Change In Mental Status
This can be a difficult symptom to deal with because when we become confused we may not be able to respond with appropriate judgment. Its important that people who are usually around you are able to recognize the signs of changes in mental status: muddled thinking, changes in speech, unusual behavior and even simply reduced activity. There are many other possible causes for this symptom besides hypertension, including stroke or possibly an unreported head injury, so always seek medical attention if you experience changes in consciousness. Make sure that family members and caregivers know what to watch for, and know that any sign of quickly changing mental status is an emergency that requires immediate medical response.
Risks Of High Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes.
Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, such as:
- have a relative with high blood pressure
- are of black African or black Caribbean descent
- live in a deprived area
Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high.
What Is High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is blood pressure that is higher than normal. Your blood pressure changes throughout the day based on your activities. Having blood pressure measures consistently above normal may result in a diagnosis of high blood pressure .
Your health care team can diagnose high blood pressure and make treatment decisions by reviewing your systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels and comparing them to levels found in certain guidelines.
The guidelines used to diagnose high blood pressure may differ from health care professional to health care professional:
- Some health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 140/90 mm Hg or higher.2 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2003, as seen in the table below.
- Other health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 130/80 mm Hg or higher.1 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2017, as seen in the table below.
|systolic: 130 mm Hg or higherdiastolic: 80 mm Hg or higher|
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, talk with your health care team about your blood pressure levels and how these levels affect your treatment plan.
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Healthy And Unhealthy Blood Pressure Ranges
Learn whats considered normal, as recommended by the American Heart Association.
|SYSTOLIC mm Hg||and/or||DIASTOLIC mm Hg|
|HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE STAGE 1||130 139|
|HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE STAGE 2||140 OR HIGHER|
|HYPERTENSIVE CRISIS||HIGHER THAN 180||and/or||HIGHER THAN 120|
Note: A diagnosis of high blood pressure must be confirmed with a medical professional. A doctor should also evaluate any unusually low blood pressure readings.
The five blood pressure ranges as recognized by the American Heart Association are:
How Is High Blood Pressure Treated
If high blood pressure is due to a condition like kidney disease or lung disease, treating it might be enough to get the blood pressure back to normal.
Doctors also might recommend lifestyle changes. If you have hypertension, your doctor might want you to:
Eat a healthy diet:
- Eat more fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy.
- Limit salt.
- Avoid alcohol.
Get regular exercise:
- Try to exercise for 3060 minutes at least 3 times a week. But teens with severe hypertension should not do any weightlifting or power-lifting, bodybuilding, or strength training until their blood pressure is under control and a doctor says it’s OK.
- People with high blood pressure should not smoke, and their home and car should be smoke-free.
If diet and exercise changes do not improve the blood pressure, doctors may prescribe medicine.
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What Else Will Help
If these strategies dont reduce your blood pressure, your doctor may feel its necessary to prescribe more pills. But dont despair. “No matter what you are taking now, your doctor should be able to make affordable changes in your blood pressure medications to bring down your numbers,” Dr. Bhatt says.
What Type Of Diet Should I Follow If I Have High Blood Pressure
A healthy diet, such as the DASH diet, is effective in helping to lower high blood pressure. The DASH diet calls for a certain number of daily servings from various food groups, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
The following steps can also help:
- Eating more fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods
- Eating less of foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, such as fried foods
- Eating more whole grain products, fish, poultry, and nuts
- Eating less red meat and sweets
- Eating foods that are high in magnesium, potassium, and calcium
- Eating foods with less sodium
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What Is The Treatment For High Blood Pressure
Lifestyle changes are key to keeping normal blood pressure. In fact, most doctors will suggest them before prescribing drugs. Lifestyle changes are also the recommended treatment for elevated blood pressure, a condition in which blood pressure readings are higher than 120 over 80 and regularly over 130/80.
Women should talk with a doctor about the the higher risk of high blood pressure from taking birth control pills, especially if they’re over 35 and overweight.
If lifestyle changes arenât enough to lower your blood pressure, your doctor might recommend medication.
Blood pressure medications do not cure hypertension but help keep it in a healthier range. They usually need to be taken for life. A number of drugs can be used alone or in combination to treat high blood pressure:
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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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.
