Checking Your Blood Pressure
Starting at age 20, the AHA recommends a blood pressure screening at your regular healthcare visit or once every 2 years, if your blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg.
People who have high blood pressure are encouraged to check their blood pressure at least three times a week, Bauman said.
People can check their blood pressure themselves. In fact, monitoring blood pressure at home may be better than doing so at the doctor’s office, partly because people are especially susceptible to a spike in their blood pressure when they visit a doctor, a situation known as white coat hypertension.
“We have many studies that indicate people taking their blood pressure at home is much more accurate than at the doctor’s office,” Bauman said.
A manual or digital blood pressure monitor typically comes with instructions that should be followed carefully to get the most accurate results.
The first step is to find your pulse by pressing your index finger on the brachial artery, which is at the bend of your elbow, slightly to the inside center. On a manual monitor, place the head of the stethoscope in the general area, or for a digital monitor, place the cuff in this area.
A digital monitor does the inflation and deflation and recording of the systolic and diastolic heart rates.
Signs And Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure may not have any symptoms and so hypertension has been labeled “the silent killer.” Longstanding high blood pressure can lead to multiple complications including heart attack, kidney disease, or stroke.
Some people experience symptoms with their high blood pressure. These symptoms include:
- The Feeling of pulsations in the neck or head
High Blood Pressure Symptoms
High blood pressure is known as the silent killer because it typically has no symptoms. In fact, most people dont even realize they have hypertension until their blood pressure is monitored.
Symptoms dont develop until the numbers get very high and organs get damaged, often irreversibly, says Dr. Desai.
If you have severe hypertension, you might notice the below symptoms, some of which were reported by patients in a study in the British Journal of General PracticeGoodhart A. Hypertension from the patients perspective. British Journal of General Practice. 2016 66:570. :
Recommended Reading: Blood Pressure Effect
Does Normal Blood Pressure Change With Age
Just as our blood pressure readings change according to our posture, sleep time, and stress levels throughout the day, our blood pressure changes as we age. Despite the fluctuating or changing measurements, we should maintain a normal range. As we age, we can expect changes in our cardiovascular health, including our blood pressure and cholesterol levels. There are several factors that reflect our blood pressure levels over the years, including normal blood pressure for seniors.
What Does My Blood Pressure Reading Mean
The information below and in the related links is designed to help you understand what your latest blood pressure readings may mean for your health. However, this isnt a substitute for medical advice, particularly since a number of personal factors may influence your blood pressure. Please discuss your blood pressure concerns with your doctor or medical practitioner.
Recommended Reading: Can You Take Claritin With High Blood Pressure
What Does A Blood Pressure Reading Look Like
When you have your , you will be given two numbers, a top number and a bottom number.
- Systolic blood pressure. This is the first, or top, number. This is the highest level your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats, forcing blood around your body.
- Diastolic blood pressure. The second number, or bottom number, is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart relaxes between beats.
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury . If the first number is 120 and the second number is 80, this would be written as 120/80mmHg, and youd call it 120 over 80.
This video explains more about systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
More Than Blood Pressure
The new guidelines have other changes, too. First, they don’t offer different recommendations for people younger or older than age 65. “This is because the SPRINT study looked at all patients regardless of age and didn’t break down groups above or below a certain age,” says Dr. Conlin.
The guidelines also redefined the various categories of hypertension. It eliminated the category of prehypertension, which had been defined as systolic blood pressure of 120 to 139 mm Hg or diastolic pressure of 80 to 89 mm Hg. Instead, people with those readings are now categorized as having either elevated pressure or Stage 1 hypertension .
A reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher is considered Stage 2 hypertension, and anything higher than 180/120 mm Hg is hypertensive crisis.
Recommended Reading: Does Claritin Lower Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure Stage 2
This is when high blood pressure starts to become very dangerous. In addition to making healthier lifestyle choices, you should consider taking medication to improve your condition in the short term. Even if you don’t feel unhealthy, high blood pressure readings are a sign of trouble. High blood pressure doesn’t always have obvious symptoms. There are a few tips in the last section of this article detailing lifestyle changes that can help you decrease your blood pressure.
How Blood Pressure Is Tested
A device called a sphygmomanometer will be used to measure your blood pressure.
This usually consists of a stethoscope, arm cuff, pump and dial, although automatic devices that use sensors and have a digital display are also commonly used nowadays.
