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.
Symptoms And Life Expectancy
What is high blood pressure exactly? Its;a common disease in which blood flows through blood vessels and arteries at higher than normal pressures.
Hypertension;costs the U.S. $46 billion each year, which includes the cost of health care services, medications to treat high blood pressure symptoms and missed days of work a number thats expected to rise with the American Heart Association releasing new standards for what constitutes high blood pressure.;Standard medical treatment for elevated blood pressure is to prescribe dangerous beta blockers, ACE inhibitor drugs and diuretics, along with convincing the patient to restrict salt in the;diet.;Although these things can help, they dont get to the root of the problem and can actually cause more problems.;Weve been encouraged to fear salt when it comes to our health, but this recommendation of extreme salt reduction for high blood pressure symptoms remains controversial,;questionable and even destructive for good reason.
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. High blood pressure;happens when this force is too high.;Scary, but true: Most people who have this condition;display zero signs or high blood pressure symptoms, even when their blood pressure readings are at;dangerously high levels.
Under the previous guidelines, blood pressure ranges include:
The new guidelines from the American Heart Association are as follows:
- Severe headaches
High Blood Pressure In Elderly People The Definitive Guide
We can all agree that high blood pressure in elderly people is a condition that has to be treated. Its dubbed the silent killer because it presents no symptoms for a long time until its too late to reverse its effects on vital organs. According to many doctors, prompt diagnosis and aggressive treatment for lowering blood pressure to normal levels are the right approaches.
What is considered high blood pressure in the elderly? Recent studies have suggested that slightly higher than normal blood pressure in seniors has a protective effect. This somewhat controversial new approach has shown that elevated blood pressure may indicate preserved heart function. Furthermore, it may actually protect the brain from dementia.
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Diagnosing High Blood Pressure
Diagnosing hypertension is as simple as taking a blood pressure reading. Most doctors offices check blood pressure as part of a routine visit. If you dont receive a blood pressure reading at your next appointment, request one.
If your blood pressure is elevated, your doctor may request you have more readings over the course of a few days or weeks. A hypertension diagnosis is rarely given after just one reading. Your doctor needs to see evidence of a sustained problem. Thats because your environment can contribute to increased blood pressure, such as the stress you may feel by being at the doctors office. Also, blood pressure levels change throughout the day.
If your blood pressure remains high, your doctor will likely conduct more tests to rule out underlying conditions. These tests can include:
- cholesterol screening and other blood tests
- test of your hearts electrical activity with an electrocardiogram
- ultrasound of your heart or kidneys
These tests can help your doctor identify any secondary issues causing your elevated blood pressure. They can also look at the effects high blood pressure may have had on your organs.
During this time, your doctor may begin treating your hypertension. Early treatment may reduce your risk of lasting damage.
Two numbers create a blood pressure reading:
Five categories define blood pressure readings for adults:
Eat Less Meat More Plants
A plant-based diet is an easy way to increase fiber and reduce the amount of sodium and unhealthy saturated and trans fat you take in from dairy foods and meat. Increase the number of fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, and whole grains youre eating. Instead of red meat, opt for healthier lean proteins like fish, poultry, or tofu.
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How Can I Prevent Or Slow The Progression Of Kidney Disease From High Blood Pressure
The best way to slow or prevent kidney disease;from high blood pressure is to take steps to lower your blood pressure. These steps include a combination of medicines and lifestyle changes, such as
- being physically active
- managing stress
- following a healthy diet, including less sodium intake
No matter what the cause of your kidney disease, high blood pressure can make your kidneys worse. If you have kidney disease, you should talk with your health care professional about your individual blood pressure goals and how often you should have your blood pressure checked.
What Should I Avoid Eating If I Have High Blood Pressure Or Kidney Disease
If you have kidney disease, avoid foods and beverages that are high in sodium.
Additional steps you can take to meet your blood pressure goals may include eating heart-healthy and low-sodium meals, quitting smoking, being active, getting enough sleep, and taking your medicines as prescribed. You should also limit alcoholic drinksno more than two per day for men and one per day for womenbecause consuming too many alcoholic beverages raises blood pressure.
In addition, a health care professional may recommend that you eat moderate or reduced amounts of protein.
