How Can You Reduce Your Risk Of High Blood Pressure
Fortunately, there are certain things you can do to help reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure. These include the following:
- Eat right: A healthy diet is an important step in keeping your blood pressure normal. 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.
- Keep a healthy weight: Going hand-in-hand with a proper diet is keeping a healthy weight. Since being overweight increases your blood pressure, losing excess weight with diet and exercise will help lower your blood pressure to healthier levels.
- Cut down on salt: The recommendation for salt in your diet is to have less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day . To prevent hypertension, you should keep your salt intake below this level. 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.
- Keep active: Even simple physical activities, such as walking, can lower your blood pressure .
- Drinkalcoholin moderation: Having more than one drink a day and two drinks a day can raise blood pressure.
Keep Yourself At A Healthy Weight
Having overweight or obesity increases your risk for high blood pressure. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate your body mass index . If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI at CDCs Assessing Your Weight website. Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to assess body fat.
Talk with your health care team about ways to reach a healthy weight, including choosing healthy foods and getting regular physical activity.
How Is High Blood Pressure Treated
Many people can lower their blood pressure by making changes to their lifestyle. If you are overweight, losing some weight can make a big difference. Doing some more exercise, eating healthier food, and reducing alcohol can also cause a big improvement in blood pressure levels.
You may be advised to take medication, especially if you have some additional risk factors.
To help you make a decision about medication, your doctor will assess your personal risk of developing stroke or heart disease in future. They look at whether your high blood pressure has caused problems in the body already. You may have a blood test, a urine test, and an electrocardiogram to check for heart problems.
If your blood pressure is consistently above 140/90 mmHg and your risk of stroke is high, you’ll be offered medication to lower your blood pressure and advice about making lifestyle changes.
If your blood pressure is consistently above 160/100mmHg, you’ll be offered medication to lower your blood pressure, even if your risk of a stroke is low, as well as advice on making lifestyle changes.
If you’ve had a stroke or heart attack, the aim will often be to reduce your blood pressure to below 130/80mmHg.
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Interaction Terms And Subgroup Analyses
We evaluated the interaction of hypertension with sex, age80 years, BMI, existence of DM, hyperlipidemia, and eGFR< 60mL/minute/1.73m2. For all-cause mortality, the only significant interaction term was of hypertension with sex . For CVD and expanded-CVD mortalities, the interaction terms of hypertension with sex , age80 years , normal weight , overweight , and obese were significant, whereas the interaction terms of hypertension with comorbidities of diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, and eGFR< 60mL/minute/1.73m2 were not significant.
Stratified by sex, age, BMI, regular exercise, presence of anemia, diabetes mellitus or hyperlipidemia, and eGFR, the hypertension mortality risks were further analyzed .3). The associations of prehypertension and stage 1 hypertension with all-cause, CVD, and expanded-CVD mortalities were not significant among most subgroups. The associations of stage 23 hypertension with these mortalities were significant among the subgroups of women, BMI 18.5 to 24.9, without anemia, without diabetes mellitus, without hyperlipidemia, and eGFR 60mL/minute/1.73m2.
Mortality rate subgroup analysis: The Cox model was adjusted for sex, age, education level, marital status, body mass index, smoking, alcohol consumption, regular exercise, cognitive status, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, hemoglobin, alanine aminotransferase, albumin, and estimated glomerular filtration rate . The effect measurement is presented on a log scale. CI=confidence interval.
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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High Blood Pressure And Older Adults
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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major health problem that is common in older adults. Your bodys network of blood vessels, known as the vascular system, changes with age. Arteries get stiffer, causing blood pressure to go up. This can be true even for people who have heart-healthy habits and feel just fine. High blood pressure, sometimes called “the silent killer,” often does not cause signs of illness that you can see or feel. Though it affects nearly half of all adults, many may not even be aware they have it.
If high blood pressure isn’t controlled with lifestyle changes and medication, it can lead to serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease such as heart disease and stroke, vascular dementia, eye problems, and kidney disease. The good news is that blood pressure can be controlled in most people.
What Else Can Cause Blood In Urine
Blood in your urine is also known as hematuria. Very rarely, it is caused by high blood pressure also known as hypertension. In all likelihood, if youre seeing blood in your urine, its a sign of a complication with your kidneys or urinary tract.
If your high blood pressure is severe, though, or if its left untreated for a number of years, then it can cause kidney damage. In fact, after diabetes, HBP is the second leading cause of kidney failure in the U.S.
If blood in your urine is due to your high blood pressure, its probably because your HBP has already begun to damage your kidneys.
