Buying A Blood Pressure Instrument To Measure Your Blood Pressure At Home
Blood pressure instruments can be purchased in most pharmacies. Buy a blood pressure instrument that has been approved by the Association for the Advancement in Medical Instrumentation , the British Hypertension Society or the International Protocol . These labels will be marked clearly on the box. If you are unsure whether an instrument is approved, ask your pharmacist for help. Once you have bought the instrument, ask your doctor or pharmacist to check it to make sure the instrument measures your blood pressure accurately.
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.
Medications For High Blood Pressure
There is a large variety of medicines available to lower and manage high blood pressure. Your doctor may call them antihypertensives, .
These medications do not cure high blood pressure, but they do help manage it. Once you start to take medicines to manage your blood pressure, you may need to take them for the rest of your life. However, the dose of these medicines may change over time.
If you need to take medication, your doctor will advise you on the correct type and dose. Two or more different medications are often needed to manage blood pressure.
Make sure you take your medicines regularly. Some things that may help you remember to take them include:
- Building them into your daily routine by taking them at the same time each day.
- Keeping them somewhere that will remind you such as next to your alarm, or with your coffee or tea.
- Using a weekly pill box.
- Asking a family member or friend to remind you.
- Always carrying a list of your medicines and their doses with you.
- Entering a daily alarm in your mobile phone or download an app to remind you.
Take any blood pressure medicine exactly as prescribed. Dont stop or change your medicine, unless your doctor advises you to.
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Get Regular Blood Pressure Checks
If your blood pressure is in the healthy range and you have no other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and no personal or family history of high blood pressure, it is still important to have a check at least every two years. Your doctor can also check your blood pressure during routine visits.
If your blood pressure is highnormal , or if you have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as a personal or family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack, it is best to have it checked more frequently such as every 6 to 12 months or as directed by your doctor. Ask your doctor for advice.
Why Is My Bottom Blood Pressure Number High
Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries, which carry blood to other parts of your body. Your blood pressure can be measured using two numbers:
- Systolic : pressure exerted when the heart pumps blood throughout the body
- Diastolic : pressure exerted when the heart relaxes and refills with blood
When your blood pressure is consistently higher than 130/80 mm Hg, you are considered to have hypertension.
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How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed
High blood pressure is diagnosed with a blood pressure monitor. This is a common test for all doctor visits. A nurse will place a band around your arm. The band is attached to a small pump and a meter. He or she will squeeze the pump. It will feel tight around your arm. Then he or she will stop and watch the meter. This provides the nurse with 2 numbers that make up your blood pressure. The top number is your systolic reading . The bottom number is your diastolic reading . You may also hear the doctor or nurse say a blood pressure is 120 over 80.
- Normal blood pressure is less than 120 on top and less than 80 on the bottom.
- Prehypertension levels are 120-139 on top and 80-89 on the bottom.
- High blood pressure, stage 1 is 140-159 on top and 90-99 on the bottom.
- High blood pressure, stage 2 is 160 or higher on top and 100 and over on the bottom.
The higher your blood pressure is, the more often you need to have it checked. After age 18, have your blood pressure checked at least once every two years. Do it more often if you have had high blood pressure in the past.
Understanding Blood Pressure Readings
The AHA explains that blood pressure is essentially the amount of force exerted by blood as it pushes up against blood vessel walls. Blood pressure is deemed to be “high” when the force of that push is higher than it should safely be.
The problem is that high blood pressure also known as hypertension is often symptomless. Many people don’t even know they have it until a cardiac emergency, such as a heart attack, strikes. Prevention by means of routine blood pressure screenings is key.
A blood pressure reading is delivered as a ratio of a top number and a bottom number . Both numbers are expressed as millimeters of mercury. The top number references blood pressure when the heart is beating, and the bottom number refers to the pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.
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What Is Essential Hypertension
In as many as 95% of reported high blood pressure cases in the U.S., the underlying cause can’t be determined. This is essential hypertension.
High blood pressure tends to run in families. Age and race also play a role.
More than 40% of all African Americans in the U.S. have high blood pressure.
Diet and lifestyle also play a big role in essential hypertension. The link between salt and high blood pressure is especially noteworthy. People living on the northern islands of Japan eat more salt than anyone else in the world. They’re also most likely to get hypertension.
Many people with high blood pressure are “salt sensitive.” That means anything more a minimal amount will raise their blood pressure.
Other things associated with essential hypertension include:
- Heavy alcohol use
Frozen Pizza Makes Your Sodium Consumption Skyrocket
The ingredients in frozen pizzas can literally make your sodium consumption skyrocket! Apart from sodium, frozen pizza is loaded with sugar and saturated fat, which contribute to high blood pressure.
Besides the cheese and tomato sauce, processed meats in frozen pizza supply your body with an outrageous amount of salt. Manufacturers also add salt to enhance the pizzas flavor. One frozen 12-inch pepperoni pizza has 3,140 mg of salt, which is significantly above the daily allowance of 2,300 mg.
If possible, make your own pizza with low-sodium cheese and zero deli meat. Try making your own homemade dough and top your pizza with a variety of vegetables.
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What Is Considered Dangerously High Blood Pressure
Blood flows through your arteries, supplying your bodys organs with the oxygen and nutrients they need to function properly. The force of your blood against the walls of your arteries is called your blood pressure. Too much pressure can increase your risk of stroke, heart attack, and other health concerns.
When your blood pressure dangerously high, above 180/120, you could be experiencing a hypertensive crisis and might need emergency treatment. There is a chance that dangerously high blood pressure has caused damage to your bodys organs.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure?