Proteins break down into waste products that the kidneys filter from the blood. Eating more protein than your body needs may burden your kidneys and cause kidney function to decline faster. However, eating too little protein may lead to malnutrition, a condition that occurs when the body does not get enough nutrients.
If you have kidney disease and are on a restricted protein diet, a health care professional will use blood tests to monitor your nutrient levels.
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What Is Portal Hypertension
The portal venous system contains veins coming from the stomach, intestine, spleen, and pancreas. These veins merge into the portal vein, which branches into smaller vessels and travel through the liver. Portal hypertension occurs when there is an increase in the blood pressure within the portal venous system. When the vessels in the liver are blocked due to liver damage, blood cannot flow properly through the liver. This causes high blood pressure in the portal system.
Portal Hypertension Causes
Cirrhosis of the liver is the most common cause of portal hypertension. In cirrhosis, the scar tissue blocks the flow of blood through the liver. Blood clots in the portal vein, blockages of the veins that carry blood from the liver to the heart, parasitic infection , and focal nodular hyperplasia are also causes of portal hypertension.
Portal Hypertension Symptoms
Symptoms of portal hypertension include the following:
- Gastrointestinal bleeding, which can cause black, tarry stools or blood in stools, or vomiting of blood
- Encephalopathy or confusion
- Reduced levels of platelets
Portal Hypertension Treatment
How Is It Treated
If you have high blood pressure, your doctor will give you a blood pressure goal. Your goal will be based on your health.
You can help lower your blood pressure by making healthy changes in your lifestyle. If those lifestyle changes don’t work well enough, you may also need to take pills. Either way, you will need to control your high blood pressure throughout your life.
Treatment depends on how high your blood pressure is, whether you have other health problems such as diabetes, and whether any organs have already been damaged. Your doctor will also consider how likely you are to develop other diseases, especially heart disease.
Most people take more than one pill for high blood pressure. Work with your doctor to find the right pill or combination of pills that will cause the fewest side effects.
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What Changes Do You Need To Make
Make these lifestyle changes to help lower your blood pressure:
- Lose extra weight. If you are overweight, losing as little as 4.5 kg may lower your blood pressure. It may also allow you to take less blood pressure medicine. Losing weight may also lower your cholesterol.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure For Senior Citizens
Your blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day. Its lowest when you sleep but rises when youre active, excited, or stressed out. This is normal. However, its stable most of the time and should be under 120/80 mmHg. Lower is better, but very low blood pressure for elderly people is also an issue because it can make them feel lightheaded and contribute to falls.
|and/or||Higher than 120|
The values above are for the general population. What should an elderly persons blood pressure be? Senior citizens differ from younger people in many ways. Age, frailty, other diseases, and the medication an older person takes all influence the approach to treatment.
When should we start treating high blood pressure for older adults? The most common threshold for beginning medications is 130/80 mmHg.
Overmedication of seniors is a serious problem. Treating multiple diseases, each with its own set of medications, can add up to over ten different pills per day, and every one of them can have side effects. Therefore, weighing the pros and cons of treating high blood pressure in seniors for every individual patient is necessary.
Too much medication can also cause orthostatic hypotension, that is, a temporary drop in blood pressure upon standing up. This can, in turn, lead to dizziness and cause falls. If overmedication is the cause, we have to rethink the doses. If the issue persists, consider getting a medical alert system.
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What Are The Symptoms
High blood pressure doesn’t usually cause symptoms. Most people don’t know they have it until they go to the doctor for some other reason.
Very high blood pressure can cause severe headaches and vision problems. These symptoms can also be caused by dangerously high blood pressure called malignant high blood pressure. It may also be called a hypertensive crisis or hypertensive emergency. Malignant high blood pressure is a medical emergency.
How Common Are High Blood Pressure And Kidney Disease
Almost 1 in 2 U.S. adultsor about 108 million peoplehave high blood pressure.1
More than 1 in 7 U.S. adultsor about 37 million peoplemay have chronic kidney disease .2
Almost 1 in 2 U.S. adultsor about 108 million peoplehave high blood pressure.