Blood can turn your urine either red, pink, or brown. You might not even notice that you have blood in your urine until your doctor has done a urine test.
There are many complications and situations that can cause blood to enter your urine. Not all of them are cause for alarm, but you should always talk to your doctor if you notice blood in your urine. Seek immediate medical attention if theres a large amount of blood or if you see blood clots in your urine.
Causes for blood in your urine that are relatively easy to treat include:
- kidney or bladder cancer
Youll need medical attention to treat these conditions. For example, the treatment for cancer could entail surgeries and chemotherapy. Your kidney disease might need to be treated with dialysis, which is a process that helps filter your blood so your kidneys have time to heal.
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The Damage Can Build Over Time
The excess strain and resulting damage from high blood pressure causes the coronary arteries serving the heart to slowly become narrowed from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances that together are called plaque. This slow process is known as atherosclerosis.
As arteries harden with plaque, blood clots become more likely to form. When an artery becomes blocked due to an accumulation of plaque or a blood clot, the flow of blood through the heart muscle is interrupted, starving the muscle of oxygen and nutrients. The damage or death of part of the heart muscle that occurs as a result is called a heart attack .
How Can I Control My Blood Pressure
You can often lower your blood pressure by changing your day-to-day habits and by taking medication if needed. Treatment, especially if you have other medical conditions such as diabetes, requires ongoing evaluation and discussions with your doctor.
Lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent and lower high blood pressure:
In addition to recommending lifestyle changes, your doctor will likely prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure to a safe level. Isolated systolic hypertension, the most common form of high blood pressure in older adults, is treated in the same way as regular high blood pressure but may require more than one type of blood pressure medication. You may try several kinds or combinations of medications before finding a plan that works best for you. Medication can control your blood pressure, but it can’t cure it. If your doctor starts you on medication for high blood pressure, you may need to take it long-term.
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Blood Pressure And Ageing
With advancing years, the arteries tend to become more rigid . This may change a persons blood pressure pattern, with a higher systolic pressure and a lower diastolic pressure. The higher systolic pressure is important because it can further accelerate the rigidity of the arteries. This state is referred to as isolated systolic hypertension. Although these changes are due to ageing, this is not a normal state and may need medication to control the systolic pressures.
Excessive Salt Raises Blood Pressure
Too much sodium can cause water retention that puts increased pressure on your heart and blood vessels. People with high blood pressure and those at a high risk for developing hypertension, including adults over 50 and black men and women, should have no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium daily of salt.
Even people with normal levels should eat salt in moderation. Stick to no more than 2,300 mg of sodium , per day.
Most dietary sodium comes from processed foods. Rules of thumb are to choose foods with 5% or less of the daily value of sodium per serving and opt for fresh poultry, fish and lean meats, rather than canned, smoked or processed. Similarly, fresh or frozen vegetables are better than canned.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that if people cut just 1/2 teaspoon of salt per day, it could help lower the number of new cases of heart disease per year by up to 120,000.
Further, potassium found in foods like sweet potatoes, spinach, bananas, oranges, low-fat milk and halibut can counterbalance the pressure-increasing effects of sodium by helping to rid the body of excess sodium.
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What Can I Do To Prevent Or Manage High Blood Pressure
Many people with high blood pressure can lower their blood pressure into a healthy range or keep their numbers in a healthy range by making lifestyle changes. Talk with your health care team about
- Getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week
- Not smoking
- Managing stress
In addition to making positive lifestyle changes, some people with high blood pressure need to take medicine to manage their blood pressure. Learn more about medicines for high blood pressure.
Talk with your health care team right away if you think you have high blood pressure or if youve been told you have high blood pressure but do not have it under control.
Causes Of Secondary Hypertension
When high blood pressure arises suddenly due to an identifiable condition, its called secondary hypertension.
Some conditions and drugs can lead to secondary hypertension, including the following:
- Kidney problems
HormonesBirth control pills can also affect blood pressure. Women who take birth control pills usually experience a small rise in systolic and diastolic blood pressure .
Hormone therapy used to relieve symptoms of menopause can also cause a small rise in systolic blood pressure.
If you know you have high blood pressure, but are considering hormone therapy, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of undergoing hormone therapy, as well as the best ways to control your blood pressure.
Additionally, some recreational and illegal drugs, such as cocaine, ecstasy , and amphetamines, are also known to increase blood pressure.
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What’s Considered High Blood Pressure
“People with elevated blood pressure have a high probability of developing hypertension,” says Dr. Wong. “A healthy lifestyle can help lower the blood pressure, preventing the development and complications of hypertension.
