Improving Health With Current Research
Learn about the following ways in which we continue to translate current research and science into improved health for people who have high blood pressure. Research on this topic is part of our broader commitment to advancing scientific discovery in heart and vascular disease and health disparities and inequities research.
Learn about some of the pioneering research contributions we have made over the years that have improved clinical care.
Key Difference Hypertension Vs High Blood Pressure
The key difference between hypertension and high blood pressure is that the hypertension is a medical diagnosis where blood pressure is persistently elevated at or above 140/90 mm Hg;for most adults. To diagnose hypertension, the person should have at least two separate blood pressure measurements above 140/90 mmHg threshold at rest, preferably, in the sitting position. Whereas, high blood pressure refers to a nonspecific elevation of the blood pressure above 130/80 mmHg.
How To Prepare For A Blood Pressure Test
Your doctor will use a blood pressure test to see if you have higher-than-normal blood pressure readings. The reading is made up of two numbers, with the systolic number above the diastolic number. These numbers are measures of pressure in mm Hg. To learn more about systolic and diastolic pressure, visit How the Heart Works.
A blood pressure test is easy and painless and can be done in a doctor’s office or clinic. A healthcare provider will use a gauge, stethoscope, or electronic sensor and a blood pressure cuff to measure your blood pressure. To prepare, take the following steps:
- Do not exercise, drink coffee, or smoke cigarettes for 30 minutes before the test.
- Go to the bathroom before the test.
- For at least 5 minutes before the test, sit in a chair and relax.
- Make sure your feet are flat on the floor.
- Do not talk while you are relaxing or during the test.
- Uncover your arm for the cuff.
- Rest your arm on a table so it is supported and at the level of your heart.
If it is the first time your provider has measured your blood pressure, you may have readings taken on both arms.
You can also take your blood pressure at home or at a pharmacy. Visit Measure Your Blood Pressure for more information.
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|90/60 to under 120/80 mm Hg.|
|Prehypertension, or risk for hypertension||120-139/80-89 mm Hg|
|Stage 2 hypertension||over 160/100 mm Hg.|
If your systolic pressure and diastolic pressure are in two different categories, doctors consider the number that is in the higher category. For example, if your blood pressure is 135/91, your systolic blood pressure is in the prehypertensive range and your diastolic blood pressure is in the range of Stage 1 hypertension. Your measurement or 135/91 would place you in the category of Stage 1 hypertension.;
Here is a chart to help you read your results:
|Over 89 mm Hg|
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Whats Considered High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure readings have two numbers. The top one is your systolic number . The bottom one is your diastolic number . The two numbers together show whether your blood pressure is healthy or unhealthy. A high systolic or diastolic can count as high blood pressure. But healthy numbers may also be different for adults, children, and pregnant women.
Signs And Symptoms Of Hypertension
Often, kids and teens with pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension wont show any symptoms at all. If your child has stage 2 hypertension, she might experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- abdominal pain
- breathing problems
An infant with stage 2 hypertension may seem irritable, not be feeding properly, or vomiting. Sometimes these infants are diagnosed with failure to thrive.
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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.”
Read more:Reasons for High Systolic Blood Pressure
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.
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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.
Is There Treatment For Prehypertension
Prehypertension is a warning sign. It means that you’re at a greater risk of high blood pressure. Depending on your blood pressure and risk factors for heart disease, you may only need to make a few lifestyle adjustments. Here are some strategies to help you manage prehypertension:
It’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly. Know your blood pressure number. Let your doctor know if your blood pressure number is higher.
You can monitor your blood pressure between doctor’s visits with a home blood pressure monitor. Or, you can use an electronic blood pressure monitor at your local pharmacy, grocery store, or fire station.
Talk to your doctor about your blood pressure. Ask if diet and exercise can help lower your risk of getting high blood pressure.
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Managing Blood Pressure Is A Lifelong Commitment
If you have high blood pressure, its vital that you listen to your doctor. Remember: Youre a part of your healthcare team. You and your doctor are partners.
Educate yourself about HBP and learn how to monitor your blood pressure at home. Armed with this information, you can commit to living heart healthy.
- Reduce high blood pressure.
