Diagnosing High Blood Pressure
Diagnosing hypertension is as simple as taking a blood pressure reading. Most doctors offices check blood pressure as part of a routine visit. If you dont receive a blood pressure reading at your next appointment, request one.
If your blood pressure is elevated, your doctor may request you have more readings over the course of a few days or weeks. A hypertension diagnosis is rarely given after just one reading.
Your doctor needs to see evidence of a sustained problem. Thats because your environment can contribute to increased blood pressure, like the stress you may feel by being at the doctors office. Also, blood pressure levels change throughout the day.
If your blood pressure remains high, your doctor will likely conduct more tests to rule out underlying conditions. These tests can include:
- cholesterol screening and other blood tests
- test of your hearts electrical activity with an electrocardiogram
- ultrasound of your heart or kidneys
- home blood pressure monitor to monitor your blood pressure over a 24-hour period at home
These tests can help your doctor identify any secondary issues causing your elevated blood pressure. They can also look at the effects high blood pressure may have had on your organs.
During this time, your doctor may begin treating your hypertension. Early treatment may reduce your risk of lasting damage.
Pressure In Head And Eyes
Head pressure accompanied by eye pressure can be a sign of eye strain, allergies, or sinus infections. Migraines and other headaches can also cause eye-related symptoms.
Some causes of head pressure and pain dont require medical treatment. Home remedies and lifestyle changes may help to improve your symptoms.
Here are a few things to try if you suffer from chronic tension headaches:
- Treat sore muscles with ice or heat.
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.
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How Is Hyperglycemia Diagnosed
If you have diabetes and notice a sudden change in your blood sugar levels during your home monitoring, you should alert your doctor of your symptoms. The increase in blood sugar may affect your treatment plan.
Regardless of whether you have diabetes, if you begin experiencing any symptoms of hyperglycemia, you should speak to your doctor. Before going to your appointment, you should note what symptoms youre experiencing. You should also consider these questions:
- Has your diet changed?
- Have you had enough water to drink?
- Are you under a lot of stress?
- Were you just in the hospital for surgery?
- Were you involved in an accident?
Once at your doctors appointment, your doctor will discuss all of your concerns. Theyll perform a brief physical exam and discuss your family history. Your doctor will also discuss your target blood sugar level.
If youre age 59 or younger, a safe blood sugar range is generally between 80 and 120 milligrams per deciliter . This is also the projected range for people who dont have any underlying medical conditions.
People who are age 60 or older and those who have other medical conditions or concerns may have levels between 100 and 140 mg/dL.
Your doctor may conduct an A1C test to determine what your average blood sugar level has been in recent months. This is done by measuring the amount of blood sugar attached to the oxygen-carrying protein hemoglobin in your red blood cells.
How Does High Blood Pressure Cause Headaches
Pain levels depend on how high someones blood pressure is. Hypertension headaches may range from mild to severe and are regulated by how much blood is reaching the brain. During times of high blood pressure, blood vessels running through the tissue under the skull constrict or tighten, leading to headache development.
It is also possible for blood pressure medication to cause headaches. Checking blood pressure during headaches can be a good indicator of whether it is caused by abnormal blood pressure levels.
Some medical professionals believe that having a headache due to high blood pressure is a sign of a hypertensive crisis, which is when blood pressure spikes to critical levels.
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How Do You Get Rid Of A High Blood Pressure Headache
There are many causes of a high blood pressure headache. If you have high blood pressure, you are more likely to have headaches. Stress, alcohol, caffeine and missing meals can cause a dangerous rise in blood pressure. The general guideline is to avoid all caffeine, alcohol, and sweets. Get plenty of sleep and walk around for at least 30 minutes every day to get rid of the high blood pressure headache..
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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Treatment Options For Head Pressure And Pain
The treatment your doctor will recommend depends on the underlying cause of head pressure and pain.
When headaches occur on a regular basis, your doctor might prescribe medication to help prevent them. These include antidepressants, anticonvulsants, muscle relaxants, and other pain relievers. If your headaches are disrupting your daily life, your doctor will likely be able to help.
Lifestyle changes and alternative therapies are also effective in treating tension headaches. Alternative therapies primarily focus on relieving stress and tension. These include:
High Blood Pressure Diagnosis
In the absence of any symptoms, the only way to tell if your blood pressure is too high is to know your numbers. Your doctor will take your blood pressure during your well visits, but taking it at home will also give you an idea of where you stand.
Technique matters when you measure your own blood pressure, Dr. Nambi says.
Take it in a quiet spot with your feet on the ground and make sure to use the correct cuff size. Take two readings and use the average of both. Getting a home blood pressure monitor is helpful as some people are nervous when they see a doctor and will develop white coat hypertension, he adds. White coat hypertension is a situation in which blood pressure can climb in a doctors officepossibly just from the stress of having it takenbut an individual doesnt have high blood pressure at other times.
