Heart Rate Vs Blood Pressure
Blood pressure measures the force that moves blood through your blood vessels while your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. They are both important health indicators, but they are measured independently and dont necessarily increase or decrease synchronously.
A temporary increase in heart rate, such as during exercise, is not considered problematic. In fact, your heart is expected to rise during a bout of activity and return to its resting rate afterward. And the more intense you work, the more you should expect your heart rate to rise during exercise. Your heart rate can safely double during activity so long as it returns to its resting rate relatively soon after you finish your workout.
Significant increases in blood pressure, on the other hand, are not normal and should be monitored and shared with your health care provider.
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 Is A Normal Blood Pressure For Women Of Age 50 And Older
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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.
Understanding Blood Pressure What Is It
Your blood pressure reading is a measurement of the pressure your blood applies across your artery walls. Your blood pressure changes a little throughout the day when you relax, your blood pressure lowers, and when you move around or feel stress, your blood pressure increases. But high blood pressure over a long term is associated with serious health risks, including heart, brain, and eye damage. Likewise, chronic low blood pressure sometimes comes with health risks. Fortunately, there are helpful ways to manage both high and low blood pressure.
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What Does The Systolic Blood Pressure Number Mean
When your heart beats, it squeezes and pushes blood through your arteries to the rest of your body. This force creates pressure on those blood vessels, and that’s your systolic blood pressure.
Hereâs how to understand your systolic blood pressure number:
- Normal: Below 120
- Stage 1 high blood pressure : 130-139
- Stage 2 hypertension: 140 or more
- Hypertensive crisis: 180 or more. Call 911.
Why Seniors Should Watch Out For Over
In my experience, many older adults are taking more BP medication than they need, meaning theyve reached a point at which the risks and burdens outweigh the benefits .
This can cause falls or dizziness due to orthostatic hypotension, and one of the most common medication changes I implement as a geriatrician is the cutting back of blood pressure medications.
If you want to read a longer article that I wrote on this topic, shortly after the December 2013 high blood pressure guidelines were released, see my post at AgingCare.com:
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What Are The Different Blood Pressure Categories
Blood pressure can be categorized into five different types, namely:
Normal: Blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg is considered to be normal.
Elevated: When blood pressure readings consistently range from 120 to 129 systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic, it is known as elevated blood pressure. People with elevated blood pressure are at risk of high blood pressure unless steps are taken to control it.
Hypertension stage I: In this condition, blood pressure readings consistently range from 130 to 139 systolic or 80 to 89 mm Hg diastolic. Doctors may prescribe blood pressure medications and some lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of heart diseases and stroke.
Hypertension stage II: In this condition, blood pressure readings consistently range from 140/90 mm Hg or higher. The doctors may prescribe a combination of both medications and lifestyle changes.
Hypertensive crisis: This is the most critical condition and requires emergency medical attention. In this condition, the blood pressure suddenly exceeds 180/120 mm Hg. Contact the physician immediately if the following symptoms are experienced:
- Difficulty speaking
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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How To Combat High Blood Pressure For Seniors
Always check with your doctor for their expertise to aid you in a clear path to improved health. They may recommend a medication to get your blood pressure under control. In addition to consulting your doctor, the following tips may also help your circulatory systems health.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet that includes fish with omega-vitamins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
- Incorporate stress-management techniques into your daily routine. Yoga, Tai Chi, and daily stretches can moderate your stress and also help you improve balance.
- Get a good nights sleep. Not only will some shut-eye help your blood pressure, but it will also boost your brain function.
- Get up and get moving. Physical exercise can help your heart health and enhance your spirits as well.
The passionate staff at Civitas Senior Living are here for all of your health needs. Whether you need help making a doctors appointment, assistance with medication management, or guidance with exercise and nutrition, a loving caretaker is here for you. Contact us to learn more about our heart-healthy activities.
Best Hypertension Management Health Coach App
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- Motivates you to keep setting and chasing new goals.
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Why Does Blood Pressure Increase With Age
Doctors dont completely understand why blood pressure tends to rise with age. Blood pressure is the force of blood as it flows through the arteries. As you age, your arteries may narrow and become stiff. Narrow arteries lead to an increase in blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage the walls of the arteries and the heart itself.
In some cases, high blood pressure could be a result of lifestyle, the environment, certain medications, or other conditions such as sleep apnea, kidney disease, or thyroid problems.
Tips For Taking Blood Pressure Medication
Untreated high blood pressure can increase your risk of serious health problems. If your doctor prescribes medication to lower your blood pressure, remember:
- If you take blood pressure medication and your blood pressure goes down, it means medication and lifestyle changes are working. If another doctor asks if you have high blood pressure, the answer is, “Yes, but it is being treated.”
- Healthy lifestyle changes may help lower the dosage you need.
- Get up slowly from a seated or lying position and stand for a bit before walking. This lets your blood pressure adjust before walking to prevent lightheadedness and falls.
- Tell your doctor about all the drugs you take. Don’t forget to mention over-the-counter drugs, including vitamins and supplements. They may affect your blood pressure. They also can change how well your blood pressure medication works.