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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Eat More Foods High In Magnesium
A small study in the International Journal of Hypertension found magnesium supplementation can reduce blood pressure in small amountsNguyen H, Odelola OA, Rangaswami J, Amanullah A. A Review of Nutritional Factors in Hypertension Management. International Journal of Hypertension. 2013 698940. . Talk to your doctor before taking magnesium supplements, especially if you have kidney disease. You can also safely incorporate high-magnesium foods into your diet. Dr. Desai recommends foods like leafy green vegetables and unsalted almonds.
How To Lower Blood Pressure
There are lots of things you can do to lower your blood pressure.
If your doctor has given you blood pressure medication, take it as prescribed. However, you’ll also need to follow a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with hypertension, following these tips will be good for your blood pressure and good for your heart.
Stopping smoking is a great thing you can do for your blood pressure and your heart health.
Ask your doctor or nurse for help.
Phone Quitline 0800 778 778, or visit quit.org.nz for information and support.
Eat more heart-healthy foods and less salt
What you put into your body can make a big difference to your blood pressure.
Eat a wide variety of heart-healthy foods like:
- whole grains
Read more about the benefits of exercise.
Researchers are still trying to understand the exact link between stress and long-term high blood pressure. However being stressed contributes to other risk factors like poor diet and drinking more alcohol.
You can’t always remove the sources of stress in your life. But here are some things you can do to manage them.
- Enjoy exercise every day, like taking a walk.
- Take a break for yourself.
- Get 7-8 hours plus sleep each night.
- Talk about how you are feeling.
- Try relaxation music or breathing exercises.
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How To Lower Blood Pressure: 5 Natural Ways
Studies over the past 20 years have shown that the majority of people in economic developing countries have blood pressure numbers that are higher than they should be, with many experiencing high blood pressure.
In fact, there are millions of people all over the world who are struggling with high blood pressure symptoms, or hypertension. As of 2008, the prevalence of elevated blood pressure among adults over 25 years old was about 40 percent worldwide. Approximately 75 million American adults thats 32 percent, or 1 in every 3 adults suffer from high blood pressure.
What Medications Are Used To Treat High Blood Pressure
Four classes of high blood pressure medications are considered first line when starting treatment. Sometimes other medications are coupled with these first-line drugs to better control your high blood pressure. First-line, pressure-lowering medications are:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors block the production of the angiotensin II hormone, which the body naturally uses to control blood pressure. When angiotensin II is blocked, your blood vessels dont narrow. Examples: lisinopril , enalapril or captopril.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers block this same hormone from binding with receptors in the blood vessels. ARBs work the same way as ACE inhibitors to keep blood vessels from narrowing. Examples: metoprolol , valsartan or losartan.
- Calcium channel blockers prevent calcium from entering the muscle cells of your heart and blood vessels, allowing these vessels to relax. Examples: amlodipine , nifedipine , diltiazem .
- Diuretics flush excess sodium from your body, reducing the amount of fluid in your blood. Diuretics are often used with other high blood pressure medicines, sometimes in one combined pill. Examples: indapamide, hydrochlorothiazide or chlorothiazide.
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Choosing A Blood Pressure Monitor
If you’re planning to take your blood pressure at home, it’s important to have a reliable blood pressure monitor. The AHA recommends an automatic, cuff-style, bicep monitor, but there are other options.
When selecting a blood pressure monitor, consider the following:
- Fit: To ensure a proper fit, measure around your upper arm and choose a monitor that comes with the correct size cuff.
- Number of people: If more than one person will be using the monitor, make sure to choose one that fits everyone.
- Features: Some blood pressure monitors offer extra tech features, like Bluetooth and app connectivity. If you don’t think you’ll benefit from these extras, go ahead and choose one that is efficient, easy to use, and more affordable.
- Budget: High-quality blood pressure monitors vary dramatically in price, from around $25 to well over $100. Keep in mind that a good monitor is a great investment and that you will be using it daily for several years.
- Other considerations: The AHA notes that when selecting a blood pressure monitor for a senior, pregnant person, or child, you should make sure it is validated for these conditions.
If you need help selecting an at-home device, check out these blood pressure monitors, which were vetted by the Verywell team based on the above criteria.
What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is a combination of systolic and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure represents blood force, or pressure, while the heart is beating and diastolic pressure stands for blood pressure when the heart is at rest.