Dont take your blood pressure when drinking coffee, watching the news, or doing anything that is overly stimulating or stressful as that can skew the results, he says.
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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.
The Ideal Blood Pressure Levels
Maximum blood pressure values of 120/80 when physically at rest are considered ideal for an adult. Blood pressure levels up to 139/89 are within the normal range that do not pose any health risk. Levels over 129/84, however, are already considered in the elevated-normal range.
Blood pressure readings over 159/99 are considered to be minor hypertension and require a medical attention to avoid harmful complications.
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Causes Of High Blood Pressure
Although the exact cause is unknown, certain conditions, traits or habits may raise your risk for the condition. These are known as risk factors and include:
Non-modifiable risk factors: These factors are irreversible and cannot be changed. The more of these risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing HBP.
- Starting at age 18, ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading at least every two years. If you’re age 40 or older, or you’re 18 to 39 with a high risk of high blood pressure, ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading every year.
- Family history/Genetics
- African Americans and non-white Hispanic Americans are at higher risk for developing high blood pressure than any other group in the U.S.
Modifiable risk factors: These factors can be modified, treated or controlled through medications or lifestyle changes.
- Excessive alcohol consumption over many years.
- Little to no physical activity
- Excessive amounts of salt in diet that excess the recommended amounts of 1,500 to 2,300 mg of sodium per day.
- Long history of smoking and/or drug abuse
- Extreme emotional stress
Other conditions that contribute to developing high blood pressure
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 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.
What Happens During A Blood Pressure Check
The most common method of measuring blood pressure is with a sphygmomanometer, which is made up of a stethoscope, arm cuff, dial, pump, and valve.
During the test, the cuff is wrapped around the upper part of one of your arms, held out at the same level as your heart. The cuff is inflated, either manually or automatically. Try to use a pillow or the armrest of a chair to support your arm.
The cuff temporarily restricts blood flow, and the tightness may be uncomfortable at first, but this will only last a few seconds. Following that, the pressure in the cuff is gradually released, and monitors detect movements in your arteries to gauge your blood pressure.
The most reliable measurement is believed to be resting blood pressure. To get an accurate figure, it is important for your blood pressure measurements to be taken in a calm, warm atmosphere. You may be asked to sit quietly for a few minutes with your feet supported. Your doctor may take about two blood pressure measurements, ideally five minutes apart. If the values differ by over 5 mm Hg, they may take more measurements until they get more similar readings. The goal is to obtain a consistent reading rather than average a wide range of numbers.
You should avoid drinking caffeine and smoking before taking the test, and your doctor will advise of any other requirements.
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What Can I Do To Prevent Or Manage High Blood Pressure
Many people with high blood pressure can lower their blood pressure into a healthy range or keep their numbers in a healthy range by making lifestyle changes. Talk with your health care team about
- Getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week
- Not smoking
- Managing stress
In addition to making positive lifestyle changes, some people with high blood pressure need to take medicine to manage their blood pressure. Learn more about medicines for high blood pressure.
Talk with your health care team right away if you think you have high blood pressure or if youve been told you have high blood pressure but do not have it under control.
What Does A Dehydration Headache Feel Like
A dehydration headache can come on at any age and for reasons other than dehydration. Typically the headache strikes after you have been out in the sun for a long time and it gets worse if you go inside or a cool environment. The pain is usually in the front or back of the head . The pain can feel like a throbbing , pulsing and feel like an ache. These symptoms are similar to a sinus headache , but it differs because it feels like a pressure in your head and not on the outside of the head. The pain could get so bad that it gets difficult to concentrate. The pain can last a few days, even after you get some hydration in your body. The good news is that it is rare to develop a headache that lasts longer than a few days. If you are not sweating and you have lost more than two pounds in one day, that is a sign that you should get more fluids..
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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 .
What You Can Do Now
Your doctor will provide you with clear steps to follow aimed at lowering your blood sugar levels. Its important that you take their recommendations to heart and make any necessary lifestyle changes to improve your health. If left untreated, hyperglycemia can lead to serious, and sometimes life-threatening, complications.
Your doctor may recommend that you buy a blood glucose meter to use at home. This is a simple and effective way to monitor your blood sugar and act quickly if your levels have spiked to an unsafe level. Being aware of your levels can empower you to take charge of your condition and live a healthy lifestyle.
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High Blood Pressure Treatment
The best way to lower blood pressure begins with changes you can make to your lifestyle to help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. Additionally, your doctor may prescribe medicine to lower your blood pressure. These are called antihypertensive medicines.
The goal of treatment is to reduce your blood pressure to normal levels. Your doctor may prescribe medicine thats easy to take and has few, if any, side effects. This treatment is highly successful. If your blood pressure can only be controlled with medicine, youll need to take the medicine for the rest of your life. It is common to need more than one medicine to help control your blood pressure. Dont stop taking the medicine without talking with your doctor. Otherwise, you may increase your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
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 its already high.
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