Your Blood Pressure Consists Of 2 Numbers:
The first number measures the force as your heart beats. This is called systolic pressure.
The second number measures the force as your heart relaxes. This is called diastolic pressure. Someone with a systolic pressure of 120 and a diastolic pressure of 80 has a blood pressure of 120/80, or 120 over 80.
An ideal blood pressure for an adult is less than 120/80. You have high blood pressure if your top number is 130 or higher, or your bottom number is 80 or higher, or both.
High Blood Pressure In Kids And Teens
Too many kids and teens have high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Using the updated 2017 American Academy of Pediatrics Clinical Practice Guidelineexternal icon, a CDC study shows that about 1 in 25 youth ages 12 to 19 have hypertension, and 1 in 10 has elevated blood pressure . High blood pressure is more common in youth with obesity.
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.
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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 medicine youve started taking is causing increased blood pressure, your doctor will try other medicines 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.
Many people go through a trial-and-error phase with blood pressure medications. You may need to try different medicines until you find one or a combination of medications that work for you.
Some of the medications used to treat hypertension include:
Healthy lifestyle changes can help you control the factors that cause hypertension. Here are some of the most common home remedies.
Classification Of Blood Pressure
Blood pressure in adults is classified as normal, elevated blood pressure, stage 1 hypertension, or stage 2 hypertension.
However, the higher the blood pressure, the greater the risk of complicationseven within the normal blood pressure rangeso these limits are somewhat arbitrary.
Stage 2 high blood pressure
140 or higher
90 or higher
* People who have systolic and diastolic blood pressures in different categories are considered to be in the higher blood pressure category.
Information is based on the 2017 Guidelines for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults issued by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.
A hypertensive urgency is diastolic blood pressure that is more than 120 mm Hg but has not yet caused any organ damage that is apparent to people or their doctors. A hypertensive urgency usually does not cause symptoms.
A hypertensive emergency is a particularly severe form of high blood pressure. Diastolic blood pressure is at least 120 mm Hg, and there is evidence of progressive damage in one or more vital organs , often accompanied by a variety of symptoms. Hypertensive emergencies are uncommon, but they are several times more common among blacks than among whites, among men than among women, and among people in lower socioeconomic groups than among those in higher socioeconomic groups. If untreated, a hypertensive emergency can be fatal.
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High Blood Pressure Threatens Your Health And Quality Of Life
In most cases, the damage done by high blood pressure takes place over time. Left undetected , high blood pressure can lead to:
- Heart attack High blood pressure damages arteries that can become blocked and prevent blood flow to the heart muscle.
- Stroke High blood pressure can cause blood vessels in the brain to clog more easily or even burst.
- Heart failure The increased workload from high blood pressure can cause the heart to enlarge and fail to supply blood to the body.
- Kidney disease or failure High blood pressure can damage the arteries around the kidneys and interfere with their ability to filter blood effectively.
- Vision loss High blood pressure can strain or damage blood vessels in the eyes.
- Sexual dysfunction High blood pressure can lead to erectile dysfunction in men or lower libido in women.
- Angina Over time, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease or microvascular disease . Angina, or chest pain, is a common symptom.
- Peripheral artery disease Atherosclerosis caused by high blood pressure can cause a narrowing of arteries in the legs, arms, stomach and head, causing pain or fatigue.
How Does Blood Pressure Work
Blood pressure is the force against blood vessel walls as the heart pumps blood. When the heart squeezes and pushes blood into the vessels, blood pressure goes up. It comes down when the heart relaxes.
Blood pressure changes from minute to minute. It’s affected by activity and rest, body temperature, diet, emotions, posture, and medicines.
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Nix Your Nicotine Addiction
This is an absolute non-negotiable you mustquit smoking, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Each cigarette you smoke temporarily raises blood pressure for several minutes after you finish. If youre a heavy smoker, your blood pressure can stay elevated for extended periods of time.
People with high blood pressure who smoke are at greater risk for developing dangerously high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.
Even secondhand smoke can put you at increased risk for high blood pressure and heart disease.
Aside from providing numerous other health benefits, quitting smoking can help your blood pressure return to normal.
So when it comes to quitting smoking, its all hands on deck do whatever it takes to break this deadly habit. In just a week or so Dr. Nancy will dedicate a complete series to breaking the cycle of addiction, and that will include an episode to help and support you through the process of quitting smoking!
High Blood Pressure In Pregnancy
In the United States, high blood pressure happens in 1 in every 12 to 17 pregnancies.Its important to monitor blood pressure before, during, and after pregnancy. This is because high blood pressure during pregnancy can harm a mothers kidneys and other organs and can cause early birth and low birth weight.
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Common Causes Of High Blood Pressure Spikes
Some people with high blood pressure will experience sharp rises in their blood pressure. These spikes, which typically last only a short period of time, are also known as sudden high blood pressure. These are some possible causes:
- Certain medications or combinations of medications
- Chronic kidney disease
What Is Atherosclerosis And How Is It Related To High Blood Pressure
One of the most serious health problems related to untreated high blood pressure is atherosclerosis, or plaque build-up in the arteries. When those blockages occur in the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle, the end result is called coronary artery disease.
