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.
What Is Systolic Blood Pressure
When you get a blood pressure reading, youll see two numbers one on the top and one on the bottom. The top number is your systolic blood pressure, and this is the amount of pressure your heart creates as it beats to pump blood through your arteries. The bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure, which is the amount of pressure in your arteries in between heartbeats.
Low systolic blood pressure is defined as being lower than 90, and low diastolic blood pressure is any number lower than 60.
Who Is Affected By High Blood Pressure
Approximately 1 in 3, more than 100 million, American adults have high blood pressure. But only half of those people have their condition under control. Many people develop high blood pressure when they are in their late 30s or early 40s, and it occurs more frequently as people age. However, because of the obesity epidemic, more and more children are also developing high blood pressure.
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Can High Blood Pressure Affect Pregnancy
High blood pressure complicates about 10% of all pregnancies. There are several different types of high blood pressure during pregnancy and range from mild to serious. The forms of high blood pressure during pregnancy include:
Chronic hypertension: High blood pressure which is present prior to pregnancy.
Chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia: Preeclampsia, which develops in someone who has chronic hypertension .
Gestational hypertension: High blood pressure in the latter part of pregnancy, but no other signs or symptoms of preeclampsia are present. Some women will later develop preeclampsia, while others probably have high blood pressure before the pregnancy.
Preeclampsia: This is found in the latter half of pregnancy and results in hypertension, protein in the urine and generalized swelling in the mother. It can affect other organs in the body and cause seizures .
Your blood pressure will be checked regularly during prenatal appointments, but if you have concerns about your blood pressure, be sure to talk with your provider.
How Common Is Hypertension In Children
Hypertension is becoming increasingly common in children and adolescents. A recent study that looked at 15,000 adolescents found that nearly one in five had hypertension. And theres reason to believe that hypertension is vastly underdiagnosed in children, since:
- it can be difficult to measure in infants and young children
- its sometimes challenging to identify
- its often thought of as not something that really affects kids
The rise in the number of children with primary hypertension in the United States is thought to correlate with the rise of obesity.
Medicines For High Blood Pressure
|Why are different people given different medicines?|
People respond differently to blood pressure medicines. A number of things can affect how you respond to each medicine, including your ethnic background, age and how much salt you eat. It can take some trial and error to find the medicine or combination of medicines that works best for you.
Younger, non-black people tend to respond slightly better to ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers. Older people and those of African or Caribbean origin tend to respond better to calcium-channel blockers and thiazide diuretics.
These will usually be the first medicines youre offered, aiming to keep the number of medicines needed to a minimum. Read more about .
|Should I be taking aspirin as well?|
If you have high blood pressure, your doctor might recommend that you take aspirin if you are at a higher risk of heart attacks or strokes, for example, if you have had an ischaemic stroke caused by a blood clot or heart attack in the past. This is because aspirin thins your blood and prevents blood clots from forming.
Do not start taking aspirin regularly unless your doctor advsises you to because aspirin’s ability to prevent clots can raise the risk of bleeding from the stomach and intestines, it might also be linked to a higher risk of strokes caused by burst blood vessels.
Why Is My Bottom Blood Pressure Number High
Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries, which carry blood to other parts of your body. Your blood pressure can be measured using two numbers:
- Systolic : pressure exerted when the heart pumps blood throughout the body
- Diastolic : pressure exerted when the heart relaxes and refills with blood
When your blood pressure is consistently higher than 130/80 mm Hg, you are considered to have hypertension.
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Causes Of Hypertension In Children
1. Primary hypertension
Primary hypertension means that the hypertension does not seem to be caused by some other underlyng medical condition. Many doctors think that the incidence of childhood or adolescent hypertension has been rising along with the obesity epidemic. The majority of teens and children over age 6 with hypertension have a family history of hypertension and/or are overweight.
2. Secondary hypertension
Secondary hypertension is caused by a known underlying medical condition. Of these, about
- 80 percent of children have some kind of kidney disease or blood vessel abnormalities
- 5 percent have an endocrinological disorder
- 2 to 5 percent have heart disease
Hypertension in infants with hypertension almost always has a secondary cause. In addition, premature infants have a higher incidence of hypertension.
Among kids with hypertension, especially those who are very young, secondary hypertension is more common than primary hypertension. But among children who are older than 6 to 8 years old, the ratio of primary to secondary hypertension is approaching 50/50.
Doctors: Beware Of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure When Treating Hypertension
- Low diastolic blood pressure linked to heart damage. –
- Physicians, be aware of not dropping the bottom blood pressure number. –
- Overtreated high blood pressure could be dangerous in certain patients. –
The researchers caution that their findings cannot prove that very low diastolic blood pressure a measure of pressure in arteries between heartbeats when the heart is resting and also the lower number in a blood pressure reading directly causes heart damage, only that there appears to be a statistically significant increase in heart damage risk among those with the lowest levels of diastolic blood pressure.
A summary of the findings was published Aug. 30 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and coincides with the release of a similar analysis at the European Society of Cardiology Meeting by physicians from Hôpital Bichat in Paris, France.
