Risks Of High Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes.
Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, such as:
- have a relative with high blood pressure
- are of black African or black Caribbean descent
- live in a deprived area
Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high.
How Can You Manage Your High Blood Pressure
Treatment of high blood pressure often starts with lifestyle changes, including decreasing salt in your diet, losing weight if necessary, stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol use, and regular exercise.
In addition to lifestyle changes, medications are often used to lower blood pressure. There are several types of medications that treat high blood pressure with each type of medication having benefits and risks that should be carefully weighed by you and your health care provider. Most people take more than one medication in order to bring their blood pressure down to their treatment goal.
Your blood pressure medication should begin to work within days. However, because high blood pressure is a long-lasting medical condition that often has little or no symptoms, remembering to take your medications can be a challenge. Combination medicines, long-acting or once-a-day medications, may be used to decrease the burden of taking numerous medications and help ensure medications regularly. Once started, the medication should be used until your doctor tells you to stop.
Controlling your blood pressure should be part of a healthy living plan and lifelong task. The damage that high blood pressure causes your internal organs does not cause any symptoms until serious damage has been done.
This Is High Blood Pressure
When your heart beats, it pumps blood around your body to give it the energy and oxygen it needs. As the blood moves, it pushes against the sides of the blood vessels. The strength of this pushing is your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels. This is called high blood pressure, or hypertension. Over time it can lead to a number of health problems including heart attacks, stroke, kidney disease and some forms of dementia. The good news is there are lots of things you can do to .
High blood pressure is very common, about a third of adults in the UK have it, but many arent aware of it. It doesnt usually have any symptoms so the only way to know you have it is to have a .
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Add Healthy Foods To Your Diet
Slowly work your way up to eating more servings of heart-healthy plants. Aim to eat more than seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Then aim to add one more serving per day for two weeks. After those two weeks, aim to add one more serving. The goal is to have ten servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
What To Do If You Experience A Sudden Drop In Blood Pressure
A single low blood pressure reading is no cause to be concerned unless you experience other symptoms.
A sudden drop in blood pressure as little as a drop from 120 to 100 in your systolic number can be dangerous if it triggers dizziness and fainting. Such symptoms can be a sign of an underlying problem that may need medical attention.
You should keep a record of your activities and when symptoms happen to discuss them with your doctor. If you experience any low blood pressure symptoms related to shock, you should seek immediate medical attention.
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What You Need To Know
- Twenty percent of patients with hypertension are resistant.
- Resistant hypertension may have no symptoms at all for months or years, but then can cause heart attack, stroke, and vision and kidney damage.
- Some people have pseudoresistant hypertension, which is caused by other factors, such as conflicting medications or white coat hypertension .
- Pseudoresistant hypertension is important to diagnose and treat.
- Assessment and treatment of resistant hypertension includes addressing any identifiable conditions or causes and adjusting medications in a personalized way.
What To Do When You Miss One Dose
If you miss just one dose, what you do about it depends on when you remember it. Normally, if you remember it within 10 hours, you can take the pill and then continue the next pill at your regular schedule. However, if you remember it too late in the day, wait until its time for your next dose and then take one pill. Do NOT take two pills to compensate for the missed one, as it can lower your blood pressure too much.
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How Long You Should Wait Between Blood Pressure Readings
The American College of Cardiology and the new blood pressure guidelines recommend taking at least 2 to 3 readings, 1 minute apart . If you measure your blood pressure 2 times a day, this will equal taking your pressure 4-6 times a day in total. This wouldnt be considered taking your blood pressure too often.
During the 1 minute break between readings, do not do anything that can alter your blood pressure. The things you should avoid before taking your blood pressure, should also be avoided between the 2 or 3 measurements. These activities may include the following:
Can High Blood Pressure Be Prevented Or Avoided
If your high blood pressure is caused by lifestyle factors, you can take steps to reduce your risk:
- Lose weight.
- Reduce your alcohol consumption.
- Learn relaxation methods.
If your high blood pressure is caused by disease or the medicine you take, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to prescribe a different medicine. Additionally, treating any underlying disease can help reduce your high blood pressure.
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How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed
High blood pressure is diagnosed with a blood pressure monitor. This is a common test for all doctor visits. A nurse will place a band around your arm. The band is attached to a small pump and a meter. He or she will squeeze the pump. It will feel tight around your arm. Then he or she will stop and watch the meter. This provides the nurse with 2 numbers that make up your blood pressure. The top number is your systolic reading . The bottom number is your diastolic reading . You may also hear the doctor or nurse say a blood pressure is 120 over 80.
- Normal blood pressure is less than 120 on top and less than 80 on the bottom.
- Prehypertension levels are 120-139 on top and 80-89 on the bottom.
- High blood pressure, stage 1 is 140-159 on top and 90-99 on the bottom.
- High blood pressure, stage 2 is 160 or higher on top and 100 and over on the bottom.
The higher your blood pressure is, the more often you need to have it checked. After age 18, have your blood pressure checked at least once every two years. Do it more often if you have had high blood pressure in the past.