- Prevent or delay the development of high blood pressure.
- Enhance the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
- Lower your risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney damage, vision loss;and sexual dysfunction.
How To Measure Blood Pressure
Usually a nurse checks your blood pressure to make sure its not too low or too high before your doctors appointment. But you can also check your readings manually 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. Certain factors can cause a temporary rise in blood pressure. These factors include:
Monitoring Blood Pressure In Women
Taking regular blood pressure readings can help you keep blood pressure down. Those readings act as reminders to keep up with your healthy lifestyle and any medications. They also let you learn patterns, so you can easily know if something is wrong and it is time to contact your healthcare provider.
If you have hypertension, taking blood pressure twice a day can be burdensome because it is hard to remember, but you can get help. Your Lark health coach can remind you and automatically store your measurements so you can see trends and share them with your doctor.
In addition, your healthcare provider might prescribe hypertension medications if you are unable to control your blood pressure with these lifestyle strategies.
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.
Stroke And Brain Problems
High blood pressure can cause the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain to burst or be blocked, causing a stroke. Brain cells die during a;stroke;because they do not get enough oxygen. Stroke can cause serious disabilities in speech, movement, and other basic activities. A stroke can also kill you.
Having high blood pressure, especially in midlife, is linked to having poorer cognitive function and dementia later in life. Learn more about the link between high blood pressure and dementia from the National Institutes of Healths Mind Your Risks®external icon;campaign.
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 Do The Blood Pressure Numbers Mean
When blood pressure is measured, the result is given as two numbers, such as 120/80. The first number is the amount of force used when the heart beats . The second number is the pressure in the arteries between heart beats . Pressures are measured in millimeters of mercury . High blood pressure is defined as pressures above 140/90 for a period of time. Prehypertension is defined as a systolic pressure from 120139 millimeters of mercury or a diastolic pressure from 8089 mm Hg. Because blood pressure changes often, your health care provider will check it on several different days before deciding whether your blood pressure is too high. Blood pressure is considered high when it is elevated above 140/90 for a period of time. For people with chronic kidney disease, the recommended level is below 130/80.
How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed
To figure out your blood pressure rate, your health care provider takes blood pressure readings at different times. You need more than 1 reading because blood pressure changes depending on what you are doing and varies during the day. For example, your blood pressure can increase when you are nervous or in a hurry.
If your blood pressure is high while with your health care provider but normal otherwise, you may just be nervous. This effect is common. Even people already being treated for high blood pressure go through this.
What matters is what happens to your blood pressure outside your health care providers office. If you have high blood pressure, you should use a home blood pressure monitor. Ask your health care provider how to use the monitor correctly.
How Common Is Hypertension In Children
Hypertension is becoming increasingly common in children and adolescents. A recent study that looked at 15,000 adolescents found that nearly one in five had hypertension. And theres reason to believe that hypertension is vastly underdiagnosed in children, since:
- it can be difficult to measure in infants and young children
- its sometimes challenging to identify
- its often thought of as not something that really affects kids
The rise in the number of children with primary hypertension in the United States is thought to correlate with the rise of obesity.
Heart Attack And Heart Disease
High blood pressure can damage your arteries by making them less elastic, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and leads to heart disease. In addition, decreased blood flow to the heart can cause:
- Chest pain, also called angina.
- Heart attack, which happens when the blood supply to your heart is blocked and heart muscle begins to die without enough oxygen. The longer the blood flow is blocked, the greater the damage to the heart.
- Heart failure, a condition that means your heart cant pump enough blood and oxygen to your other organs.
Best Hypertension Management Health Coach App
You are putting in the work, so you deserve to maximize the benefits. A weight loss health coach app can help you do just that. A health coach app serves all the functions of a regular coach: informing, motivating, guiding, cheering, and organizing. The best weight loss health coach app:
- Informs you about healthy ways to lose weight and incorporate healthy behaviors into your lifestyle.
- Motivates you to keep setting and chasing new goals.
- Guides you through your weight loss journey in your own way.
- Cheers your successes, your efforts, and, should you fall short of your goals for a time, your renewed dedication.
- Organizes by encouraging you to log your food, activity and weight, and storing that information.
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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.