How Can You Manage Your High Blood Pressure
Treatment of high blood pressure often starts with lifestyle changes, including decreasing salt in your diet, losing weight if necessary, stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol use, and regular exercise.
In addition to lifestyle changes, medications are often used to lower blood pressure. There are several types of medications that treat high blood pressure with each type of medication having benefits and risks that should be carefully weighed by you and your health care provider. Most people take more than one medication in order to bring their blood pressure down to their treatment goal.
Your blood pressure medication should begin to work within days. However, because high blood pressure is a long-lasting medical condition that often has little or no symptoms, remembering to take your medications can be a challenge. Combination medicines, long-acting or once-a-day medications, may be used to decrease the burden of taking numerous medications and help ensure medications regularly. Once started, the medication should be used until your doctor tells you to stop.
Controlling your blood pressure should be part of a healthy living plan and lifelong task. The damage that high blood pressure causes your internal organs does not cause any symptoms until serious damage has been done.
Tips To Control Your Blood Pressure And Reduce Your Risk Of Stroke
You can download the poster above here.
If you think you have high blood pressure, get a check. It could save your life. Increasingly New Zealanders are monitoring their own blood pressure using battery operated digital monitors. Contact us for more information:
Listen to Mau Moananu’s story and why he urges everyone to get their blood pressure checked regularly:
1 The NZ Health Survey is based on a sample of 13,000 adults, they have not surveyed all New Zealanders and therefore it is only an estimate of the prevalence. Furthermore, the figure is only an estimate of the number of people with hypertension that are medicated, with the latest estimate given at 16.1% of the NZ adult population. So its fair to say we can safely extrapolate that up as there will be a good number of adults who have hypertension but are not medicated, which is how we get to the one in five figure.
Blood Pressure And Ageing
With advancing years, the arteries tend to become more rigid . This may change a persons blood pressure pattern, with a higher systolic pressure and a lower diastolic pressure. The higher systolic pressure is important because it can further accelerate the rigidity of the arteries. This state is referred to as isolated systolic hypertension. Although these changes are due to ageing, this is not a normal state and may need medication to control the systolic pressures.
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Blood Pressure Management For Patients With Stable Cardiovascular Disease
There is little evidence for the benefits in total mortality, serious adverse events, or total cardiovascular events for people with hypertension and cardiovascular disease treated to lower than target BP. Also, there is very limited evidence on adverse events associated with lower BP targets, which leads to high uncertainty. At present, evidence is insufficient to justify lower BP targets in people with hypertension and established cardiovascular disease. Further randomised clinical trials are needed to address this question.
Who Can Get High Blood Pressure
The chance of having high blood pressure goes up as we get older. Youre more likely to develop it if you have a family history of high blood pressure. And people of black African or black Caribbean origins are more likely to have high blood pressure than the rest of the population.
Some things that put you at greater risk of high blood pressure include:
- Eating too much salt.
- Drinking more than the safe limits for alcohol.
Some health conditions can cause high blood pressure, including:
- Kidney disease.
- Obstructive sleep apnoea .
- Lupus .
Some medications can affect blood pressure including the combined oral contraceptive pill and steroids. Illegal drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines can also raise blood pressure.
Stress and high blood pressure
Feeling stressed can raise your blood pressure for a short time, but it isnt a direct cause of high blood pressure. However, if youre under stress you might eat unhealthy food, drink too much or lose out on sleep. All these things can eventually lead to high blood pressure. So it is a good idea to reduce your stress levels as part of a healthy lifestyle.
High blood pressure in pregnancy
If you have high blood pressure during pregnancy, your blood pressure will be monitored during pregnancy, labour and after the birth. If its very high you may need to stay in hospital until it improves.
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What Are The Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure In Women
High blood pressure, also known as HBP or hypertension, is widely misunderstood and is called the silent killer because there can often be no symptoms. We often assume it affects those who are type-A personalities, tense and aggressive. But the truth is, it has nothing to do with personality traits. In fact, you can be the most relaxed, calm person and still suffer from HBP.
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.
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Blood Pressure Patterns May Predict Stroke Risk
About 1 in 3 American adults have high blood pressure, a condition that elevates their risk for stroke.
Now, a new study has shed more light on how blood pressure patterns play a role in predicting stroke risk. During the study, researchers at Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands reviewed 20 years of data on systolic blood pressure, the top number in a blood pressure reading that measures the amount of pressure in the arteries when the heart muscles contract. The study included 6,745 participants between the ages of 55 and 106, and researchers conducted five follow-up exams over the 20-year period.
They found that study participants whose systolic blood pressure sharply increased during middle age and those whose pressure decreased after age 65 had the highest risk of stroke and likelihood of death from conditions related to blood pressure.
Study participants who had somewhat high blood pressure had the lowest risk of death from heart failure, heart attack or kidney disease, but the highest likelihood of experiencing stroke compared to all other groups in the study.
