What Is High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is defined as the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. High blood pressure also known as hypertension is a disease in which blood flows through blood vessels at a higher than normal pressure.
Blood pressure is measured with two numbers. The first, or top number, is the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats, called the systolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the higher of the two numbers. The second, or bottom number, measures the force of blood in your arteries while your heart is relaxed between beats. The bottom number is the lower of the two and is called the diastolic pressure.
Normal pressure is 120/80 or lower. Your blood pressure is considered high if it reads 130/80. Stage 2 high blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. If you get a blood pressure reading of 180/110 or higher more than once, seek medical treatment right away. A reading this high is considered hypertensive crisis.
Readings between 120/80 and 129/89 are considered pre-hypertension. People with pre-hypertension do not have blood pressure as low as it should be but are not yet considered to have high blood pressure.
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.
What Should I Do If I Have High Blood Pressure
If your healthcare provider has diagnosed you with high blood pressure, they will talk with you about your recommended blood pressure target or goal. They may suggest that you:
- Check your blood pressure regularly with a home blood pressure monitor. These are automated electronic monitors and are available at most pharmacies or online.
- Quit smoking and/or using tobacco products.
- Work on controlling anger and managing stress.
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When To See The Doctor
If you have had episodes where you feel faint or have fainted, see your doctor. In many cases, an episode of low blood pressure is nothing to worry about, but some people may have an underlying problem that needs treatment.
Treating low blood pressure will help reduce symptoms and lower the chances of you fainting or falling and injuring yourself.
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Why Is It Important To Know If You Have High Blood Pressure
Early detection of high blood pressure is very important. Often referred to as the silent killer because it may show no symptoms, high blood pressure puts you at an increased risk for heart disease, heart failure, and stroke, among other things. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, more than 360,000 deaths in the United States included high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause.
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Prehypertension: A Little Too Much Pressure A Lot Of Trouble
Everyone needs some blood pressure so that blood can get to all of the bodys organs. But how much is enough? How much is too much?
High blood pressure is often called the silent killer, because it usually doesn’t cause symptoms. High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. It points to a higher risk of having heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. Doctors have known for a long time that blood pressure that is too high can cause these problems. But now doctors know that if it is even a little too high, it should be noticed.
When you visit a doctor for your annual checkup, your blood pressure will be taken. Blood pressure is measured by a machine with a band wrapped around your arm. The measure will tell if the blood pressure is normal, low, high, or somewhere in between. It is considered prehypertension when it doesnt quite reach the level of high blood pressure, but it is higher than normal.
Prehypertension can serve as an early warning for patients and doctors. It is a sign of possible changes that could lead to heart disease. The pressure caused by constant prehypertension can change blood vessels and the heart in a damaging way. Prehypertension can also stress the kidneys.
A single blood pressure reading does not predict heart and blood vessel disease . You won’t be diagnosed with hypertension or prehypertension until it is high on several occasions. A blood pressure reading higher than normal will need to be carefully monitored.
What Is Considered A Dangerously Low Blood Pressure Youtube
Low Blood Pressure Chart | TreatCure. Blood might leak from them. If your blood pressure reaches dangerously high levels , there is the risk that it will cause damage to the organs. When pressure is dangerously high, your organs won’t get the blood they need to function properly. When your blood pressure is too high, the arteries can become inflamed.
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What Considered Dangerous Hypertension
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is difficult to diagnose without regular checkups. For this reason, people call it as the silent killer.
Check the range of healthy blood pressure and learn more about what puts you at risk for hypertension to prevent life-threatening issues. If this disease happened to you, read on to learn about hypertensive crisis and how a medical ID bracelet can save your life.
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SafeBeat Initiative: Understanding The Highs And Lows Of . If your blood pressure reaches dangerously high levels , there is the risk that it will cause damage to the organs. Blood might leak from them. When pressure is dangerously high, your organs won’t get the blood they need to function properly. When your blood pressure is too high, the arteries can become inflamed.
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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 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.
- 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 1,500 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.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Being overweight is a risk factor for having high blood pressure, and your risk increases further if you are obese.
There are two ways to check if you are overweight:
- Body Mass Index – This is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in metres squared. In the UK, people with a BMI of between 25 to 30 are overweight, and those with an index above 30 are classed as obese. People with a BMI of 40 or more are morbidly obese.
- Waist size – Using a measuring tape place the tape round your waist between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hip bone. The table below indicates how much your health might be at risk, your ethnicity should also be taken into account.
|Over 80 cm|
The best way to tackle obesity is by reducing the amount of calories that you eat, and taking regular exercise. Your GP can provide you with further information and advice on how you can do this.
More about having a healthy weight
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What Is Considered Stroke
A severe increase in blood pressure that can lead to a stroke is called a hypertensive crisis. Extremely high blood pressure can damage blood vessels and weaken arteries in the brain, increasing the risk of stroke.
- Healthy blood pressure: under 120/80 mm Hg
- Prehypertension: 120/80 mm Hg to 139/89 mm Hg
- Hypertension: above 140/90 mm Hg
- Hypertensive crisis: above 180/120 mm Hg
Blood pressure readings above 180/120 mmHg are considered stroke-level, dangerously high and require immediate medical attention.