Released last fall, the SPRINT trial showed protective cardiovascular benefits to patients when physicians aggressively treated high blood pressure down to 120/80 millimeters of mercury, with a primary emphasis on keeping systolic pressure the top number, representing arterial pressure when the heart is pumping at no more than 120.
Researchers followed the participants for 21 years in a series of five visits, with the last check-in in 2013. Each visit included blood pressure measurement, and several included blood testing.
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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.
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.
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What Should I Do If I Have High Blood Pressure
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you and your healthcare provider will talk about your target blood pressure. Your provider may suggest that you:
- Check your own blood pressure regularly with a home blood pressure monitor. These electronic monitors are available at most pharmacies or online.
- Work on controlling anger and managing stress.
How Do I Know If I Have High Blood Pressure
Theres only one way to know if you have high blood pressure: Have a doctor or other health professional measure it. Measuring your blood pressure is quick and painless.
Talk with your health care team about regularly measuring your blood pressure at home, also called self-measured blood pressure monitoring.
High blood pressure is called the silent killer because it usually has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Being overweight is a risk factor for having high blood pressure, and your risk increases further if you are obese.
There are two ways to check if you are overweight:
- Body Mass Index – This is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in metres squared. In the UK, people with a BMI of between 25 to 30 are overweight, and those with an index above 30 are classed as obese. People with a BMI of 40 or more are morbidly obese.
- Waist size – Using a measuring tape place the tape round your waist between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hip bone. The table below indicates how much your health might be at risk, your ethnicity should also be taken into account.
|Over 80 cm|
The best way to tackle obesity is by reducing the amount of calories that you eat, and taking regular exercise. Your GP can provide you with further information and advice on how you can do this.
More about having a healthy weight
Benefit Of Treatment Of Ish
In general terms, the beneficial effect of treatment of ISH runs in parallel with that of the treatment of hypertension in the elderly. In general, this issue has been addressed since the 1990s by means of intervention trials. Several trials such as STOP1, STOP2, and MRC Elderly have clearly shown that treatment of hypertension in the elderly protects against the complications of hypertension, particularly stroke . In most of these trials no clear distinction was made between ISH and ordinary hypertension. There is no doubt, however, that a major percentage of the elderly hypertensive patients enrolled in these studies displayed the haemodynamic characteristics of ISH. A few clinical trials have deliberately addressed a population of patients with ISH as such.
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Decrease Your Salt Intake
Salt is the enemy of high blood pressure, says Dr. Desai. When you eat too much salt, it increases the amount of fluid that enters the bloodstream and arteries from the surrounding tissue, which raises the pressure in the arteries.
While you may not have to remove salt from your diet completely, avoid foods very high in salt like chips, french fries, salted nuts, soups, store-bought salad dressings, processed foods and cheese.
What Are The Risk Factors For Hypertension
While the exact causes of HBP remain a mystery in most cases, risk factors are much easier to identify. Fortunately, most of them are within your power to controlwhich means your hearts destiny may lie largely in your own hands. They include:
If youre overweight or obese, your body requires your heart to pump more blood to supply it with oxygen and other essential nutrients. This extra work adds to the pressure on the walls of your blood vessels.
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When Youve Just Been Diagnosed
|I’m fit and healthy, so why do I have high blood pressure?|
For many people, there is no single specific cause of their high blood pressure. Your genes can play a role: youre more likely to develop high blood pressure if youre from an African-Caribbean or South-Asian background or people in your family have had high blood pressure.
You can lower your risk of high blood pressure by leading a healthy lifestyle. If you have high blood pressure, medicines and a healthy lifteyle will help to lower it.
These tests help your doctor to:
You may need more detailed investigations, your doctor will discuss these with you. Find out more about if you have high blood pressure.
Pearls And Other Issues
Isolated systolic hypertension is common in the elderly population. SBP has a better prediction for the risk of cardiovascular disease as compared to DBP. Hence, treatment of isolated systolic hypertension is beneficial to reduce all-cause mortality and cardiovascular risk, and stroke. The optimal SBP remained unclear, but an SBP goal of less than 140 mmHg and keeping DBP at 70 mmHg or higher are considered appropriate in most patient populations.
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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 .
Blood Pressure Checks During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant, you should have your blood pressure checked on a regular basis, even if it is not high.
Watching your blood pressure while you are pregnant reduces your risk of developing pregnancy-induced hypertension. This can lead to a serious condition called pre-eclampsia where there is a problem with the placenta .
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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.
Treatments For Sudden Rise In Blood Pressure
A rise in already high blood pressure requires immediate medical attention. You can expect to have intravenous therapy and tests to determine what caused the spike in your pressure. Once your pressure is stabilized to a satisfactory level, then your doctor will discuss further treatment. Depending on your current health condition and any issues aside from high blood pressure, your treatment will vary.For example, if there is fluid in your lungs, you will be treated with prescribed diuretics to remove the fluid. If there is damage to your heart, you will be prescribed specific heart medication. Medications you may be taking may need to be adjusted or changed to another type, depending on your test results. Any kidney damage or tumors may require surgery.
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