What Is High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is blood pressure that is higher than normal. Your blood pressure changes throughout the day based on your activities. Having blood pressure measures consistently above normal may result in a diagnosis of high blood pressure .
Your health care team can diagnose high blood pressure and make treatment decisions by reviewing your systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels and comparing them to levels found in certain guidelines.
The guidelines used to diagnose high blood pressure may differ from health care professional to health care professional:
- Some health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 140/90 mm Hg or higher.2 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2003, as seen in the table below.
- Other health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 130/80 mm Hg or higher.1 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2017, as seen in the table below.
|systolic: 130 mm Hg or higherdiastolic: 80 mm Hg or higher
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, talk with your health care team about your blood pressure levels and how these levels affect your treatment plan.
How To Bring High Blood Pressure Down Immediately In Case Of Emergency
The first step you should do is to measure the pressure. Remember that, for the person who has the symptoms of high or low blood pressure should be totally still and sitting, without speaking. If the systolic pressure exceeds 180 or the diastolic pressure is less than 120, you should be concerned. In case of not having a blood pressure monitor, you should wait for a specialist. In the meantime, you can help the person or yourself by doing the following.
Relax and breathe deeply: To help anyone with high blood pressure, help them to take a proper posture and maintain a good temperature. Also, make them breathe slowly and deeply. The nitric oxide we breathe in opens up blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. Another positive effect of this oxide is that in this way you reduce the hormones that cause stress.
Transfer to a hospital: Even if you manage to control blood pressure, you must go to a hospital as soon as possible. After an increase in pressure, other problems are likely to occur. In any case, it is always better to prevent them.
What Is Considered Stroke
Stroke, the blocking, leaking, or bursting of blood vessels that supply blood to the brain, is associated with raised blood pressure levels. While there is not a specific reading of blood pressure number associated with stroke, based on what the American Heart Association has designated as dangerous blood pressure levels, you can say that you are more at risk for stroke if your blood pressure reads at 130/80. For comparison, blood pressure readings of 120/80 are considered healthy.
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Nix Your Nicotine Addiction
Each cigarette you smoke temporarily raises blood pressure for several minutes after you finish. If youre a heavy smoker, your blood pressure can stay elevated for extended periods of time.
Even secondhand smoke can put you at increased risk for high blood pressure and heart disease.
Drinking a glass of red wine with your dinner is perfectly fine. It might even offer heart-health benefits when done in moderation.
But drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to lots of health issues, including high blood pressure.
Excessive drinking can also reduce the effectiveness of certain blood pressure medications.
What does drinking in moderation mean? The AHA recommends that men limit their consumption to two alcoholic drinks per day. Women should limit their intake to one alcoholic drink per day.
One drink equals:
Try Meditation Or Deep Breathing
While these two behaviors could also fall under stress reduction techniques, meditation and deep breathing deserve specific mention.
Both meditation and deep breathing may activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This system is engaged when the body relaxes, slowing the heart rate, and lowering blood pressure.
Theres quite a bit of research in this area, with studies showing that different styles of meditation appear to have benefits for lowering blood pressure .
Deep breathing techniques can also be quite effective.
In one study, participants were asked to either take six deep breaths over the course of 30 seconds or simply sit still for 30 seconds. Those who took breaths lowered their blood pressure more than those who just sat .
Try guided meditation or deep breathing. Heres a video to get you started.
Bottom line: Both meditation and deep breathing can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps slow your heart rate and lower blood pressure.
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Consider Cutting Back On Caffeine
Caffeine raises your blood pressure, but the effect is temporary.
In a 2017 study, the systolic blood pressure of 18 participants was elevated for 2 hours after they drank 32 ounces of either a caffeinated drink or an energy drink. Blood pressure then dropped more quickly for the participants who drank a caffeinated drink .
Some people may be more sensitive to caffeine than others. If youre caffeine-sensitive, you may want to cut back on your coffee consumption, or try .
Research on caffeine, including its health benefits, is in the news a lot. The choice of whether to cut back depends on many individual factors.
One older study indicated that caffeines effect on raising blood pressure is greater if your blood pressure is already high. This same study, however, called for more research on the subject .
If your blood pressure is very high or doesnt decrease after making these lifestyle changes, your doctor may recommend prescription drugs.
They work and will improve your long-term outcome, especially if you have other risk factors (
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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Other Inconclusively Related Symptoms
A variety of symptoms may be indirectly related to, but are not always caused by, high blood pressure, such as:
- Blood spots in the eyes: Blood spots in the eyes are more common in people with diabetes or high blood pressure, but neither condition causes the blood spots. Floaters in the eyes are also not related to high blood pressure. However, an eye doctor may be able to detect damage to the optic nerve caused by untreated high blood pressure.
- Facial flushing: Facial flushing occurs when blood vessels in the face dilate. It can occur unpredictably or in response to certain triggers such as sun exposure, cold weather, spicy foods, wind, hot drinks and skin-care products. Facial flushing can also occur with emotional stress, exposure to heat or hot water, alcohol consumption and exercise all of which can raise blood pressure temporarily. While facial flushing may occur while your blood pressure is higher than usual, high blood pressure is not the cause of facial flushing.
- Dizziness: While dizziness can be a side effect of some blood pressure medications, it is not caused by high blood pressure. However, dizziness should not be ignored, especially if the onset is sudden. Sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination and trouble walking are all warning signs of a stroke. High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for stroke.
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.
Symptoms Of Sudden High Blood Pressure
Unlike traditional high blood pressure, where there are no visual symptoms until major damage has occurred, sudden high blood pressure alerts you immediately.