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Stiffening Of The Arteries
Some physicians consider the most authentic form of pseudo-resistant hypertension to be caused by stiffened brachial arteries that prevent the blood pressure cuff from obtaining a true reading. If your doctor suspects this form of pseudo-resistant hypertension, they might consider other ways to measure your blood pressure.
What Are The Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
Most people who have high blood pressure do not have symptoms. This is why its sometimes called the silent killer. It is very important to have your blood pressure checked regularly.
Some people experience headaches, nosebleeds, or shortness of breath with high blood pressure. However, those symptoms can mimic many other things . Usually, these symptoms occur once blood pressure has reached a dangerously high level over a period of time.
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Acute Pain And High Blood Pressure
Sudden pain acts as a warning or alarm for your body. It tells you that something is wrong and your body goes into its fight or flight response. Your sympathetic nervous system goes into high drive and releases chemicals that cause your heart to beat faster and your arteries to constrict. You also have a release of the stress hormone cortisone. All of these reactions cause your blood pressure to go up suddenly.
However, acute pain does not cause hypertension. Once the pain goes away, your blood pressure goes back to normal. Even if acute pain lasts longer, say for days or weeks, your brain will adjust by releasing your bodys natural pain relievers called endogenous opioids. These natural opioids decrease your sensitivity to pain and that lowers your blood pressure.
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.
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Making Changes If You Have Anxiety Or Depression
If your high blood pressure is co-occurring with a mental health problem such as depression or anxiety, it can be even tougher to find the energy and motivation to make the necessary lifestyle changes. Just thinking about exercising or preparing a healthy meal, for example, can seem overwhelming. But by focusing all your efforts on one tiny change at a time, youll find that youre capable of more than you realized.
Take the first step. It could be as simple as going for a walk or downloading a meditation app or buying some nicotine patches. It can take time for lifestyle changes to register as a reduction in blood pressurebut sometimes they can improve your mood much sooner. Taking that first step is always the hardest.
Focus on small steps. Its easy to get overwhelmed by daily life when youre battling depression, anxiety, or another mood disorder. By taking small but positive steps each day, though, youll find that your energy and outlook will gradually start to improve. Once you feel happier and more positive, youll find it easier to forge ahead with lifestyle changes and see the results in both your blood pressure readings and your overall outlook and wellbeing.
Reduce And Manage Stress
The body releases chemicals and hormones that can narrow the blood vessels temporarily when we are under stress. Stress also gets our heart beating faster. Long-term stress is thought to increase the risk of getting heart problems, such as stroke and heart attacks. Taking time to relax and practice stress-reducing exercises can be very helpful.
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What Causes Extremely High Blood Pressure
Specific abnormalities happening in your body can lead to high blood pressure or if a person with born with particular genetic dysfunction. The likelihood of developing high blood pressure is higher in adults with obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, under or overactive thyroid, lupus, obstructive sleep apnea, amongst others.
Consuming a high-fat diet, carrying excess weight, drinking a lot of alcohol, smoking tobacco, and the use of some medications can also increase the risk.
In some cases, there is no defined cause when doctors diagnose primary hypertension.No matter the cause, its crucial to get help as soon as possible. Seek medical attention if your blood pressure gets above 180 or 110 . Doctors must evaluate potential organ damage and reverse the process before its too late.
You Have A Strong Family History Of Hypertension
Genes do play some role in high blood pressure, which is why younger people in seemingly great health can still be diagnosed with hypertension, says Dr. Philips. However, more often than not, its also likely that people with a family history of high blood pressure share common environments that increase their riskand these are very much modifiable.
Our genes also interact with the environment and we can influence them by the choices we make, says Dr. Beniaminovitz. While lifestyle changes may not help you in never developing high blood pressure if you have a strong family history, optimal lifestyle will aid in delaying the onset of blood pressure and the need for early medications. Instead of developing high blood pressure in your 30s or 40s, with optimal diet and lifestyle you may delay the onset of high blood pressure to your late 60s or 70s.
BP fix: Keep up with the tips above!
Theres no magic bullet, but if you have a strong family history, thats even more reason to implement all of the dietary and lifestyle recommendations aboveeat whole foods, move your body more, manage stressand get your blood pressure checked regularly.
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