy Foods
Avoid saturated fats and junk food to maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
5. Reduce Sodium in Diet
Added salt and salt found in food products can lead to high blood pressure as it increases the solute content in our blood.
6. Exercise Regularly
A healthy heart, and body, requires regular exercise daily for 20 to 30 minutes.
7. Monitor Vitals
It is important to keep an eye on your blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels, especially if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.