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What High Blood Pressure Means

What To Think About

High Blood Pressure: Definition and Treatment
  • The medicine your doctor chooses may be based on other health problems you have. For example, doctors often prescribe ACE inhibitors for people who have diabetes or heart failure.
  • Some people who get a cough while taking ACE inhibitors do well with ARBs, which usually don’t cause a cough.
  • You may need to avoid some over-the-counter medicines. For example, check with your doctor before you take any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen and ibuprofenwith high blood pressure medicines. NSAIDs may raise blood pressure and keep your blood pressure medicines from working well. NSAIDs may also interact with your blood pressure medicine and cause kidney problems.
  • Don’t take any other prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or other natural health products unless you talk to your doctor first. Medicines can interact with each other and keep blood pressure medicines from working right or cause a bad reaction.

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 .

The higher your blood pressure levels, the more risk you have for other health problems, such as heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

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.

What Changes Do You Need To Make

Make these lifestyle changes to help lower your blood pressure:

  • Lose extra weight. If you are overweight, losing as little as 4.5 kg may lower your blood pressure. It may also allow you to take less blood pressure medicine. Losing weight may also lower your cholesterol.

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Traumatic Injuries Or Internal Bleeding

A traumatic brain injury or bleeding around your brain can also cause a combination of high blood pressure and a low pulse. Both injuries and bleeding increase pressure on your brain, leading to something called the Cushing reflex.

The symptoms of Cushing reflex include:

  • slow heart rate
  • high blood pressure
  • irregular or very slow breathing

If youve recently had any sort of head injury and notice these symptoms, contact a doctor right away.

High Blood Pressure Chart

High Blood Pressure Definition Change

The chart below shows measures for normal and high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association .

Doctors measure blood pressure in millimeters of mercury .

Systolic pressure measures the pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts and is the top number on a blood pressure reading. Diastolic, which is the lower number, represents the blood pressure when the heart is resting between beats.

Systolic
  • congenital conditions, such as Cushings syndrome, acromegaly, or pheochromocytoma

Sometimes, there is no apparent cause. In this case, a doctor will diagnose primary hypertension.

Consuming a high fat diet, carrying excess weight, drinking a lot of alcohol, smoking tobacco, and the use of some medications also increase the risk.

Treatment will depend on several factors, including:

  • how high the blood pressure is
  • the risk of cardiovascular disease or a stroke

The doctor will recommend different treatments as blood pressure increases. For slightly high blood pressure, they may suggest making lifestyle changes and monitoring the blood pressure.

If blood pressure is high, they will recommend medication. The options may change over time, according to how severe the hypertension is and whether complications arise, such as kidney disease. Some people may need a combination of several different medications.

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These Routine Screenings Check For Everything From Liver Function To Hig

The force of your blood against the walls of your arteries is called your blood pressure. When you go for your yearly physical and sometimes when you have a regular doctor’s appointment, your healthcare provider may order certain tests, such as blood tests. We do not recommend hypertensive patients donate blood unless the blood pressure is quite stable. It also means visiting your doctor for an annual checkup and. Blood pressure is the force of a person’s blood pushing against their artery walls. Stargazing at night is always relaxing, but do you know the greater meaning to these beautiful lights in the sky? Blood flows through your arteries, supplying your body’s organs with the oxygen and nutrients they need to function properly. Low, high and normal blood pressure readings help your doctor make the right decisions for your medical care. This article explains the numbers in more detail. Can hypertensive patient donate blood? Establishing a healthy lifestyle involves many positive things, such as getting plenty of exercise, getting plenty of sleep and eating a healthy diet filled with nutritious foods. If your blood pressure is very high, your doctor may want you to start taking blood press. Most of us have experienced having our blood pressure taken, as it’s standard practice in virtually every medical provider’s office, from an optometrist to a general practitioner.

Choosing A Home Blood Pressure Monitor

The American Heart Association recommends an automatic, cuff-style, bicep monitor.

  • Wrist and finger monitors are not recommended because they yield less reliable readings.
  • Choose a monitor that has been validated. If you are unsure, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice or find options at validatebp.org.
  • When selecting a blood pressure monitor for a senior, pregnant woman or child, make sure it is validated for these conditions.
  • Make sure the cuff fits measure around your upper arm and choose a monitor that comes with the correct size cuff.

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When To See A Doctor

The symptoms of high blood pressure are typically silent. Many people may not find out they have high blood pressure until they visit their doctor for a routine physical. If you dont already have a primary care doctor, the Healthline FindCare tool can help you find a physician in your area.

There are many home blood pressure monitors available so that you can monitor your blood pressure at home. Some people that should consider doing this include:

  • those with a family history of high blood pressure
  • people who are overweight or obese
  • smokers
  • women who are pregnant

You should always keep a log of your readings. Its important to note that home blood pressure monitoring isnt a substitute for a doctors visit. If you find that your readings are consistently high, you should make an appointment with your doctor to discuss them.

What Are The Benefits And Risks Of Blood Pressure Medicines

What does it mean to have high blood pressure and a low pulse?

The benefits of blood pressure medicines are clear: Blood pressure medicines can help you keep your blood pressure at healthy levels and therefore greatly reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

In general, the risks of taking blood pressure medicines are low. However, all medicines have risks. Talk with your doctor or health care professional about the risks of high blood pressure medicines.

Do not stop taking your current medicine without talking to your doctor or health care professional first.

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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.

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.

