Whats A Normal Reading
For a normal reading, your blood pressure needs to show a top number thats between 90 and less than 120 and a bottom number thats between 60 and less than 80. The American Heart Association considers blood pressure to be within the normal range when both your systolic and diastolic numbers are in these ranges.
Blood pressure readings are expressed in millimeters of mercury. This unit is abbreviated as mm Hg. A normal reading would be any blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg and above 90/60 mm Hg in an adult.
If youre in the normal range, no medical intervention is needed. However, you should maintain a healthy lifestyle and healthy weight to help prevent hypertension from developing. Regular exercise and healthy eating can also help. You may need to be even more mindful of your lifestyle if hypertension runs in your family.
How Can You Reduce Your Risk Of High Blood Pressure
Fortunately, there are certain things you can do to help reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure. These include the following:
- Eat right: A healthy diet is an important step in keeping your blood pressure normal. The DASH diet emphasizes adding fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your diet while reducing the amount of sodium. Since it is 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.
- Keep a healthy weight: Going hand-in-hand with a proper diet is keeping a healthy weight. Since being overweight increases your blood pressure, losing excess weight with diet and exercise will help lower your blood pressure to healthier levels.
- Cut down on salt: The recommendation for salt in your diet is to have less than 2,400 milligrams of sodium a day . To prevent hypertension, you should keep your salt intake below this level. 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 do not add salt at the table.
- Keep active: Even simple physical activities, such as walking, can lower your blood pressure .
- Drinkalcoholin moderation: Having more than one drink a day and two drinks a day can raise blood pressure.
What Diet Helps Control High Blood Pressure
- 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 1500 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 do not add salt at the table.
- Avoid or cut down on 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 it is 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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Why Should I Monitor My Blood Pressure At Home
Even if your doctor takes your blood pressure in the clinic, monitoring your blood pressure at home can be useful whether or not you have hypertension.
It can tell you if your blood pressure is changing over time, which is important because your risk for hypertension increases as you age.
It can come in handy while youre exercising, and tell you if youre exercising at a healthy and safe intensity level.
If your doctor suspects that you have hypertension, it can give them a better sense of what your blood pressure is like on a normal basis.
If you have hypertension, it can help your doctor see if your treatment plan is working. Current guidelines recommend that patients with hypertension aim for a blood pressure lower than 130/80 mmHg, with the help of lifestyle changes and medications.
If you take blood pressure medications, it can be especially helpful if you experience symptoms like headaches or dizziness. Low blood pressure readings during those times can alert your doctor to adjust the dose of your medication or give you a different drug to try. No matter what, do not change how youre taking your medications without talking to your doctor. Call your doctor immediately if you find that your blood pressure is too high or too low, or if you experience symptoms like headaches, dizziness, or fainting.
Heart Attack And Heart Disease
High blood pressure can damage your arteries by making them less elastic, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and leads to heart disease. In addition, decreased blood flow to the heart can cause:
- Chest pain, also called angina.
- Heart attack, which happens when the blood supply to your heart is blocked and heart muscle begins to die without enough oxygen. The longer the blood flow is blocked, the greater the damage to the heart.
- Heart failure, a condition that means your heart cant pump enough blood and oxygen to your other organs.
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Who Is At Greater Risk For Developing High Blood Pressure
- Those with a relative who has high blood pressure.
- Those over 65.
- Women are at greater risk than men.
- African Americans, particularly if the disease runs in the family.
- Those leading a sedentary lifestyle.
- Those who eat too much salt.
A blood pressure evaluation should be a part of everyones yearly physical.
What The Numbers In A Blood Pressure Reading Means
There are two numbers in a blood pressure reading. The top number and bottom number 1.
The heart supplies blood to the tissues and organs of your body. To accomplish this crucial task, every time the heart beats it pumps blood into the blood vessels of the circulatory system.
As the blood moves through the vessels it puts pressure on the artery walls. The blood pressure measurements indicate the pressure on the blood vessel walls.
What does the systolic number mean? The systolic number indicates the pressure on the artery walls when the heart beats pumping out blood.
What does the diastolic number mean? The diastolic number indicates the pressure on the artery walls when the heart is resting between beats.
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What Does It Mean When The Bottom Number Of Your Blood Pressure Is Over 100
When the bottom number of blood pressure is over 100 mmHg, it may be called diastolic hypertension . The normal range of diastolic pressure should be 60 to 80 mmHg in adults. Anything above this is considered abnormal . However, when blood pressure readings are above 180/120 mmHg, they are dangerous and require immediate medical attention.
Causes of DHT
DHT is most commonly associated with
- Increased body mass index
- Increased glucose level
- Certain factors such as male gender may put you at a slightly higher risk.
Treatment options for DHT
- Because the risk of cardiovascular events is low in young people, no treatment is required. However, treatment in elderly people should be individualized in such a way that the underlying cardiovascular disease is addressed and the target DBP does not fall below 70 mmHg.
- Lifestyle measures and weight loss must be initiated.
- A study on DHT reported that calcium channel blockers are frequently used with success. Other drugs of choice are angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers and diuretics.