Two numbers are used to measure your blood pressure. The top number on a blood pressure reading measures your systolic pressure, or the amount of force your blood puts on the walls of your arteries when your heart beats. The bottom number measures diastolic pressure, which is the amount of force your blood puts on the walls of your arteries between heartbeats.
If you have whats considered normal blood pressure, your systolic pressure is 120 or lower. Your diastolic pressure is less than 80.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
A blood pressure reading over 120/80 but lower than 130/80 is considered elevated, while a reading above 130/80 is considered high. If your blood pressure reaches 180/120, you are experiencing whats called a hypertensive crisis.
What Are the Risks of Dangerously High Blood Pressure?
- Headache, confusion and blurred vision
- Chest pain
How to Improve Your Blood Pressure
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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Whats Considered High Blood Pressure In Pregnant People
High blood pressure can also occur during pregnancy. According to the , about 8 percent of people develop some form of hypertension while pregnant.
- Normal blood pressure during pregnancy is less than 120 mm Hg systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic.
- Readings higher than 140 mm Hg systolic or 90 mm Hg diastolic are considered high.
There are two main categories of high blood pressure in pregnancy:
- Chronic hypertension. This is when blood pressure is high before you become pregnant or when high blood pressure develops before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
- Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. These types of high blood pressure problems are specific to pregnant people and typically develop after 20 weeks of pregnancy. These blood pressure issues typically disappear after you give birth.
Your doctor may prescribe medications if you have high blood pressure during pregnancy.
What Are The Treatment Options For Hypertension
High blood pressure is a treatable health condition. Most people can manage their blood pressure with their doctor’s help. Your doctor will determine the best treatment plan based on your age, lifestyle, and medical history. Some of the treatment options might include:
Increasing your daily exercise and losing weight can help lower your blood pressure. You can also help yourself by lowering your alcohol and caffeine intake. You should watch the amount of salt in your diet and focus on increasing the number of fruits and vegetables you eat.
If you cannot control your blood pressure through lifestyle changes, your doctor may recommend medication. Different medications are available, including beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and diuretics. Your doctor will look at your medical history to determine which medication is best for you. Some people may need to take a combination of heart and blood pressure medications for the best results.
If an underlying condition is found to be the cause of your hypertension, this means that your hypertension is secondary, and treating that condition will often result in a reduction of high blood pressure.
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French Fries Offer Unfortunate Health Risks
Potatoes fried to golden perfection definitely taste fantastic. However, your blood pressure wont thank you for them. French fries are loaded with salt and fat, which can cause blood sugar spikes, belly fat, elevated blood pressure, and high cholesterol levels.
Scientists from Harvard Medical School studied over 187,000 males and females over three studies and discovered that individuals who ate four or more portions of French fries per week had a 17 percent increased risk of high blood pressure.
If you love French fries, you can make a healthier version by baking those spuds instead of frying them. The baking method lets you reduce the amount of oil that is typically used during frying.
In Most Cases High Blood Pressure Does Not Cause Headaches Or Nosebleeds
- The best evidence indicates that high blood pressure does not cause headaches or nosebleeds, except in the case of hypertensive crisis, a medical emergency when blood pressure is 180/120 mm Hg or higher. If your blood pressure is unusually high AND you have headache or nosebleed and are feeling unwell, wait five minutes and retest. If your reading remains at 180/120 mm Hg or higher, call 911.
- If you are experiencing severe headaches or nosebleeds and are otherwise unwell, contact your doctor as they could be symptoms of other health conditions.
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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 1,500 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. Dont add salt at the table.
- Avoid or cut down on foods high in fat or salt, such as 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 its 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.
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 it’s already high.
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How Does Blood Pressure Work
Blood pressure is the force against blood vessel walls as the heart pumps blood. When the heart squeezes and pushes blood into the vessels, blood pressure goes up. It comes down when the heart relaxes.
Blood pressure changes from minute to minute. It’s affected by activity and rest, body temperature, diet, emotions, posture, and medicines.
How To Measure Your Blood Pressure
Usually, before a doctors appointment, a nurse checks your blood pressure to make sure its not too low or too high. But you can also check your blood pressure readings at home.
You can use an inflatable cuff, similar to those used at your doctors office. Or you can use a digital blood pressure monitor with automatic cuff inflation.
Read the directions carefully when measuring your blood pressure at home, and follow the instructions that come with the product.
Also, keep in mind that certain factors may cause a temporary rise in your blood pressure. These factors include:
For a more accurate blood pressure reading:
- Take your blood pressure in a quiet location when youre calm and relaxed.
- Dont exercise, smoke, or drink caffeine for at least 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure.
- Its best to vary the times of day that you take your pressure readings to see the range of your readings.
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What Are The Symptoms
One of the sneaky things about high blood pressure is that you can have it for a long time without symptoms. That’s why it is important for you have your blood pressure checked at least once a year.
If you do have symptoms, they may be:
Although it happens rarely, the first symptom may be a stroke.
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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How To Lower Your Risk Of Hypertension
Unless your blood pressure is sky-high, guidelines suggest first trying non-medical ways to lower it. These include:
- Drinking less alcohol.
- Losing weight.
If these measures do not lower blood pressure far enough, or if youve had a heart attack or stroke or are at high risk for one, anti-hypertension medications will be needed. There are many types, so your doctor may try several differentkinds and doses until the right combination for you is found.
Hypertension doesnt often cause symptoms, which is why it is known as the silent killer. This gives some people a false sense of security. They dont understand why they need to make an effort to lower their blood pressure, says Dr. Laffin. Fortunately, patients who adopt these measures usually find their blood pressure drops, and with it, their risk of heart attack and stroke.
This article first appeared in Cleveland Clinic Heart Advisor.