- Weakness or numbness in arms, legs, face
- Mentality changes such as anxiety, fatigue, confusion, restlessness
In extreme cases of sudden high blood pressure, there may be bleeding from damaged blood vessels, blindness from ruptured retina nerves or vessels, and possibly seizures.
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Who Gets High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is more likely in people with a family history of high blood pressure, heart disease, or diabetes.
It’s also more common in people who are:
- African American
- Heavy alcohol drinkers
If you eat foods high in salt, or use medications like NSAIDs , , and illicit drugs such as cocaine, you also have a higher chance of getting high blood pressure.
Avoid Heavy Alcohol Drinking
Drinking too much alcohol has been associated with high blood pressure. Heavy drinking also contributes to stroke. The CDC recommends that men drink two or fewer drinks per day. Women are recommended to drink one or fewer alcoholic beverages per day.
Alcoholism is a disease that is difficult to treat on your own. If you find it difficult to control your drinking, many people have successfully limited or quit drinking through counseling and drug treatment. You can reach the national substance abuse hotline anytime at: 1-800-662-HELP .
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How Often Should I Have My Blood Pressure Checked
Its recommended that Australian adults have their blood pressure checked by their doctor at least every 2 years. Some people may be advised to have more frequent checks for example, people who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.
People with diabetes should have their blood pressure checked at least every 6 months if its normal and every 3 months if they have high blood pressure.
All Australians aged 45 and over and 30 and over for those of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent are eligible for a regular, 20-minute heart health check with their GP or nurse. This checks your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Your health professional will be able to assess your risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 5 years.
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.
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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.
Whos Currently At High Risk For Serious Illness
According to the CDC, the
You may have read about concerns for two of these drugs, ACE inhibitors and ARBs, and COVID-19 risk. These concerns stem from the fact that these drugs may increase the amount of ACE2 in your body. ACE2 is the receptor that the new coronavirus binds to.
Because of this, several studies have focused on these drug types and COVID-19 risk. So far it appears as if theres little evidence to support the concerns related to ACE inhibitors, ARBs, and COVID-19.
Lets look at the findings so far:
- A study of more than 18,000 people with confirmed COVID-19 that was published in JAMA Cardiology found that there was no association between taking ACE inhibitors or ARBs and having a positive COVID-19 test.
- Two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that ACE inhibitors and ARBs werent associated with the risk of getting COVID-19 or having severe COVID-19 illness.
- A study of individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 that was recently published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases found that ACE inhibitors and ARBs may actually improve outcomes when continued during hospitalization.
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You Can Fight High Blood Pressure
While heart disease is still the No. 1 killer in the United States and around the world, death rates have decreased significantly. Earlier and better treatment of high blood pressure has played a key role in that decrease.
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.
Put Down The Saltshaker
Keeping your sodium intake to a minimum can be vital for lowering blood pressure.
In some people, when you eat too much sodium, your body starts to retain fluid. This results in a sharp rise in blood pressure.
The AHA recommends limiting your sodium intake to between 1,500 milligrams and 2,300 mg per day. Thats a little over half a teaspoon of table salt.
To decrease sodium in your diet, dont add salt to your food. One teaspoon of table salt has 2,300 mg of sodium!
Use herbs and spices to add flavor instead. Processed foods also tend to be loaded with sodium. Always read food labels and choose low-sodium alternatives when possible.
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What Are The Risks Of Resistant Hypertension
Over time, uncontrolled hypertension damages the arteries, contributing to their stiffening. As the arteries become narrower and less flexible, the heart has to work harder to move blood through the body. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure and other heart conditions cause damage to your kidneys, memory and vision and contribute to erectile dysfunction.
What Risks Are Increased By High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and chronic kidney disease. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure also puts you at higher risk of complications such as nerve and eye damage.
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How To Manage Your High Blood Pressure During The Covid
The COVID-19 pandemic is stressful for many people. However, those with high blood pressure may feel an increased burden on both their physical and mental health due to the potential risk of more serious illness.
You may be wondering what you can do to help manage your blood pressure as well as your mental and physical health during this time. Try out some of the tips below:
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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What Natural Remedies Therapies And Supplements Lower Blood Pressure
Alternative therapies may be helpful to people trying to control their blood pressure.
- Acupuncture and biofeedback are well-accepted alternative techniques that may help some people with high blood pressure.
- Techniques that induce relaxation and reduce stress are recommended. These include meditation, yoga, and relaxation training.
- These techniques alone may not control high blood pressure for many people. They should not be used as a substitute for medical therapy without first consulting with your health care practitioner.
Dietary supplements and alternative medications and therapies are sometimes recommended for high blood pressure.
- Examples include vitamins, garlic, fish oil, L-arginine, soy, coenzyme Q10, herbs, phytosterols, and chelation therapy.
- While these substances may be beneficial, the exact nature of their benefits is not known.
- Scientific studies have produced no evidence that these therapies lower blood pressure or prevent the complications of high blood pressure.
- Most of these substances are harmless if taken in moderate doses. Most people can take them without problems.
- Talk to your health care practitioner if you are considering any of these treatments. Substituting these therapies for medical therapies that have been shown to lower blood pressure and the risk of complications may have a harmful effect on your health.
How Should I Take Them
Follow the directions on the label. If youâre taking one dose a day, take it in the morning with your breakfast or right after. If youâre taking more than one dose a day, take the last one no later than 4 p.m.
The number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and how long you need to take a diuretic will depend on the type prescribed, as well as your condition.
Weigh yourself at the same time every day and write down your weight. Call your doctor if you gain 3 pounds in one day or 5 pounds in one week.
Keep all your doctor and lab appointments so your response to this medicine can be tracked.
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