Most People With Hypertension Feel Okay
Hypertension usually does not produce any symptoms, because the organs of the body can resist high blood pressure for a long time. Thats why its important to have regular medical examinations to make sure your blood pressure isnt creeping up as you grow older.High blood pressure over a period of time can contribute to many illnesses, including:
- heart attack
The effects of high blood pressure on the arteries are worsened by:
- cigarette smoking
- high levels of saturated fat in the diet
- high blood cholesterol
Responses to some types of stress may affect both blood pressure and changes in the arteries, but this remains scientifically uncertain.
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 they range from mild to serious. The forms of high blood pressure during pregnancy include:
Chronic hypertension: High blood pressure which is present before pregnancy.
Gestational hypertension: High blood pressure in the latter part of pregnancy.
Preeclampsia: This is a dangerous condition that typically develops in the latter half of pregnancy and results in hypertension, protein in the urine and generalized swelling in the pregnant person. It can affect other organs in the body and cause seizures .
Chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia: Pregnant people who have chronic hypertension are at increased risk for developing preeclampsia.
Your provider will check your blood pressure regularly during prenatal appointments, but if you have concerns about your blood pressure, be sure to talk with your provider.
Why Is Blood Pressure Sometimes High
There can be several causes of elevated blood pressure readings. Blood pressure varies throughout the day and with different levels of activity. As part of your bodys circadian rhythm, blood pressure is lowest during sleep, rises to a peak in the afternoon, and then falls through the evening.
Physical activity, stress, and anxiety and other emotions can also increase your blood pressure. Being nervous at medical appointments causes some people to have high readings. This is commonly called white coat syndrome. Caffeine, nicotine, and some over-the-counter medicines can raise it as well.
So, one high reading does not necessarily mean you have elevated blood pressure or high blood pressure. Some of these factors could be responsible for a random elevated reading.
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What Do The Readings Mean
As a general guide:
140/90mmHg or over you may have high blood pressureMost doctors use 140/90mmHg as the cut off for point for diagnosing . This is the point where your risk of serious health problems goes up. They might prescribe and advise you to make changes to your to bring your blood pressure down. 120/80mmHg up to 140/90mmHg pre-high blood pressureAlso called high-normal blood pressure. This is not high blood pressure, but it is a little higher than it should be and means you could go on to develop high blood pressure. See how you can make to lower it. 90/60mmHg up to 120/80mmHg ideal blood pressureAlso called normal blood pressure. Your blood pressure reading is healthy. At this level you have a much lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Following a will help you to keep it in the healthy range. 90/60mmHg or lower you may have low blood pressure usually isnt a problem, but it can sometimes make you feel faint or dizzy or could be a sign of another health problem.
The video below explains how your blood pressure numbers are linked to the risk of stroke and other disease.
Whats The Difference Between Blood Pressure And Pulse
Blood pressure and pulse are two measurements that a doctor may use to monitor your heart and overall health. While theyre similar, they can each say very different things about whats happening in your body.
Pulse, also called heart rate, refers to the number of times your heart beats in one minute. Typical pulse measurements range from 60 to 100 beats per minute.
Blood pressure is an estimate of the force your blood is exerting on your blood vessels. A typical value for blood pressure is 120/80. Doctors consider blood pressure to be elevated when its between 130 and 139 systolic over 80 to 89 diastolic .
If you have high blood pressure with a low pulse, it means your blood is putting increased pressure on your blood vessels, but your hearts beating fewer than 60 times per minute. Read on to learn more about what this combination means for your health.
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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.
Check Your Blood Pressure At Home
The new guidelines note that blood pressure should be measured on a regular basis and encourage people to use home blood pressure monitors. Monitors can range from $40 to $100 on average, but your insurance may cover part or all of the cost. Measure your blood pressure a few times a week and see your doctor if you notice any significant changes. Here are some tips on how to choose and use a monitor.
- Select a monitor that goes around your upper arm. Wrist and finger monitors are not as precise.
- Select an automated monitor, which has a cuff that inflates itself.
- Look for a digital readout that is large and bright enough to see clearly.
- Consider a monitor that also plugs into your smartphone to transfer the readings to an app, which then creates a graph of your progress. Some devices can send readings wirelessly to your phone.
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Causes Of Secondary Hypertension
When high blood pressure arises suddenly due to an identifiable condition, its called secondary hypertension.
Some conditions and drugs can lead to secondary hypertension, including the following:
- Kidney problems
HormonesBirth control pills can also affect blood pressure. Women who take birth control pills usually experience a small rise in systolic and diastolic blood pressure .
Hormone therapy used to relieve symptoms of menopause can also cause a small rise in systolic blood pressure.
If you know you have high blood pressure, but are considering hormone therapy, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of undergoing hormone therapy, as well as the best ways to control your blood pressure.
Additionally, some recreational and illegal drugs, such as cocaine, ecstasy , and amphetamines, are also known to increase blood pressure.
Habits For Promoting Healthy Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is greatly influenced by lifestyle, so most healthy people can properly manage blood pressure without medical intervention.
Keeping body weight within a normal range, eating a heart-healthy diet, decreasing mental stress and having a regular aerobic exercise routine can have a profound effect on blood pressure, Kazemi said.
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What Is A High Blood Pressure Reading
You will probably be diagnosed with high blood pressure if your readings are consistently 140/90mmHg or higher over a number of weeks. This is the cut-off point many GPs use for diagnosing high blood pressure.
You might also have high blood pressure if just one of the numbers is higher than it should be so if the top number is over 140mmHg or the bottom number is over 90mmHg.