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When To Check Blood Pressure

  • If your blood pressure is normal , get it checked every year, or more often as your doctor suggests.
  • If your blood pressure is elevated — a systolic blood pressure between 120 and 129 or diastolic blood pressure of less than 80 — your doctor will probably want to check it every 3-6 months. They will probably recommend lifestyle changes like more exercise and a better diet.
  • If you have stage 1 hypertension — 130-139 over 89-90 — the doctor might suggest lifestyle changes and see you again in 3-6 months. Or they could tell you to make the changes and give you medication, then recheck your condition in a month. It depends on what other health conditions or risk factors you have.
  • If you have stage 2 hypertension — 140/90 or higher — youâll likely get medication. You’ll also need to make lifestyle changes and see the doctor again in a month.

Secondary High Blood Pressure

What does your blood pressure reading mean for your health?

Some cases of high blood pressure are the result of underlying factors or cause and this is known as secondary high blood pressure.

Underlying factors include:

  • kidney conditions, such as a kidney infection, or kidney disease
  • narrowing of the arteries
  • hormonal conditions, such as Cushing’s syndrome
  • conditions that affect the bodys tissue, such as lupus
  • medication, such as the oral contraceptive pill, or the type of painkillers that are known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen
  • recreational drugs, such as cocaine, amphetamines and crystal meth

Occasionally, a rise in blood pressure can result from taking herbal remedies, such as herbal supplements.

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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
  • diabetes.

Responses to some types of stress may affect both blood pressure and changes in the arteries, but this remains scientifically uncertain.

How To Use A Home Blood Pressure Monitor

  • Be still. Don’t smoke, drink caffeinated beverages or exercise within 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure. Empty your bladder and ensure at least 5 minutes of quiet rest before measurements.
  • Sit correctly.Sit with your back straight and supported . Your feet should be flat on the floor and your legs should not be crossed. Your arm should be supported on a flat surface with the upper arm at heart level. Make sure the bottom of the cuff is placed directly above the bend of the elbow. Check your monitor’s instructions for an illustration or have your healthcare provider show you how.
  • Measure at the same time every day. Its important to take the readings at the same time each day, such as morning and evening. It is best to take the readings daily however ideally beginning 2 weeks after a change in treatment and during the week before your next appointment.
  • Take multiple readings and record the results. Each time you measure, take two or three readings one minute apart and record the results using a tracker. If your monitor has built-in memory to store your readings, take it with you to your appointments. Some monitors may also allow you to upload your readings to a secure website after you register your profile.
  • Don’t take the measurement over clothes.
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.

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Myth: I Was Diagnosed With High Blood Pressure But I Have Been Maintaining Lower Readings So I Can Stop Taking My Medication

High blood pressure can be a lifelong disease. Follow your healthcare professionals recommendations carefully, even if it means taking medication every day for the rest of your life. By partnering with your healthcare team, you can successfully reach your treatment goals and enjoy the benefits of better health.

Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.

Last Reviewed: Oct 31, 2016

What Does High Blood Pressure Feel Like

Understanding Blood Pressure

High blood pressure often doesn’t have any symptoms, so you usually don’t feel it.

Hypertension is usually diagnosed by a health care professional during a routine checkup. The average person should get a blood pressure reading at least once a year. As a cardiologist, I think its important for everyone to know their numbers. That means knowing what your blood pressure is. And it also means knowing your blood sugar level, cholesterol and body mass index. When you know your numbers, you can work with your doctor to make a plan to reduce any risks.

Blood pressure is even more important to pay attention to, though, if you have a close relative with hypertension or other risk factors. And know that if your blood pressure is extremely high, you may have unusually severe headaches, chest pain, difficulty breathing or get easily worn out by workouts. If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away.

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Healthy And Unhealthy Blood Pressure Ranges

Learn whats considered normal, as recommended by the American Heart Association.

Blood Pressure Chart

SYSTOLIC mm Hg and/or DIASTOLIC mm Hg
NORMAL
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.

What Are Common Symptoms Of Hypertension

Hypertension is called a “silent killer”. Most people with hypertension are unaware of the problem because it may have no warning signs or symptoms. For this reason, it is essential that blood pressure is measured regularly.

When symptoms do occur, they can include early morning headaches, nosebleeds, irregular heart rhythms, vision changes, and buzzing in the ears. Severe hypertension can cause fatigue, nausea, vomiting, confusion, anxiety, chest pain, and muscle tremors.

The only way to detect hypertension is to have a health professional measure blood pressure. Having blood pressure measured is quick and painless. Although individuals can measure their own blood pressure using automated devices, an evaluation by a health professional is important for assessment of risk and associated conditions.

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What Complications Are Associated With Hypertension

While kids with hypertension are unlikely to have heart attacks and strokes, it still has significant risks. Hypertension causes changes in the structures of the blood vessels and heart. Since hypertension in children has historically been understudied, there isnt a lot of data about exactly what these changes mean. But we do know that in adults, hypertension increases the chance of complications in the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys. Theres also compelling evidence that some of these changes are seen in children with high blood pressure.

These changes affect:

Blood vesselshigh blood pressure can damage blood vessels throughout the body, which makes it harder for organs to work efficiently.

Kidneysif the blood vessels in the kidneys are damaged, they may stop removing waste and extra fluid from the body. This extra fluid can raise blood pressure even more.

Other organsif left untreated, hypertension makes it harder for blood to reach many different parts of the body, including the eyes and the brain, and can lead to blindness and strokes.

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