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What Causes High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure Treatment

What causes high blood pressure?

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.

How Do Doctors Diagnose High Blood Pressure

Because symptoms are so uncommon, the only way to know you have HBP is to have your blood pressure tested at your doctors office. Your doctor will use a device called a sphygmomanometer, which features an inflatable cuff that wraps around your upper arm. The cuff is attached to a scale, and when it inflates, it measures your systolic BP. It measures your diastolic BP as the cuff slowly deflates. Your doctor will also likely press a stethoscope to listen for any abnormal sounds as your blood flows.

You officially have HBPyour doctor may call it hypertensionwhen your readings are above normal during at least two visits to the doctor. However, many doctors will ask you to measure your own blood pressure using either a home monitor or with a 24-hour monitoring device your doctor lends you. Doing this will help confirm that your blood pressure remains high during the normal course of your day.

Why is this important? Many people have whats called white-coat hypertension, which means that your blood pressure spikes in your doctors office but returns to normal elsewhere. For example, your reading may be high when you have a physical and normal when you use the device at your pharmacist or grocery store .

Lets look at the numbers. The American Heart Association provides the measurements that you should aim for, as well as the ranges that put you in the danger zone. All measurements are mm Hg.

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How To Prevent Sudden High Blood Pressure Problem

In 2013, more than 360,000 deaths in the United States had high blood pressure as primary or contributing cause. Each year, the government spends an estimated $46 billion for workers missed days, health care services, and high blood pressure medications. Talk to your doctor about treatment for high blood pressure medications. In the meantime, there are precautions you can take right now.

1. Avoid Stress

Become involved in hobbies such as painting, exercise, and other physical activities to have a stress outlet and keep fit.

2. Limit Caffeine Intake

Talk with your doctor about your caffeine habits and stick to a plan to limit your daily intake.

3. Quit Smoking

As one of the biggest health risks, smoking can lead to serious heart and lung conditions and death.

4. Eat Healthy Foods

Avoid saturated fats and junk food to maintain healthy blood pressure levels.

5. Reduce Sodium in Diet

Added salt and salt found in food products can lead to high blood pressure as it increases the solute content in our blood.

6. Exercise Regularly

A healthy heart, and body, requires regular exercise daily for 20 to 30 minutes.

7. Monitor Vitals

It is important to keep an eye on your blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels, especially if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

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Blood Pressure Cuff Placement

Most blood pressure reading errors are the result of improper sizingof the blood pressure cuff or placing the cuff over clothing. Improperplacement of the cuff over clothing can cause your blood pressure measurementto increase 10 to 50 points. If the cuff is too small, it can add 2 to 10points your reading. Be sure to roll up your sleeve for a blood pressure testand also let your doctor know if the cuff feels too tight around your arm.

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Number Of Pregnant Women With High Blood Pressure Rises More Than Thirteenfold Since 1970 Study Finds

High Blood Pressure Young Adults Causes

If not treated, high blood pressure during pregnancy can lead to a number of complications for both the mother and the baby. Hypertension can affect a mother’s kidneys and increase her risk of future heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke.

It can also increase the risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, preeclampsia, placental abruption, cesarean delivery, and HELLP syndrome .

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How To Lower Blood Pressure: The Dash Diet

Dietary changes can help control blood pressure. One diet designed to promote lower blood pressure is known as the DASH diet. This stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet recommends eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, nuts, and fish. Red meat, saturated fats, and sweets should be avoided. The DASH diet can lower blood pressure within 2 weeks. It can also help to reduce your intake of sodium. The following is the DASH diet suggested daily intake:

  • 7-8 servings of grain
  • 2-3 servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products
  • 2-3 servings of fats and oils
  • 2 or less servings of meat, poultry, and fish

On the DASH diet, nuts, seeds, and dry beans should be limited to 4-5 servings per week. Sweets should be limited to less than 5 servings per week.