It’s best to sit down with your back supported and legs uncrossed for 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, such as with a cushion or arm of a chair
- 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 while a stethoscope is used to listen to your pulse
- the pressure in the cuff is recorded at two 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.
Also Check: Claritin And Blood Pressure
Secondary High Blood Pressure
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.
Your Physical Activity Score
As part of your NHS Health Check, your physical activity level will be measured and you will be given a score that is calculated using an internationally validated tool.
There is good evidence that taking part in moderate or vigorous physical activity every day can reduce your risk of more than 20 health conditions, from diabetes to dementia. It can also improve the management and reduce the risk of complications of many common conditions such as high blood pressure.
The Chief Medical Officer recommends that all adults should do some type of physical activity every day.
Adults aged 19 to 64 should:
- do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity, every week
- do regular muscle-strengthening exercise
- reduce the amount of time spent sitting or lying down
Adults aged 65 and older should:
- do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity every week if already active, or a combination of both
- do activities that improve strength, balance and flexibility on at least 2 days a week
- reduce time sitting or lying down
If you are interested in increasing the amount of physical activity you do, you will be offered help and support to gradually increase your activity.
Also Check: Treating High Blood Pressure
What Is Normal Blood Pressure
For years we have been told that a normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 however, more and more doctors have now lowered these numbers to 115/75. Blood pressure is different for everyone as many factors can have an effect on the numbers.
Our blood pressure refers to the amount of force behind the blood as it hits the arterial walls. As the heart pumps the blood, an ideal pressure sees the blood push against the walls that are flexible enough to expand and retract easily. Over time, our age, diet, and physical activity play a role on the elasticity of our blood vessels. With a loss of flexibility due to hardening of the walls, the heart needs to work harder to push the blood.
These factors determine the blood pressure numbers. The systolic number is the top number, and it indicates the pressure as the heart beats or pushes the blood throughout the body. The diastolic number is the bottom number, and refers to the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. During this time, the heart receives oxygen as it fills with blood.
The Blood Pressure Chart In Canada: Taking And Interpreting The Numbers
The best blood pressure monitor in Canada used in healthcare offices is the AOBP monitor. AOBP stands for Automated Office Blood Pressure.
Outside of the doctor’s office, a home blood pressure monitor will suffice. In fact, health experts recommend their use for patients with insufficient BP control. Health experts refer to this as home blood pressure monitoring .
Here are some of the guidelines to keep in mind when buying and using a blood pressure monitor.
You May Like: How Do I Get My Blood Pressure Up
Tip #: Choose Whole Foods
Maintaining a healthy weight can do wonders for your blood pressure, and the most important part of weight loss is diet. The best way to lose weight and keep it off is with gradual changes to your lifestyle.
Try to choose whole foods that are good sources of protein, fiber, unsaturated fats, and carbohydrates with low glycemic indexes. These include most fruits and vegetables and foods like fish, nuts, and legumes.
Avoid foods with lots of saturated fat and unhealthy carbohydrates with high glycemic indexes that will leave you unsatisfied. You’ll be hungry less frequently, have more energy overall, and probably lose weight if you pay some attention to your caloric intake.
Your Alcohol Use Score
You will be given a score for your alcohol use based on questions your healthcare professional asked you during your NHS Health Check. Your answer to each question will get a score from 0 to 4.
An alcohol use score of 7 or more would indicate that you are drinking an amount of alcohol that’s likely to be harming your health. Your healthcare professional will be able to advise you on ways to track your drinking and to cut down on alcohol.
If your score is 20 or more, you may have an alcohol dependence disorder . Your healthcare professional should be able to refer you for specialist support for cutting down on alcohol.
You May Like: Claritin D And High Blood Pressure
What Causes High Blood Pressure
The cause of high blood pressure, or hypertension, is often unknown. It develops over time and often happens as a result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Occasionally, some people have hypertension caused by an underlying condition, such as kidney disease, adrenal gland tumors or thyroid disorders, says Dr. Wong. Other conditions like pregnancy, diabetes and obesity can also increase your risk.
Some people are susceptible to high blood pressure from certain medications, such as birth control pills, some decongestants and even some over-the-counter pain relievers, says Wong. Illicit drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines may also raise blood pressure.
High blood pressure is extremely common. A 2017 to 2018 survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics found 45.5% of U.S. adults have hypertensionOstchega Y, et al. Hypertension prevalence among adults aged 18 and over: United States, 2017-2018. National Center for Health Statistics. Accessed 7/16/2021. .
