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.
Causes Of High Blood Pressure
Although the exact cause is unknown, certain conditions, traits or habits may raise your risk for the condition. These are known as risk factors and include:
Non-modifiable risk factors: These factors are irreversible and cannot be changed. The more of these risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing HBP.
- Starting at age 18, ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading at least every two years. If you’re age 40 or older, or you’re 18 to 39 with a high risk of high blood pressure, ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading every year.
- Family history/Genetics
- African Americans and non-white Hispanic Americans are at higher risk for developing high blood pressure than any other group in the U.S.
Modifiable risk factors: These factors can be modified, treated or controlled through medications or lifestyle changes.
- Excessive alcohol consumption over many years.
- Little to no physical activity
- Excessive amounts of salt in diet that excess the recommended amounts of 1,500 to 2,300 mg of sodium per day.
- Long history of smoking and/or drug abuse
- Extreme emotional stress
Other conditions that contribute to developing high blood pressure
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.
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How Should You Measure Your Blood Pressure
When taking your blood pressure, its essential to refrain from any activities that could increase your blood pressure 30 minutes before you plan to take it. These activities may include smoking, exercise, or drinking caffeine. It would also be helpful to use the bathroom and sit still and be silent five minutes beforehand.
Make sure youre sitting down with your back straight. Ideally, it would be best to sit against a hard surface like a dining room chair to help maintain your posture. Do not cross your arms and legs they should be supported by a flat surface.
Place your upper arm at the same level as your heart with the end of the cuff above the bend of your elbow. Follow the instructions that came with your blood pressure machine. It may be best to take a reading more than once a minute apart to get an accurate number.
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Home Blood Pressure Monitoring
Some people buy their own blood pressure monitor to use at home. This means you can measure your blood pressure on an ongoing basis.
The blood pressure readings you do at home are as good as those done by your doctor.
If you decide to buy one, it’s important to get the correct cuff size. If the cuff is too big or too small, it can give an inaccurate reading.
If you take your own blood pressure and get an unusually high reading, take it a second time after at least five minutes. If it’s still high and you’re worried, contact your nurse or GP.
How To Take Your Own Blood Pressure Effectively
When taking your own blood pressure, its important to take it the right way to get accurate results. When and how you take your own BP can affect your results. Blood-pressure monitoring tips include:
- Take it easy before taking your BP. Rest for at least five minutes before your first measurement. Dont smoke, drink caffeinated beverages or exercise for 30 minutes before taking your BP. Dont talk while taking your BP.
- Take your BP with an empty bladder.
- Sit correctly. Sit with your back straight and well-supported make sure not to cross your legs and keep your feet flat on the floor.
- Position your arm correctly. Keep your upper arm at heart level. The way to do this will be a little different depending on whether youre using a wrist or upper-arm monitor, so follow the instructions for your device. Dont place blood pressure cuffs over your sleeves
- Measure at the same time every day. Many doctors will recommend taking your BP in the morning and evening. Dont take your BP right after you wake up.
- Take more than one reading and track your results. Take two or three readings about one minute apart. Some OMRON devices do this automatically and then give you an average of your readings. Take your monitor with you to doctor appointments. Some monitors called, wireless or connected, will allow you to store, track and share your results with your doctor from your mobile device.
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What’s The Impact Of Having High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular diseases such as:
- coronary heart disease – where the main arteries that supply your heart become clogged up with plaques
- strokes – a serious condition where the blood supply to your brain is interrupted
- heart attacks – a serious condition where the blood supply to part of your heart is blocked
Diabetes and kidney disease are also linked to high blood pressure complications.
When Should You Take Blood Pressure Pills Morning Or Night
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High Blood Pressure In The Morning
Some of the frequent questions I get asked are, when should someone measure their blood pressure, morning or night? Or is BP higher in the morning, during the day or night? In addition, does it really matter? It does matter, and your risk of disease is affected by all of it.
High blood pressure in the morning can occur for a few reasons. Some of them are typical and usually nothing to worry about. This blog post will inform you of all the causes why its higher in the morning. In addition, If your morning BP pattern is untypical, your risk of complications rise. Ill inform you why and how to correct it.