Do I Have High Blood Pressure

Anyone can have high blood pressure. Some medical conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, kidney disease, and thyroid problems, can cause high blood pressure. Some people have a greater chance of having it because of things they can’t change. These are:

  • Age. The chance of having high blood pressure increases as you get older, especially isolated systolic hypertension.
  • Gender. Before age 55, men have a greater chance of having high blood pressure. Women are more likely to have high blood pressure after menopause.
  • Family history. High blood pressure tends to run in some families.
  • Race. African Americans are at increased risk for high blood pressure.

High blood pressure often has no signs or symptoms, but routine checks of your blood pressure will help detect increasing levels. If your blood pressure reading is high at two or more check-ups, the doctor may also ask you to measure your blood pressure at home.

There are important considerations for older adults in deciding whether to start treatment for high blood pressure if it is above 130/80, including other health conditions and overall fitness. Your doctor may work with you to find a blood pressure target that is best for your well-being and may suggest exercise, changes in your diet, and medications.

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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.

What Causes High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure: what causes high blood pressure?

Food, medicine, lifestyle, age, and genetics can cause high blood pressure. Your doctor can help you find out what might be causing yours. Common factors that can lead to high blood pressure include:

  • A diet high in salt, fat, and/or cholesterol.
  • Chronic conditions such as kidney and hormone problems, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
  • Family history, especially if your parents or other close relatives have high blood pressure.
  • Lack of physical activity.
  • Tobacco use or drinking too much alcohol.

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What Can I Expect If I Have This Condition

Since high blood pressure doesnt cause many symptoms at first, you probably wont feel any different with a high blood pressure diagnosis. But its important to follow your providers instructions to bring your blood pressure down so it doesnt cause serious illnesses later in life.

How long does high blood pressure last?

If you have primary high blood pressure, youll need to control it for the rest of your life.

If you have secondary high blood pressure, your blood pressure will most likely come down after you receive treatment for the medical problem that caused it. If a medication caused your high blood pressure, switching to a different medicine may lower your blood pressure.

What is the outlook for high blood pressure?

You can get seriously ill if you dont treat your high blood pressure. However, if you take the medicines your provider ordered, you can control your blood pressure. Exercising and eating healthy foods also helps lower your blood pressure.

When High Blood Pressure Occurs

Blood pressure thats too high for too long can damage your blood vessels and your heart, and increase your risk of having a stroke.

For this reason, its important to understand what high blood pressure is. It usually develops over time.

It can happen because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as not getting enough regular physical activity. Being overweight or obese also plays a role.

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What Is Secondary Hypertension

When a direct cause for high blood pressure can be identified, that’s secondary hypertension. Kidney disease is the most common cause.

Hypertension can also be brought on by tumors or conditions that cause the adrenal glands to release large amounts of hormones that raise blood pressure.

Birth control pills — specifically those that have estrogen — and pregnancy can boost blood pressure. Other medicines can, too. Check with your doctor to see if anything you take may cause your numbers to go up.

What Diet Helps Control High Blood Pressure

12 Hypertension Causes
  • 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 1,500 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. Dont add salt at the table.
  • Avoid or cut down on foods high in fat or salt, such as 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 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.

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You Rely Too Heavily On Convenient Processed Foods

Excessive sodium intake has a direct impact on blood pressure. More salt equals more sodium in the blood, which then pulls water from the surrounding tissues into your vessels and increases blood volume, says Dr. Beniaminovitz. More blood volume leads to higher blood pressure.

But if youre thinking, I dont even use that much salt, its probably still hiding elsewhere in your diet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , Americans are consuming an average of 3,400 mg of sodium per day, which is well beyond the recommended cap of 2,300 mg per day. And of that, more than 70% of a persons sodium intake is coming from processed and restaurant foods, including things like bread, breakfast cereal, chips, cookies, pizza, canned beans and veggies, canned soups, and pasta saucenot the salt shaker itself.

Additionally, a diet heavy in processed foods can cause weight gain, and when people are overweight, the body has to pump blood to more tissue, which can increase blood pressure, says Dr. Philips. We see an extremely large amount of high blood pressure in obese patients.