Stage 1 hypertension is also treated with a healthy lifestyle initially. Medications may be needed if the blood pressure falls in this range on multiple readings for those with other cardiovascular risk factors.
Stage 2 hypertension is generally treated with medications. A healthy lifestyle is just as important for preventing the complications of hypertension.6254a4d1642c605c54bf1cab17d50f1e
A hypertensive crisis occurs when the blood pressure rises quickly with systolic blood pressures > 180 mmHg or diastolic blood pressures > 120 mmHg. Immediate organ damage can occur and emergency treatment should be sought if there are symptoms of stroke, headache, visual changes, dizziness, chest pain, or shortness of breath.”
Stroke And Brain Problems
High blood pressure can cause the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain to burst or be blocked, causing a stroke. Brain cells die during a stroke because they do not get enough oxygen. Stroke can cause serious disabilities in speech, movement, and other basic activities. A stroke can also kill you.
Having high blood pressure, especially in midlife, is linked to having poorer cognitive function and dementia later in life. Learn more about the link between high blood pressure and dementia from the National Institutes of Healths Mind Your Risks®external icon campaign.
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How Can I Be More Active
- Check first with your healthcare provider before increasing your physical activity. Ask your provider what type and amount of exercise is right for you.
- Choose aerobic activities such as walking, biking or swimming.
- Start slowly and increase activity gradually. Aim for a regular routine of activity five times a week for 30 to 45 minutes each session.
Secondary Hypertension Treatment Options
If your doctor discovers an underlying issue causing your hypertension, treatment will focus on that other condition. For example, if a medication youve started taking is causing increased blood pressure, your doctor will try other medications that dont have this side effect.
Sometimes, hypertension is persistent despite treatment for the underlying cause. In this case, your doctor may work with you to develop lifestyle changes and prescribe medications to help reduce your blood pressure.
Treatment plans for hypertension often evolve. What worked at first may become less useful over time. Your doctor will continue to work with you to refine your treatment.
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Lowering Systolic Blood Pressure More May Cut Health Risks
One major study found that lowering systolic blood pressure to well below the commonly recommended level also greatly lowered the number of cardiovascular events and deaths among people at least 50 years old with high blood pressure.
When study participants achieved a systolic blood pressure target of 120 mmHg compared to the higher target of 140 mmHg recommended for most people, and 150 for people over 60 issues such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure were reduced by almost one-third, and the risk of death by almost one-fourth.
“That’s important information, because more lives may be saved and more deaths may be prevented if we maintain lower blood pressure in certain patients,” says Lynne Braun, NP, PhD, a nurse practitioner at the Rush Heart Center for Women.
Braun cautions, however, that your personal blood pressure target depends on a variety of things, including your current blood pressure, lifestyle, risk factors, other medications you are taking and your age. “Every person has to be evaluated as an individual,” she says. “Realistically, we can’t get everybody down to 120, and trying to do so may create unintended problems.”
It can be dangerous, for instance, to keep an older person on medications that have unsafe side effects, such as diuretics , which can cause dehydration and dizziness in older adults.
And there can be other issues involved with taking multiple medications, such as cost and compliance.
What Should I Do If I Have High Blood Pressure
If your healthcare provider has diagnosed you with high blood pressure, they will talk with you about your recommended blood pressure target or goal. They may suggest that you:
- Check your blood pressure regularly with a home blood pressure monitor. These are automated electronic monitors and are available at most pharmacies or online.
- Quit smoking and/or using tobacco products.
- Work on controlling anger and managing stress.
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Causes And Risk Factors Of High Blood Pressure
The following can increase your chances of developing high blood pressure.
Older age The risk of high blood pressure increases as you age.
According to the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey , 70 percent of adults age 65 or older have hypertension.
The risk of prehypertension and high blood pressure has been increasing in recent years in young people, too, including children and teens, possibly because of the rise of obesity in these populations.
Race High blood pressure is more common in Black American adults than in white or Hispanic American adults.
Family history Having a family history of high blood pressure increases your risk, as the condition tends to run in families.
Being overweight The more you weigh, the more blood you need to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. As the volume of blood circulating through your blood vessels increases, so does the pressure on your artery walls. Obesity especially abdominal obesity also increases stiffness in arteries, which raises blood pressure.
Lack of physical activity People who are inactive tend to have a higher heart rate and higher blood pressure than those who are physically active. Not exercising also increases the risk of being overweight.
Dietary choices What you choose to eat can increase your risk for hypertension, including in the following ways:
Alcohol consumption Drinking more than two drinks a day for men and more than one drink a day for women may raise your blood pressure.