Rising Numbers Can Be Dangerous
“We view a top number of 180 or more over anything over 120 as a possible sign of a ‘hypertensive crisis,’ and at that point we certainly have to be very concerned,” Dr. Lawrence says.
As Mayo Clinic researchers point out, blood pressure readings at that level threaten the integrity of blood vessels, which can become chronically inflamed. Once that happens, the vessels can start to leak fluid or blood, undermining the heart’s ability to effectively pump blood throughout the body.
The result could very well be a stroke or heart attack. Short of that, in some instances, a person in a state of hypertensive crisis may experience symptoms, including severe chest pain or headache, nausea, shortness of breath or even a seizure, explains Mayo Clinic. However, there’s no guarantee that any noticeable symptoms will arise.
The takeaway: Make blood pressure screenings part of your health care routine. The results can be literally life-saving.
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Normal Vs Abnormal Blood Pressure
According to the AHA, a normal blood pressure reading for adults is a top number below 120 combined with a bottom number under 80 noted as 120/80 millimeters of mercury.
However, physicians start to get concerned when the top number heads north. “Blood pressure is considered ‘mildly elevated’ if it’s between 120 and 129 over less than 80,” says Willie E. Lawrence, Jr., MD, chief of cardiology with Midwest Heart & Vascular Specialists, in Kansas City, Missouri. “We define blood pressure greater than 130 over 80 or more as high blood pressure, or hypertension,” he says. “Once it’s above 130, that’s certainly considered high.”
Specifically, the AHA characterizes a blood pressure of 130 to 139 over 80 to 89 as “Stage 1” high blood pressure. Even more risky is “Stage 2,” which is when a reading is between 140 and 180 over 90 to 120.
“Now, where we get particularly concerned is when the top number is found to be greater than 180,” Dr. Lawrence says. “In truth, there are plenty of people who run around living their life with 180 and feel nothing. They may be asymptomatic. They may have no idea that anything is wrong. But unfortunately for them, in many cases, their first indication that something is very wrong ends up being a heart attack, a stroke or congestive heart failure.”
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Are There Warning Signs Days Before A Stroke
– Warning signs of an ischemic stroke may be evident as early as seven days before an attack and require urgent treatment to prevent serious damage to the brain, according to a study of stroke patients published in the March 8, 2005 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
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The Keys To Blood Pressure Health
A balanced diet, physical activity, and a proactive approach to your health can effectively prevent hypertension. Lets get a bit more specific.
Maintain a healthy weight
Your weight may be the most crucial factor in determining whether or not hypertension becomes a chronic issue. Losing even five to ten pounds can help prevent hypertension.
Eat right and exercise
While this advice may sound a bit monotonous, it is nonetheless accurate: eating a healthy and balanced diet is critical, not only to overall health but blood pressure health.
Get your BP checked
Since doctors visits cost an arm and a leg, if your BP is a concern to you, think about purchasing a blood pressure machine. By comparison, these portable machines are very affordable. Check if your BP is in the range of 120-129/80-89. If your readouts are higher than average, you may want to consult your healthcare provider.
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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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.
What Can I Do If I Find Out My Blood Pressure Is Dangerously High
Normally, high blood pressure, sometimes called the silent killer, has few symptoms. But sometimes, a patient may be prompted to check their blood pressure because of troubling symptoms like headache, chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, and loss of balance. These may be signs of dangerously high blood pressure, also known as a hypertensive crisiswhen your first blood pressure number is greater than 180 or your second number is greater than 120.
In this scenario, do NOT try to lower your blood pressure on your own. A hypertensive crisis is an emergency situation that can end in death, so someone nearby should call 9-1-1 immediately. Emergency personnel will begin the process of lowering your blood pressure in the ambulance while on the way to the hospital. Even then, they will follow guidelines on how quickly they can safely lower your blood pressure and will monitor your blood pressure closely.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Provider
- Are there supplements or non-prescription medicines that I shouldnt take?
- Can I keep taking these medicines if I get pregnant?
- What kinds of exercise should I do?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If you dont treat high blood pressure, it can put you at risk for developing serious illnesses later in life such as heart attack, kidney failure and stroke. But if you follow your providers instructions, you can control your blood pressure. Be sure to take any medicines your provider ordered as instructed. Keep taking them even if your blood pressure numbers begin to fall into the normal range. Living a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy foods, watching your weight and getting regular exercise is also a great way to help control your blood pressure.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/21/2021.
How Is It Diagnosed
Because it is such a common problem, blood pressure is checked at most healthcare visits. High blood pressure is usually discovered during one of these visits. If your blood pressure is high, you will be asked to return for follow-up checks. If repeated checks of your blood pressure show that it is higher than 140/90, you have hypertension.
Your healthcare provider will ask about your life situation, what you eat and drink, and if high blood pressure runs in your family. You may have urine and blood tests. Your provider may order a chest X-ray and an electrocardiogram . You may be asked to use a portable blood-pressure measuring device, which will take your pressure at different times during day and night. All of this testing is done to look for a possible cause of your high blood pressure.
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Which Arm Goes Numb If Your Having A Stroke
Stroke. When a blood vessel in your brain becomes blocked or bursts, your brain might not get enough blood and oxygen. Stroke can cause numbness in several areas of your body, including your left arm. Other signs include trouble with balance, coordination and speech, as well as headache and confusion.