A single high reading doesnt necessarily mean you have high blood pressure, as many things can affect your blood pressure throughout the day and it could just be a one-off. If you have a high reading, your doctor or nurse will want to see if it stays high over time before diagnosing high blood pressure.
How Blood Pressure Is Measured
Hypertension can be mild, moderate or severe. Your blood pressure is naturally higher when you are exerting yourself, such as during physical exercise. It is only a concern if your blood pressure is high when you are at rest, because this means your heart is overworked and your arteries have extra stress in their walls.Blood pressure readings are a combination of two measurements. These are:
- Systolic is the highest pressure against the arteries as the heart pumps. The normal systolic pressure is usually between 110 and 130mmHg.
- Diastolic is the pressure against the arteries as the heart relaxes and fills with blood. The normal diastolic pressure is usually between 70 and 80mmHg.
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How Can I Be More Active
- Check first with your healthcare provider before increasing your physical activity. Ask your provider what type and amount of exercise is right for you.
- Choose aerobic activities such as walking, biking or swimming.
- Start slowly and increase activity gradually. Aim for a regular routine of activity 5 times a week for 30 to 45 minutes each session.
Having A Blood Pressure Test
A stethoscope, arm cuff, pump and dial was normally used to measure your blood pressure, but automatic devices with sensors and digital displays are commonly used nowadays.
It’s best to sit down with your back supported and legs uncrossed for at least 5 minutes before the test.
You’ll usually need to roll up your sleeves or remove any long-sleeved clothing so the cuff can be placed around your upper arm.
Try to relax and avoid talking while the test is carried out.
During the test:
- you hold out one of your arms so it’s at the same level as your heart, and the cuff is placed around it your arm should be supported in this position with a cushion or the arm of a chair, for example
- the cuff is pumped up to restrict the blood flow in your arm this squeezing may feel a bit uncomfortable, but only lasts a few seconds
- the pressure in the cuff is slowly released and detectors sense vibrations in your arteries a doctor will use a stethoscope to detect these if your blood pressure is measured manually
- the pressure in the cuff is recorded at 2 points as the blood flow starts to return to your arm these measurements are used to give your blood pressure reading
You can usually find out your result straight away, either from the healthcare professional carrying out the test or on the digital display.
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What Should Your Blood Pressure Be
Ideally, we should all have a blood pressure reading between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
Most people in the UK have blood pressures higher than the ideal, but below the usual cut-off for diagnosing high blood pressure somewhere between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg. If youre in this range, you could develop high blood pressure in the future. Taking steps to will keep your risk of health problems down.
Achieving Blood Pressure Goals
During the preparation of the Sixth Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure , the investigators focused on the goal of reducing morbidity and mortality caused by hypertension-related events, that is, cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and renal failure. We concluded that more stringent blood pressure goals and more aggressive approaches to reducing blood pressure were needed to achieve better control of hypertension worldwide. An SBP < 140 mm Hg and a DBP < 90 mm Hg was proposed as the goal for most patients. For patients with diabetes, even lower goals for optimal blood pressure were recommended . The overriding message of the JNC VI report was to establish an appropriate blood pressure goal and work to meet that goal through aggressive treatment with multiple agents, if needed.
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What Is High Blood Pressure And Who Should Care
High blood pressure is common in the United States. In 2019, the American Heart Association reported that nearly half of all American adults have high blood pressure.
But what is high blood pressure? And who needs to be aware of it? High blood pressure is when the pressure in your blood vessels is frequently higher than normal. It tends to run in families. Depending on the cause it can affect people of any age, but its more common in older folks. Its also more common in people:
Who are black
Here well explain some symptoms of HBP, when to get medical help, and what you can do to monitor your own blood pressure and stay healthy.
High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
Some women have high blood pressure during pregnancy. This can put the mother and her baby at risk for problems during the pregnancy. High blood pressure can also cause problems during and after delivery.1,2 The good news is that high blood pressure is preventable and treatable.
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is very common. In the United States, high blood pressure happens in 1 in every 12 to 17 pregnancies among women ages 20 to 44.3
High blood pressure in pregnancy has become more common. However, with good blood pressure control, you and your baby are more likely to stay healthy.
The most important thing to do is talk with your health care team about any blood pressure problems so you can get the right treatment and control your blood pressurebefore you get pregnant. Getting treatment for high blood pressure is important before, during, and after pregnancy.
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Measure Your Blood Pressure On A Regular Basis
Measuring your blood pressure is an important step toward keeping a healthy blood pressure. Because high blood pressure and elevated blood pressure often have no symptoms, checking your blood pressure is the only way to know for sure whether it is too high.
You can measure your blood pressure at home with a home blood pressure monitor, or you can visit your doctor or nurse to have your blood pressure checked.
If you learn that you have high blood pressure, you should take steps to control your blood pressure to lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.
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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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 .
Understanding Your Blood Pressure Reading
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury and is given as 2 figures:
- systolic pressure the pressure when your heart pushes blood out
- diastolic pressure the pressure when your heart rests between beats
For example, if your blood pressure is “140 over 90”, or 140/90mmHg, it means you have a systolic pressure of 140mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 90mmHg.
As a general guide:
- high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80
- ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg, while the target for over-80s is below 150/90mmHg
Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.
Page last reviewed: 23 October 2019 Next review due: 23 October 2022
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Managing Blood Pressure And Cholesterol Levels
Certain lifestyle changes can have a big impact on lowering both blood pressure and cholesterol. In many cases, however, lifestyle changes are not enough to bring numbers down, and medications are needed.
Living an active lifestyle can help keep blood pressure and cholesterol numbers in control. The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise, like walking, biking, or swimming, on a weekly basis.