Checking Blood Pressure At Home
Keeping track of blood pressure at home is important for many people, especially if you have high blood pressure. This helps you and your doctor find out if your treatment is working.
Your doctor may also suggest that you check your pressure at home if they think you may have “white coat hypertension.” It’s a real condition. The stress of being in a doctor’s office raises your blood pressure, but when you’re home, it’s normal.
Ask your doctor to recommend an easy-to-use home blood pressure monitor. Make sure the cuff fits properly. If your arm is too big for the cuff, the reading may be higher than your blood pressure really is. Ask your doctor for a larger cuff or make sure you buy a home monitor with a cuff that fits you.
You also can use a wrist blood pressure monitor, but they often aren’t as accurate. Follow the directions that come with the device to make sure you are using it correctly.
No matter which type of blood pressure monitor you have, it’s a good idea to take it to your doctor’s office. You can compare its reading to the numbers your doctor gets. Avoid caffeine, cigarettes, and exercise for at least 30 minutes before the test.
When you take your blood pressure at home, sit up straight in a chair and put both feet on the floor. Ask your doctor or nurse to show you the right way to position your arm so you get accurate readings.
You May Like: Vinegar And Blood Pressure
Almost Half The Us Population Is Considered Hypertensive Overnight
Blood pressure of 130/80 is the new high,according to a recent review of guidelines. This now means almost half the US population is considered hypertensive overnight.
The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology released new blood pressure guidelines that may have you thinking twice about your salt intake. They state that anyone with a blood pressure from 130/80 to 139/89 is diagnosed with stage 1 hypertension which affects millions of Americans.
These new guidelines are based on a 3-year review of 1,000 studies that the chances of dying from a heart attack or stroke are double at 130/80 vs the previous guideline of 140/90. This means 46% almost half the US population are now considered hypertensive overnight.etc.
Understanding Blood Pressure Readings
Every time your heart beats, blood is pumped through arteries to the rest of your body. The force of the blood moving through the arteries is your blood pressure. Blood pressure readings are measured by two numbers, systolic pressure over diastolic pressure .When the heart beats, it contracts, and forces blood through your arteries, which makes your blood pressure go up. This is the systolic blood pressure. When the heart relaxes between beats, the pressure in the arteries goes down. This is the diastolic blood pressure.Your blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day and varies during activities. If you are sick, nervous or in pain, it is common for your blood pressure to be higher than usual. Blood pressure that is high only one time does not mean that you have high blood pressure .High blood pressure makes your heart work harder than it should. Even though you cannot feel it, elevated blood pressure can damage your arteries, increasing your risk for disease in many organs.You can have your blood pressure measured at PhysicianOne Urgent Care centers in Massachusetts and New York. This is a free service we provide and will not be billed to insurance.The following provides a general guide for blood pressure readings:
- Less than 120 and less than 80
- 120-129 and less than 80
- 130 139 or 80 89
- 140 and higher or 90 and higher
- Higher than 180 systolic or Higher than 120 diastolic
Don’t Miss: Apple Watch Do Blood Pressure
Back To 130/80 Mmhg: Intensive Blood Pressure Treatment Target For All Hypertensives
In 2015, the publication of the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial changed the landscape of the hypertension treatment guideline. The objective of the study was to determine whether intensive SBP lowering below 120 mmHg lowers the risk of CV outcomes compared to conventional SBP lowering below 140 mmHg in individuals with SBP above 130 mmHg without diabetes. The 9,361 persons enrolled in the study were relatively high risk, with the inclusion criteria of the SPRINT study being individuals above the age of 50 with at least 1 of the following: 1) history of clinical/subclinical CVD, excluding stroke, 2) Framingham risk score of more than 15, 3) age of 75 years of age or more 4) CKD with estimated glomerular filtration rate between 2060 mL/min/1.73 m2. The clinical trial was stopped after a median follow-up of 3.26 years due to the significant, 25% lowering of the primary composite outcome in the intensive treatment group compared to the standard treatment group . One thing to keep in mind for the SPRINT study was that unattended automated office blood pressure measurement was used for clinical office BP measurement. As studies have shown that AOBP is 515 mmHg lower than usual office BP measurements, AOBP SBP target of 120 mmHg would most likely corresponded to usual clinical office SBP of 130 mmHg.,