Those whose had normal blood pressure that slowly increased over time had the lowest health risks among all groups. Their risk of stroke was lower, as well as their risk of death.
During the study, 1,000 participants experienced a stroke, with blood pressure patterns playing a significant role in the risk of death due to stroke, heart attack, heart failure and other diseases.
Why Is Your Blood Pressure Important
Your blood pressure is important because if it is too high, it affects the blood flow to your organs. Over the years, this increases your chances of developing heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, eye disease, erectile dysfunction and other conditions.
Very occasionally, people with very high blood pressure are at serious risk of problems and need urgent treatment in hospital to reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Current Australian guidelines recommend that if you have persistent raised blood pressure over 160/100 mmHg, but are at low risk of having a stroke or heart attack, you should talk to your doctor or specialist about taking medication to lower your blood pressure.
For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
If youre over 18, you should have your blood pressure checked by your doctor at least every 2 years, or more often if advised.
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Strategies For Maintaining Safe Blood Pressure
Although some symptoms of unbalanced blood pressure can be quite apparent such as dizziness, chest pain, or shortness of breath many people go a long time without even realizing theyre at risk for blood pressure-related issues.
Many risk factors can be addressed with lifestyle changes. Taking control of yourdiet and exercise routine is one of the most important strategies for balancing your blood pressure. Avoid a diet high in sugar, sodium, saturated fats and cholesterol, and create a simple and enjoyable daily workout routine that fits into your lifestyle. Consistency is key, so be sure to make changes that you can maintain and build upon.
Cigarette smoke, both first and second-hand, can damage the blood vessels. Doctors also advise against more than one or two alcoholic drinks per day at the most, as alcohol can add a dangerous level of artery-hardening triglycerides to your blood.
As some risk factors, such as age, race, or genetics, cannot be eliminated, keeping a close eye on your blood pressure with the help of your doctor is the best defense against stroke. This is especially crucial after experiencing an initial stroke. Both high and low blood pressure increase the risk of recurrent ischemic stroke, and a regular routine of exercise, controlled diet, and taking prescribed medications as recommended by your physician can help offset that risk.
When Should You Go To The Er With High Blood Pressure
According to the American Heart Association , a reading of 180/120 mm Hg or higher is termed a hypertensive crisis and requires immediate medical attention. If this reading is consistent two times in a row, five minutes apart, then you must head to the nearest emergency room immediately.
Blood pressure is the force applied against the walls of the arteries by the blood that the heart pumps through the four chambers into major arteries that transport blood throughout the body through the circulatory system.
According to the AHA, normal BP in adults is 120/80 mm Hg. However, according to the new guidelines issued by the AHA, the goal BP for all adults is now less than 130/80 mm Hg.
According to guidelines by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association, hypertension is a term to describe high BP that measures consistently above 130/80 mm Hg or higher.
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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.
Blood Pressure Is Typically Recorded As Two Numbers And A Written As A Ratio
- Systolic: The top number in the ratio, which is also the higher of the two, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats.
- Diastolic: The bottom number in the ratio, which is also the lower of the two, measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats.
Your blood pressure rises with each heartbeat and falls when your heart relaxes between beats. While it can change from minute to minute with changes in posture, exercise, stress or sleep, it should normally be less than 120/80 mm Hg for women or men aged 20 or over.
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What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers:
The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.
If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say, 120 over 80, or write, 120/80 mmHg.
Blood Pressure And Primary Prevention Of Cardiovascular Disease And Stroke
There is robust evidence that screening and treatment of hypertension prevents cardiovascular disease and reduces mortality in the middle-aged population . Even in older adults, lowering BP is likely to be beneficial provided that treatment is well tolerated, despite a lack of studies to support this. However, there is a lack of high-quality evidence for a favourable harmbenefit balance of antihypertensive treatment among older adults, especially among the oldest age groups .
There has been a debate about how far BP should be lowered. The American Guidelines for Management of Hypertension, influenced by the results of the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial recommends a reduction of the treatment target from 140/90 mmHg to 130/80 mmHg, including for the very old. However, some authors emphasised that there is a greater potential for harm to exceed benefit when BP targets are lowered.
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What About Medications For High Blood Pressure
If youre not able to get your blood pressure down with lifestyle changes, your doctor may recommend blood pressure medications. But even if you take medication for high blood pressure, youll still need to change your behaviors to see results.
If your blood pressure is above 140 over 90 , your doctor will probably start medications right away. If your blood pressure is lower than that, your doctor will probably hold off to see if you can get your numbers down through lifestyle changes. But if your blood pressure is still high after three months, your doctor may recommend medications.
As with all medications, there are side effects. Some common side effects of high blood pressure drugs include:
- Headache, weakness and low potassium are common with diuretics.
- Dry, persistent cough, diarrhea and high potassium are common with ACE inhibitors.
- Dizziness, nausea and fatigue can be common with angiotensin receptor blockers, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers and alpha-blockers.
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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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.