People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop coronary artery disease, because high blood pressure puts added force against the artery walls. Over time, this extra pressure can damage the arteries, making them more vulnerable to the narrowing and plaque buildup associated with atherosclerosis. The narrowed artery limits or blocks the flow of blood to the heart muscle, depriving the heart of oxygen.
When the process is advanced enough, patients can experience angina, or chest pain, when they exert themselves. The hardened surface of the artery can also encourage the formation of small blood clots, potentially leading to a heart attack or stroke.
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What Is Considered High Blood Pressure For Older Adults
Recent updates to guidelines from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology changed the definition of high blood pressure or hypertension for most people. High blood pressure is now generally defined as 130 or higher for the first number, or 80 or higher for the second number . However, there are important considerations for older adults in deciding whether to start treatment for high blood pressure, including other health conditions and overall fitness. If your blood pressure is above 130/80, your doctor will evaluate your health to determine what treatment is needed to balance risks and benefits in your particular situation.
What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Each time your heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure. When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is called diastolic pressure.
Your blood pressure reading uses these two numbers. Usually the systolic number comes before or above the diastolic number. For example, 120/80 means a systolic of 120 and a diastolic of 80.
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What Are Uncontrollable Risk Factors
- Race – African Americans develop high blood pressure more often than whites, and it tends to occur earlier and be more severe.
- Heredity – A tendency to have high blood pressure runs in families. If your parents or other close blood relatives have it, youre more likely to develop it.
- Age – In general, the older you get, the greater your chance of developing high blood pressure. It occurs most often in people over age 35. Men seem to develop it most often between age 35 and 50. Women are more likely to develop it after menopause.
*BMI is used to define nutritional status and is derived from the following formula: BMI = 703 x Body Weight divided by The standards are the same for men and women. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight.
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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Know When To Call For Help For Complications
Readings above 180/120 mm Hg are dangerously high and require immediate medical attention. Blood pressure this high can damage your organs. if you experience:
- A sudden, severe headache
- Difficulty breathing
- Sudden, severe pain in your abdomen, chest, or back
High blood pressure can also lead to heart attack or stroke. if you suspect this is happening to you or someone else.
The signs and symptoms of a heart attack include:
- Nausea, vomiting, light-headedness or fainting, or breaking out in a cold sweat. These symptoms of a heart attack are more common in women.
- Prolonged or severe chest pain or discomfort not relieved by rest or nitroglycerin. This involves uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center or left side of the chest that can be mild or strong. This pain or discomfort often lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
- Shortness of breath. This may accompany chest discomfort or happen before it.
- Upper body discomfort. This can be felt in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach.
If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and perform the following simple test.
What Are The Different Types Of High Blood Pressure
There are two main types of high blood pressure: primary and secondary high blood pressure.
- Primary, or essential, high blood pressure is the most common type of high blood pressure. For most people who get this kind of blood pressure, it develops over time as you get older.
- Secondary high blood pressure is caused by another medical condition or use of certain medicines. It usually gets better after you treat that condition or stop taking the medicines that are causing it.
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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.
Finding The Link Between Fat And High Blood Pressure
- Medical College Of Georgia
- How fat contributes to high blood pressure is the focus of a new study at the Medical College of Georgia that is part of a National Institutes of Health initiative to understand the relationship between obesity and cardiovascular disease.
How fat contributes to high blood pressure is the focus of a new study at the Medical College of Georgia that is part of a National Institutes of Health initiative to understand the relationship between obesity and cardiovascular disease.
“You have obesity and you have hypertension. Where is the link?” says Dr. Gregory A. Harshfield, principal investigator on the $1.4 million grant from the NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute that will study 160 adolescents, half lean and half overweight or obese, in pursuit of that link. Dr. Paule Barbeau, exercise physiologist, is a co-investigator
Obesity is a risk factor for high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
The Augusta researchers and others leaders in the field of hypertension say that obesity may increase pressure by increasing volume rather than constriction.
“We think it’s increased volume because of sodium handling,” Dr. Harshfield says. “When we put people under stress, the normal response is to increase your blood pressure through vasoconstriction.” The kidneys also hold onto sodium to help increase blood volume throughout the body. As the stress ends, so should these normal physiological responses.
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You Have Another Health Conditionor You Take One Of These Meds
If you do have high blood pressure, your doctor will likely take into consideration the range of other diseases and disorders that, when poorly managed, cause your blood pressure to become elevated. These include thyroid problems, renovascular disease, Cushings syndrome, and a number of others. The key to all these conditions is the correct diagnosis, says Dr. Beniaminovitz. When the proper diagnosis is made, working with your doctor to reverse and or treat these conditions often cures high blood pressure.
BP fix: Document symptoms that seem unusual.
If your doc says your BP is high, bring up any strange symptoms that could indicate an underlying cause , and always provide them with a list of your current medications and supplements.
If your meds are the issue, ideally they would be discontinued or changed to ones that have no or less effect on blood pressure, says Dr. Beniaminovitz. If a change in medication is not possible, often your doctor will prescribe optimal lifestyle and blood pressure medication to combat the effects.