- Blood pressure medication should be taken at the same time each day as part of your daily routine. For example, take it in the morning with breakfast or in the evening before brushing your teeth. If you miss a dose, do not double the dose the next day.
- Remember to refill your medication before you run out and bring it with you when traveling. Its important to keep taking your medication unless your doctor tells you to stop.
- Before having surgery, ask your doctor if you should take your blood pressure medication on the day of your operation.
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What Is A Hypertensive Crisis
A hypertensive crisis occurs when blood pressure suddenly rises above 180 systolic and/or 120 diastolic. This prompt either a hypertensive urgency or hypertensive emergency.
A hypertensive urgency accounts for about 75% of hypertensive crises. In these cases, a person has high blood pressure, but without any serious accompanying symptoms. A hypertensive emergency requires immediate medical care, as high BP is accompanied by one or more serious symptoms, including:
- Acute pulmonary edema
How Can I Prevent High Blood Pressure
You can prevent high blood pressure and lower your odds of getting heart disease by making a few changes in your lifestyle.
1. Consider your diet. A healthy diet can go a long way toward preventing high blood pressure. Trying following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension eating plan, also known as the DASH diet, which emphasizes plenty of fruits and vegetables and low-fat or nonfat dairy products. Studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health have shown that the DASH diet can lower blood pressure. And the results show up fast — often within two weeks. Stay away from salt and saturated fats and eliminate trans fats. Focus instead on foods that are high in fiber, calcium, and magnesium.
The National High Blood Pressure Education Program recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. The ideal is even lower — only 1,500. For the average person, who consumes about 4,200 milligrams a day, that requires a big change. But studies show that the lower your salt intake, the lower your blood pressure.
2. Get plenty of exercise. Regular aerobic workouts condition the heart and keep blood vessels working properly. It’s also wise to be as active as possible throughout your day, apart from your workout. Researchers at the University of Minnesota published results from a study of almost 4,000 people between the ages of 15 and 30 who were followed over time. The more active they were, the lower their risk of developing hypertension.
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What Did The Sprint Intervention Involve
SPRINT participants were randomly assigned to be treated to a systolic BP goal of either 140, or 120.
Participants were seen once a month for the first three months, and then every 3 months after that.
To treat blood pressure, SPRINT provided all the major classes of BP medication for free, and also allowed clinicians to use other BP medications if they saw fit. Here are the main classes of medication used Ive organized them roughly by how commonly they were used .
Blood Pressure Medications Used in SPRINT:
- Direct vasodilators, e.g. hydralazine, minoxidil
- Alpha-two agonists, e.g. clonidine
Those last three classes of BP medication were used in 10% of people or less, which makes sense as none of them are recommended as first-line medication choices for hypertension, heart conditions, or kidney disease.
What about non-drug methods to manage high blood pressure?
In the scholarly publication, the SPRINT investigators say that Lifestyle modification was encouraged as part of the management strategy, but they dont provide more specifics on what modifications were encouraged or how. So its hard to know how any non-drug methods diet, exercise, salt reduction, stress reduction might have factored into this study.
Who Was And Wasnt Studied In The Sprint Blood Pressure Trial
Do the study results apply to you or your older relative? This is one of the two most important questions to ask yourself, when you hear exciting news about clinical research.
Why? Because a well-done medical study tells us what health outcomes happened when we applied a certain intervention to a certain group of people. If you arent like the people who were studied, then theres a higher chance you wont experience the benefits that study participants did.
So who was in SPRINT? Here are the criteria the researchers used to define the study group, and enroll participants.
What the SPRINT participants were like:
Its equally important to consider who was excluded from SPRINT. You may have already heard that SPRINT didnt cover people with diabetes or stroke, but the exclusion list is much longer than that.
What the SPRINT participants were not like: Older persons with any of the following diagnoses, conditions, or circumstances were not eligible for the study:
- Clinical diagnosis of dementia, and/or being on dementia medication
- People residing in a nursing home.
- Substance abuse
- Symptomatic heart failure within the past 6 months or left ventricular ejection fraction < 35%
- Polycystic kidney disease or eGFR < 20
- Significant history of poor compliance with medications or attendance at clinic visits.
As you can see, quite a lot of common diagnoses and circumstances were grounds for exclusion from the SPRINT study.
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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
How Blood Pressure Was Measured In Sprint
Blood pressure was measured a very careful way that is quite different from the way patients usually have BP measured by their doctors. Heres what they did in SPRINT:
- Had people sit down and rest for five minutes before checking BP
- Checked BP three times consecutively, using an automated BP monitor
- Used the average of those three BP measurements to assess the persons BP and determine whether medications should be adjusted up or down.
Obviously, this is not the experience that most people have in the doctors office, and likely led to lower BP measurements than those taken under usual circumstances.
If you are similar to a SPRINT participant and are thinking of aiming for a lower BP goal, be sure to request that your BP is checked in a similar way. In truth, its a much sounder basis for changing a patients medications, but its not usual care at this time.
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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.