BP fix: Cut way back on packaged foods.

If you want to follow a specific dietary plan thats been proven to lower blood pressure, Dr. Beniaminovitz recommends either the DASH diet or a well-formulated Mediterranean Diet.

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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What Are The Complications Of Uncontrolled Hypertension

  • Chest pain, also called angina.
  • Heart attack, which occurs when the blood supply to the heart is blocked and heart muscle cells die from lack of oxygen. The longer the blood flow is blocked, the greater the damage to the heart.
  • Heart failure, which occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to other vital body organs.
  • Irregular heart beat which can lead to a sudden death.

What Is High Blood Pressure In Pregnancy

What causes high blood pressure in children?

High blood pressure in pregnancy is defined as a systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or more, OR a diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or more on 2 or more occasions, which are not associated with proteinuria.

High blood pressure is also referred to as gestational hypertension when it occurs in early pregnancy.

Preeclampsiais a disease that causes high blood pressure in the brain and heart during pregnancy. If left untreated, it can cause a number of problems including kidney failure, cognitive delays, hearing loss, andmuscle damage.

Although most cases of high blood pressure are due to the stress of the pregnant condition, some are caused by renal disease, hormonal abnormalities, endocrine diseases, or medications that may be taken by the mother or baby.

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Black Americans And High Blood Pressure

According to the CDC, high blood pressure is more common in non-Hispanic Black American men and women than any other ethnic group. Fifty-four percent of non-Hispanic Black Americans have hypertension, compared with 46 percent of non-Hispanic white Americans, 39 percent of Asian Americans, and 36 percent of Hispanic Americans. Black Americans also tend to develop hypertension earlier in life and experience more severe blood pressure elevation. Black American and Mexican American children are more likely to have high blood pressure than white children.

It is not known for sure why high blood pressure is more common in this group, but researchers theorize it may be partly due to higher rates of obesity and diabetes among Black Americans and a gene that makes Black Americans more sensitive to salt. In people who have this gene, even just one-half teaspoon of salt can elevate blood pressure by 5 mmHg.

How Is Blood Pressure Diagnosed

Your doctor measures your blood pressure with a device that wraps around your upper arm and is pumped with air. The test shows two numbers expressed by millimeters of mercury . The top number, or systolic pressure, indicates the pressure in the arteries as your heart beats. The bottom number, or diastolic pressure, measures the pressure between heartbeats.

A reading of below 120/80 mmHg classifies as normal blood pressure. At the elevated or prehypertension stage, it would range from 120 to 129 mmHg for the top number.

Stage 1 hypertension is when the systolic pressure reaches 130 to 139 mmHg with a diastolic pressure of 80 to 89 mmHg. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 47 percent of U.S. adults have hypertension that falls into this category.

A reading of 140 mmHg systolic pressure and a diastolic pressure of 90 mmHg or higher is considered Stage 2 or a more severe case of hypertension. If you have a reading of 180/120 mmHg, you are suffering from a hypertensive crisis and require immediate medical attention.

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What Is The Type Of High Blood Pressure

There are three main types of high blood pressure during pregnancy:

Diastolic , Diastolic pressure is the lowest reading you can have and still be considered healthy for your baby.

Hypertensive ,

Preeclampsia or severe hypertension: . Hypertension is when your blood pressure becomes too high and affects the heart and other parts of your body, causing stiffness and fatigue.

In some cases, giving birth leads to further increases in blood pressure which can be life-threatening.

What Is Hypertension


Blood pressure is the force exerted by circulating blood against the walls of the bodys arteries, the major blood vessels in the body. Hypertension is when blood pressure is too high.Blood pressure is written as two numbers. The first number represents the pressure in blood vessels when the heart contracts or beats. The second number represents the pressure in the vessels when the heart rests between beats.Hypertension is diagnosed if, when it is measured on two different days, the systolic blood pressure readings on both days is 140 mmHg and/or the diastolic blood pressure readings on both days is 90 mmHg.

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