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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Monitoring Your Blood Pressure
Medical professionals advise that patients monitor their blood pressure at home to help determine their risk of early morning hypertension using a home blood pressure display that has actually been scientifically shown to be precise. You can acquire a home blood pressure screen without a prescription at your local pharmacy. Several types of monitors are readily available, consisting of automatic and manual models. The only home blood pressure screen currently on the market cleared by the FDA to help identify a patients risk of early morning hypertension is manufactured by Omron Healthcare . Omron automatic high blood pressure monitors are clinically shown accurate and include IntelliSense for appropriate cuff inflation, memory ability, various cuff sizes, and an electronic display that includes the date and time.
When acquiring a home blood pressure display, be sure to pick the proper cuff size that matches the distance around your arm. If an incorrect cuff size is used, this might cause a wrong high blood pressure reading. You also ought to think about whether you want an automated or manual inflation cuff with your display.
Primary High Blood Pressure
While the specific cause of primary high blood pressure remains unknown, there is compelling evidence to suggest that a number of risk factors increase your chances of developing the condition.
These risk factors include:
- age – the risk of developing high blood pressure increases as you get older
- a family history of high blood pressure – the condition seems to run in families
- being of Afro-Caribbean or South Asian origin
- high-fat diet
- high amount of salt in your diet
- lack of exercise
- excessive alcohol consumption
A number of health conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease, have also been linked to an increase risk of developing primary high blood pressure.
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Causes And Risk Factors
You may be at an increased risk for high blood pressure if you smoke, areoverweight, eat a diet thats low on produce and fiber and/or high in fatand salt, drink alcohol to excess, live with chronic stress or dont getmuch physical activity. Some causes of hypertension cannot becontrolledincluding your genes and your race . Aging also plays a role. Even if you do not have hypertensionby age 55 to 65, your lifetime risk for developing it is a whopping 90percent.
But doctors no longer consider hypertension inevitable or untreatable withage, saysSamuel Durso, M.D., director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at JohnsHopkins.
In one Johns Hopkins study of 975 older women and men with hypertension,healthy lifestyle steps helped 40 percent stop taking blood pressuremedications. Other research has shown that lifestyle changes can lower therisk for hypertension in African-Americans and others at an increasedgenetic risk.
How Do I Lower My Blood Pressure
Once youve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, the first thing your healthcare team will do is test you for different conditions that cause secondary hypertension. If they identify a problem, they will work with you to treat the underlying condition, he says.
In all instances of hypertension, however, there are some basic measures that can be taken that can help lower your blood pressure as well as promote overall heart health, Dr. Singh says. These include:
- Reducing salt, red meat, saturated fat, and alcohol intake
- Getting regular cardiovascular exercise, such as brisk walking or running 30 minutes per day
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Taking time to minimize stress daily
- Avoiding all tobacco products like cigarettes and vapes
If your blood pressure remains high despite making lifestyle modifications, there are several different medications available that can work on their own or in combination with others to treat hypertension, Dr. Singh says. Your healthcare team will work with you to determine which medication regimen is best for your personal situation.
The bottom line: Since high blood pressure is asymptomatic, make sure youre going to your regular doctors visits. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner you can make healthy changes.
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You Shouldn’t Ignore White Coat Hypertension
Some people experience white coat hypertension, when blood pressure is elevated in the doctor’s office but not in other settings. These patients need to monitor their blood pressure at home or wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitor that takes your blood pressure every 30 minutes for 24 hours.
While white coat hypertension was formerly considered simple nervousness, recent research suggests otherwise.
A study published in the journal Hypertension found that people with white coat hypertension are at a significantly greater risk for developing sustained high blood pressure than people who have normal blood pressure. One possible explanation is that people with white coat hypertension have a harder time managing stress and anxiety.
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What Happens If You Have Morning Hypertension
If you have hypertension, specifically morning hypertension, you have a stronger risk of stroke compared to others with hypertension but not in the morning.
is able to cause a stroke, or a sudden loss of brain function because of a lack of supply of blood to the brain. Morning hypertension can also raise your risk of other blood vessel and heart problems. Changes in your heartys size and rhythm have been associated with it, and this can lead to heart failure or a heart attack. Speak with your doctor right away if you go through any symptoms such as chest pain, severe headache or numbness in your arms or face.