Systolic pressure is always the first or top measurement in a blood pressure reading. In a reading of 130/80, 130 represents systolic pressure and 80 represents diastolic pressure. In prehypertension, systolic numbers range from 120129 and diastolic numbers are less than 80.
Blood pressure ranges include:
- Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg
- Prehypertension: Systolic between 120129 and diastolic less than 80
- Stage 1 high blood pressure: Systolic between 130139 or diastolic between 8089
- Stage 2 high blood pressure: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg
Numbers for stage 1 hypertension vary from 130139 for systolic values and/or 8089 in diastolic numbers. With stage 2 hypertension, systolic readings are 140 or higher and/or diastolic readings measure 90 or higher. Although both numbers are significant, after about age 50, the systolic number is most important. Only 10 percent of high blood pressure cases are due to secondary or identifiable causes such as medications, or conditions and diseases of other organs.
Results of high blood pressure include:
- Arterial damage
- Heavy-metal poisoning
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What Is Considered A High Blood Pressure Reading
If youre new to performing your own blood pressure readings, it can be helpful to understand what exactly your blood pressure reading is telling you. Your reading will be comprised of two numbers. The American Heart Association explains that the top number represents your systolic pressure or the pressure when your heart beats. The bottom number represents your diastolic pressure which is the pressure when your heart is in between beats.
For the average adult, a normal blood pressure reading is below 120 over 80 . If you have higher than normal blood pressure, it can range anywhere from elevated blood pressure to hypertensive crisis. According to Healthline, a person with elevated pressure may just need to adapt a to get their pressure to a healthy range, while hypertensive crisis warrants a trip to the emergency room. Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure and there are various degrees of severity which will impact what type of treatment plan your doctor prescribes.
The chart below helps explain what high blood pressure is:
How To Monitor Your Blood Pressure
You can monitor your own blood pressure at home using a home blood pressure monitor. The American Heart Association recommends using an automatic, cuff-style bicep monitor. Make sure you buy a monitor that has been validated and with a cuff that fits properly around your upper arm. Then follow these simple steps:
- Dont exercise, eat, drink caffeinated beverages, or smoke within 30 minutes of measuring your blood pressure.
- Sit still with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Follow your monitors instructions or ask your doctor how to use it correctly.
- Make sure you check your blood pressure at the same time each day.
- Check your blood pressure two or three times each time you sit down to measure it. Wait one minute in between each reading. Be sure to track your measurements, either writing them down in a journal or using an online tracker.
You may be wondering how to lower blood pressure. Below are my top natural ways to lower blood pressure, and by the way, it should happen fast! Some plans can take months to see results. With my tips, some of which revolve around anti-inflammatory foods, you can see results in just one day.
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What Are The Side Effects Of High Blood Pressure Drugs
As is true with any medication, high blood pressure drugs have side effects. Among the most common are the following:
- Diuretics: headache, weakness, low potassium blood levels
- Angiotensin receptor blockers: fatigue, dizziness or fainting, diarrhea, congestion, high potassium blood levels
- Calcium channel blockers: dizziness, heart rhythm problems, ankle swelling, constipation
- Beta-blockers: dizziness or lightheadedness, decreased sexual ability, drowsiness, fatigue, low heart rate
- Alpha-blockers: dizziness, headache, pounding heartbeat, nausea, weakness, weight gain
When Should I Call My Doctor About High Blood Pressure
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s important to see your doctor on a regular basis. They can answer your questions during these visits.
However, there may be other times when you may need to speak to your doctor. For instance:
- If you aren’t responding to the prescribed treatment and your blood pressure is still high
- If you are having any side effects from the blood pressure medication if this happens, your doctor may wish to adjust the dosage of the medication or put you on another medication.
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Drink Alcohol In Moderation
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol will increase your blood pressure and raise the cholesterol levels in your blood.
Sticking to the recommended amounts of alcohol consumption is the best way to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure.
The recommended daily limits of alcohol consumption are:
- 3 to 4 units of alcohol for men
- 2 to 3 units of alcohol for women.
A unit of alcohol is equal to about half a pint of normal-strength lager, a small glass of wine or a pub measure or spirits.
More about drinking alcohol reponsibly