Whats Life Like With High Blood Pressure
It can mean some big changes. Medication may not be enough to keep your BP under control if you dont make and maintain appropriate lifestyle changes, like eating a more nutritious diet and getting plenty of exercise. This becomes even more critical as you get older, as BP frequently becomes more difficult to manage as you age. You also must maintain your daily medication regimen.
A critical component of your treatment likely will be a home blood-pressure monitor. Because HBP has no symptoms, the only way youll know your efforts are having the desired effect is to measure your BP on a regular basis. Your doctor will give you an appropriate schedule. Use these at-home readings as encouragement to stick to your self-care plan. If it wont budge, discuss this with your doctor, who may recommend a different medication or dosage.
And, remember: It might seem like a lot of work to deal with a problem that doesnt give you any obvious symptomsfor now, anyway. But trust us, lowering your blood pressure is the biggest gift you can give to you heart to keep it beating like a champ for years to come.
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.
Getting To Know Systolic And Diastolic Blood Pressure
Systolic pressure, or the upper number in your blood pressure measurement, indicates the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats or during the contraction of heart muscles. The normal systolic pressure is 120 mmHg or millimeters of mercury. Anything above 120 up to 139 mmHg is a sign of prehypertension while 140 mmHg and above indicates high blood pressure.
On the other hand, diastolic pressure, or the lower number, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart muscles are relaxed and blood refills your heart or pressure in your arteries in between two heartbeats. The normal reading for diastolic pressure is less than 80 mmHg. If yours went 90 and above, it could mean you have hypertension.
In other words, the optimal blood pressure is 120/80. Anything beyond or below these numbers could indicate heart problems and you need to consult a doctor as soon as possible to avoid further complications.
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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.
Whats The Difference Between Blood Pressure And Pulse
Blood pressure and pulse are two measurements that a doctor may use to monitor your heart and overall health. While theyre similar, they can each say very different things about whats happening in your body.
Pulse, also called heart rate, refers to the number of times your heart beats in one minute. Typical pulse measurements range from 60 to 100 beats per minute.
Blood pressure is an estimate of the force your blood is exerting on your blood vessels. A typical value for blood pressure is 120/80. Doctors consider blood pressure to be elevated when its between 130 and 139 systolic over 80 to 89 diastolic .
If you have high blood pressure with a low pulse, it means your blood is putting increased pressure on your blood vessels, but your hearts beating fewer than 60 times per minute. Read on to learn more about what this combination means for your health.
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What If Lifestyle Changes Dont Help Lower My Blood Pressure
If diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes dont work to lower your blood pressure, your healthcare provider prescribe hypertension medications. Your provider will take into account these drugs effect on other conditions you may have, such as heart or kidney disease, and other drugs youre taking.
You might need to take hypertension medicine from now on. Be sure to follow your providers dosing directions exactly.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/20/2020.
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.
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What Is The Best Treatment For High Blood Pressure
Treatment frequently begins with lifestyle adjustments alone if your BP puts you in the elevated or stage 1 category, with an otherwise very low risk of developing heart disease over the following 10 years. Just like the risk factors above put you in the crosshairs of HBP, reducing those risk factors can help bring your BP back down.
Heres where to start:
Diastolic Blood Pressure: How Low Is Too Low
- May 17, 2015
Blood pressure consists of two numbers. Systolic pressure, the force exerted on blood vessels when the heart beats, is the upper number. Diastolic pressure, the force exerted when the heart is at rest, is on the bottom ;in more ways than one. Systolic pressure attracts the lions share of attention from physicians and patients, says UAB cardiologist Jason Guichard, M.D., Ph.D.
Physicians are busy people, and like it or not they often focus on a single number, Guichard said. Systolic blood pressure is the focus, and diastolic pressure is almost completely ignored. That is a mistake, he argues. The majority of your arteries feed your organs during systole. But your coronary arteries are different; they are surrounding the aortic valve, so they get blood only when the aortic valve closes and that happens in diastole.
Diastolic pressure has been getting more attention lately, however, thanks in part to an influential paper in Hypertension, written in 2011 by Guichard and Ali Ahmed, M.D., then a professor of medicine in UABs Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care;and now the associate chief of staff for Health and Aging at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Most people are trying to lower their blood pressure. What would you define as too low, and why is that a problem?
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How Common Is High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a common condition, it is estimated that 18% of adult men and 13% of adult women have high blood pressure but are not getting treatment for it.
In 90-95% of cases, there is no single identifiable reason for a rise in blood pressure. But all available evidence shows that lifestyle plays a significant role in regulating your blood pressure.
Risk factors for high blood pressure include:
- poor diet
- being overweight
- excessive alcohol consumption.
Also, for reasons not fully understood, people of Afro-Caribbean and South Asian origin are more likely to develop high blood pressure than other ethnic groups.
What Problems Can It Cause
All types of high blood pressure, including isolated systolic hypertension, can slowly damage the inside of your arteries and cause tiny tears in their walls. A chemical called LDL cholesterol can build up in those damaged blood vessels and form a layer called plaque. That makes your arteries narrower and raises your blood pressure even higher.
When that happens, the arteries that carry oxygen to your heart can get blocked, and that can lead to a heart attack or a stroke . It also can make blood vessels in your brain burst, and that can cause a stroke, too.
In other parts of your body, it can strain the blood vessels in your eyes and make you lose your eyesight or damage the arteries around your kidneys so they donât filter your blood the way they should.