Lack Of Physical Activity
A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to several health issues, including high blood pressure.
According to the AHA, physical activity can help a person lower their blood pressure. It can also improve their heart health and reduce their weight.
The AHA recommend 150 minutes a week of moderate-to-intense physical activity, such as walking briskly, running, or bicycling.
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How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. So the only way to find out if you have it is to get regular blood pressure checks from your health care provider. Your provider will use a gauge, a stethoscope or electronic sensor, and a blood pressure cuff. He or she will take two or more readings at separate appointments before making a diagnosis.
|Blood Pressure Category|
|and||120 or higher|
For children and teens, the health care provider compares the blood pressure reading to what is normal for other kids who are the same age, height, and sex.
What You Can Do
Treatment varies depending on your numbers, family history and other factors, such as whether youve had a heart attack or stroke, or whether you suffer from diabetes or kidney disease.
But everyone with elevated readings can benefit from lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, reducing alcohol and quitting smoking.
Like all lifestyle treatments, it takes a real commitment, Baker said.
This hard work does pay off, as results are usually seen in two or three months.
Ive seen people focus on their lifestyle and within three months, they see a five to 10 point drop, Baker said. You can see pretty quick results.
This article first appeared in the Steamboat Pilot & Today on Feb. 5, 2018.
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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 drug pressure lowering medications are:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors block the production 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 , 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 , 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, chlorothiazide.
The 411 On Blood Pressure Numbers
Youve seen blood pressure checkers at pharmacies. Your physician does this quick test at your doctors appointment. You might even have a family member or friend who has a blood pressure monitor at home and youre wondering if you should too. Often, Ill use my dads just because Im curious. So, its no surprise were both interested in what the blood pressure numbers mean.
Dr. Nadia Khan, president and chair of the board, Hypertension Canada, shares with us a quick breakdown:
The systolic blood pressure the top number is the amount of pressure or force your blood exerts on your blood vessel walls when your heart beats, says Dr. Khan. The diastolic blood pressure the bottom number is the amount of pressure or force your blood exerts on your blood vessel walls in between heart beats.
Together, these numbers show your health care provider if theres any issues. Note that the numbers are expected to be lower when you check your blood pressure at home. I did the test at my desk with a monitor sent for me to test, and my blood pressure numbers are 115/68 mmHg.
Most people, including those with kidney disease Less than 140/90 mmHg at the doctors office or
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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.
Blood Pressure Readings Explained
What do the numbers mean?
Everyone would like to have healthy blood pressure. But what exactly does that mean?
When your doctor takes your blood pressure, its expressed as a measurement with two numbers, with one number on top and one on the bottom , like a fraction. For example, 120/80 mm Hg.
The top number refers to the amount of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscle. This is called systolic pressure.
The bottom number refers to your blood pressure when your heart muscle is between beats. This is called diastolic pressure.
Both numbers are important in determining the state of your heart health.
Numbers greater than the ideal range indicate that your heart is working too hard to pump blood to the rest of your body.
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What Is A Good Blood Pressure
Its important to emphasize that a good blood pressure reading depends on your own individual health. Your provider will be able to tell you whats healthy and safe given your personal health circumstances.
Nonetheless, below are guidelines from the American Heart Association for people in general. Remember: Your blood can be temporarily high or low at times . This chart applies to how your blood pressure is normally, which is why you may want to take an average of several readings before seeing where you fall.
|Blood pressure category|
*Adapted from the American Heart Association
How Do I Choose A Blood Pressure Monitor
The first step in measuring your blood pressure at home is getting a blood pressure monitorone that is accurate, fitted, validated, and works for your lifestyle. These are some things you should consider:
Get an arm cuff Devices come in many styles these days, including ones that attach to your arm and ones that attach at your wrist. Wrist cuffs can be attractive because you dont need to roll up your sleeves to use them, but they tend to give inaccurate measurements. Go with an arm cuff instead.
Choose the right cuff size The wrong cuff size can lead to inaccurate blood pressure readings. Larger cuffs are better for larger arms, and smaller cuffs are better for smaller arms. Make sure you get a size that fits you.
Make sure the device is right for your age Devices are specific to age. Some are meant for older people, and some are meant for children. As an aside, some are even meant for women who are pregnant. Make sure to get one thats right for you.
Make sure the device is validated It may be tempting to just buy the cheapest device on the internet, but you may end up with a blood pressure device that isnt approved or validated for taking an accurate measurement. Make sure yours is validated.
Newer blood pressure devices with Bluetooth integration allow you to conveniently track your blood pressure measurements through an app. This feature makes it easy to share your records with your doctor , but it usually comes at a price.
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What Does Blood Pressure Tell You
Blood pressure measures the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries, or blood vessels. Your heart pumps blood into your arteries. And the arteries carry that blood to the rest of your body.
The top number of your blood pressure reading tells you the force of the blood against artery walls when your heart beats. It is called systolic pressure. The bottom number tells you what your blood pressure is when your heart is at rest between heartbeats. It is called diastolic pressure.
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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