British Columbia Specific Information
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can damage your blood vessels, heart and kidneys. This damage can cause a heart attack, stroke or other health problems. Your blood pressure reading is based on two measurements called systolic and diastolic. The systolic and diastolic are written as a ratio, for example . A reading of more than 140/90 mmHg taken at your healthcare providers office may indicate high blood pressure. This figure is different for people with diabetes whose blood pressure should be below 130/80 mmHg. People suffering from other illnesses will have different target normal values. For more information on hypertension, visit the Heart & Stroke Foundation and Hypertension Canada.
Healthy lifestyle choices can help lower your blood pressure and improve your health. For information on healthy eating for lowering your blood pressure, see:
How Can I Tell If My Cpap Is Too High
Some people require higher pressures and will use a high-pressure CPAP mask. Others will find that they are more comfortable and that their treatment is more effective at lower levels of pressure. How to tell if CPAP pressure is too high? In most cases, it will be uncomfortable to use a CPAP machine where the pressure is too high.
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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Legs Hips And Stomach
Narrow and blocked arteries in the lower part of your body — especially your legs — can cause pain and cramping. Because it’s affecting blood vessels that aren’t near your heart, your doctor may call this peripheral artery disease . It can make muscles in your legs and hips sore and tired when you walk or climb stairs.
Should I Be Eating Certain Foods To Control My Blood Pressure
The DASH eating plan is the most often-used dietary method of reducing high blood pressure. Using DASH, your overall diet should be rich in nutrients including potassium, calcium, magnesium and fibre, while being low in sodium, saturated fat and total fat.
This eating plan suggests that you:
- enjoy at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables every day
- choose at least 2 servings of lower-fat dairy products each day
- choose whole grain breads, cereals and baked goods
- limit the salt and condiments that you add to your food, both at the table and while cooking
- limit eating greasy snack foods, regular soft drinks, candy and other high-sugar, high-fat and salty snack foods
- eat fats such as canola and olive oil, peanut butter and nuts, but keep the quantities small.
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What Constitutes High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, happens when the heart pumps blood against the artery walls at higher pressures than normal. It doesnt cause any symptoms, so the only way to know whether its high is to check it. But it isnt diagnosed from just one reading. You need at least two or more readings on two or more separate days before you can know whether you have high blood pressure. This is because your blood pressure changes from day to day and throughout each day, depending on what youre doing. It can increase temporarily from:
Stress or anxiety
Why Diastolic Pressure Is Important Too
The findings about low diastolic blood pressure are intriguing, and they make sense intuitively, Dr. Conlin says. Diastolic pressure is measured during the point in the heart cycle when blood flows into the coronary arteries that feed the heart. When those arteries are clogged with fatty deposits, blood pressure beyond the narrowed areas will drop as blood works its way through the narrowed channels. As a result, part of the heart muscle may not get enough blood. Starved for oxygen and nutrients, the heart may become weak and prone to damage.
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What Can Cause A Short
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 a spike in blood pressure, including 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.
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.
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Good Sleep Can Prevent And Manage High Blood Pressure
Most people experience a dip in blood pressure during the deepest stage of sleep , which is the body’s normal and healthy reaction to sleep. Not having that nighttime dip is a risk factor for heart disease and may increase daytime blood pressure.
Typically people spend 90 minutes to two hours in slow wave sleep per night. A recent study published in Hypertension found that men who got less slow wave sleep each night were a higher risk for hypertension than men who got more deep sleep.
While sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, and age can both affect the amount of deep sleep you get, there are steps you can take to ensure a good night’s sleep. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and being more active during the day can help improve the quality of your sleep.
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 1500 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 do not add salt at the table.
- Avoid or cut down on 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 it is 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 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:
High Blood Pressure Treatment
The best way to lower blood pressure begins with changes you can make to your lifestyle to help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. Additionally, your doctor may prescribe medicine to lower your blood pressure. These are called antihypertensive medicines.
The goal of treatment is to reduce your blood pressure to normal levels. Your doctor may prescribe medicine thats easy to take and has few, if any, side effects. This treatment is highly successful. If your blood pressure can only be controlled with medicine, youll need to take the medicine for the rest of your life. It is common to need more than one medicine to help control your blood pressure. Dont stop taking the medicine without talking with your doctor. Otherwise, you may increase your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
Can High Blood Pressure Affect Pregnancy
High blood pressure complicates about 10% of all pregnancies. There are several different types of high blood pressure during pregnancy and range from mild to serious. The forms of high blood pressure during pregnancy include:
Chronic hypertension: High blood pressure which is present prior to pregnancy.
Chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia: Preeclampsia, which develops in someone who has chronic hypertension .
Gestational hypertension: High blood pressure in the latter part of pregnancy, but no other signs or symptoms of preeclampsia are present. Some women will later develop preeclampsia, while others probably have high blood pressure before the pregnancy.
Preeclampsia: This is found in the latter half of pregnancy and results in hypertension, protein in the urine and generalized swelling in the mother. It can affect other organs in the body and cause seizures .
Your blood pressure will be checked regularly during prenatal appointments, but if you have concerns about your blood pressure, be sure to talk with your provider.