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An Unresolved But Important Clinical Problem: How To Treat Very High Sbp With Too Low Dbp
In practice, when we decrease sBP to the target level, we also diminish dBP; if the dBP level drops too much, we can actually increase mortality in an iatrogenic way. The explanation is simple: when BP is too low , provided it lasts, this results in tissue hypoperfusion and poor outcomes, although not all studies have confirmed this J-curve phenomenon. A fall in BP is particularly dangerous in patients with hemodynamically significant stenosis of the arteries, because a low prestenotic BP will result in even lower poststenotic pressure. To prevent tissue hypoperfusion, the HTN guidelines recommend that in-treatment dBP should be 70 mm Hg .
To the best of our knowledge, no definite answer to this question has been provided by RCTs. However, it would not be so difficult to take the RCT records of patients who had SH with dBP <70 mm Hg at baseline and analyze outcomes with pretreatment sBP value as a continuous variable.
Treating High Blood Pressure
Treatment for high blood pressure will depend on your blood pressure levels and your associated risk of developing a cardiovascular disease, such as a heart attack;or stroke.
There are seven main risk factors for developing a cardiovascular disease. These are:
- having a high level of cholesterol in your blood
- having a family history of cardiovascular disease .
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Increase The Number Of Fruits And Vegetables
This is a great way to get more natural food into your diet. DASH diet recommends four to five serving of fruit and four to five serving of vegetables, with a serving size being half a cup. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of potassium and magnesium, making them great sources for blood pressure control. You can start by making smaller changes to your diet plan such as choosing to eat fruit instead of an unhealthy snack.
Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.
Do I Have High Blood Pressure
One reason to visit your doctor regularly is to have your blood pressure checked. Routine checks of your blood pressure will help pick up an early rise in blood pressure, even though you might feel fine. If there’s an indication that your blood pressure is high at two or more checkups, the doctor may ask you to check your blood pressure at home at different times of the day. If the pressure stays high, even when you are relaxed, the doctor may suggest exercise, changes in your diet, and, most likely, medications.
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Diagnosing High Blood Pressure
The only way to find out whether you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Ask your GP when you are next due for yours to be checked.
Before having your blood pressure taken, you should rest for at least five minutes and empty your bladder. To get an accurate blood pressure reading, you should be sitting down and not talking when the reading is taken.
Having one high blood pressure reading does not necessarily mean that you have high blood pressure. Your blood pressure can change throughout the day. Feeling anxious or stressed when you visit your GP can raise your blood pressure .
Therefore, your GP will need to take several readings over a set period of time, usually every month, to see whether your blood pressure level is consistently high.
Blood and urine tests may also be carried out in order to check for conditions that are known to cause an increase in blood pressure, such as kidney infections.
You may also be given a blood pressure device to take home so that you can record your blood pressure level throughout the day. This also helps to identify white coat syndrome and therefore helps to identify the best treatment options for you.
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 If Just The First Blood Pressure Number Is High
For older people, often the first number is 130 or higher, but the second number is less than 80. This problem is called isolated systolic hypertension, which is due to age-related stiffening of the major arteries. It is the most common form of high blood pressure in older people and can lead to serious health problems in addition to shortness of breath during light physical activity, lightheadedness upon standing too fast, and falls. Isolated systolic hypertension is treated in the same way as regular high blood pressure but may require more than one type of blood pressure medication. If your doctor determines that your systolic pressure is above a normal level for your age, ask how you can lower it.
How Is It Diagnosed
Because it is such a common problem, blood pressure is checked at most healthcare visits. High blood pressure is usually discovered during one of these visits. If your blood pressure is high, you will be asked to return for follow-up checks. If repeated checks of your blood pressure show that it is higher than 140/90, you have hypertension.
Your healthcare provider will ask about your life situation, what you eat and drink, and if high blood pressure runs in your family. You may have urine and blood tests. Your provider may order a chest X-ray and an electrocardiogram . You may be asked to use a portable blood-pressure measuring device, which will take your pressure at different times during day and night. All of this testing is done to look for a possible cause of your high blood pressure.
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What Is High Blood Pressure Anyway
Let’s first begin with how the heart functions. With each beat, the heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to the rest of your body in an ongoing, life-sustaining cycle. The forceor pressureof that contraction is what keeps your blood flowing through your arteries and veins.
There are two types of pressure that get generated:
Systolic, which is the pressure when your heart beats
Diastolic, which is your blood pressure between beats
A healthy blood-pressure reading is written out like this: 120/80 mmHg , with the systolic number on top and the diastolic number below. Spoken out loud, youll hear: 120 over 80. Its only when your numbers spike higher than 129 and tick upward of 80 , that youre venturing into hypertensiona.k.a. high blood pressure territory.
Your blood pressure goes up when youre active. It goes down when you chill out. Its highest in the morning when you wake up and lowest when you sleep. These types of fluctuations occur normally. However, when its continually above normal, you have a problem.
Why? Because HBP can do A LOT of damage. It strains and stiffens your blood vessels, which can make your heart work harder than it shouldand that can lead to a range of heart disorders, some of them quite serious.
Potential Danger Of Fluctuating Blood Pressure
A recent cohort study of 1,000 Chinese men and women suggested that fluctuating blood pressure in the elderly between doctors visits can lead to decreased functioning of the brain. Findings were based on the China Health and Nutrition Survey, and followed 976 older adults who had three or more visits with blood pressure measurements from 1991 up to their first cognitive tests, and completed follow up cognitive tests at two or more visits in 1997, 2000, or 2004.
Researchers note that more studies and clinical trials need to be done, but early findings showed an association between higher long-term blood pressure fluctuations and faster rates of cognitive decline.
Controlling BP instability could possibly be a strategy in preserving cognitive function among older adults, researchers wrote in the study published in the journal Hypertension by the American Heart Association.
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