What Do The Readings Mean
As a general guide:
140/90mmHg or over you may have high blood pressureMost doctors use 140/90mmHg as the cut off for point for diagnosing . This is the point where your risk of serious health problems goes up. They might prescribe and advise you to make changes to your to bring your blood pressure down. 120/80mmHg up to 140/90mmHg pre-high blood pressureAlso called high-normal blood pressure. This is not high blood pressure, but it is a little higher than it should be and means you could go on to develop high blood pressure. See how you can make to lower it. 90/60mmHg up to 120/80mmHg ideal blood pressureAlso called normal blood pressure. Your blood pressure reading is healthy. At this level you have a much lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Following a will help you to keep it in the healthy range. 90/60mmHg or lower you may have low blood pressure usually isnt a problem, but it can sometimes make you feel faint or dizzy or could be a sign of another health problem.
The video below explains how your blood pressure numbers are linked to the risk of stroke and other disease.
Prevention And Management Of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure
There are some things you can do to help prevent and manage low diastolic pressure:
- Try to keep your salt intake to between 1.5 and 4 grams per day. An ideal number is about 3.5 grams. Read food labels to avoid added salt in your diet.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet. This diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. For protein, stick to lean meats and fish. Avoid fatty foods.
- Drink enough fluids and avoid alcohol, which can increase your risk of dehydration.
- Stay physically active and start an exercise program. Ask your doctor what type and amount of exercise is safe for you.
- Maintain a moderate weight. If youre overweight, your doctor can help you create a safe weight loss plan.
- If you smoke, quit. Quitting can be difficult, so consider reaching out for support.
Cardiology : What Does Blood Pressure Really Mean
We have all had our blood pressure taken at a regular doctor visit however most of us dont truly understand why those numbers are so important. Having high blood pressure is a big health concern, but what does it all really mean?
What is blood pressure?
In the most basic terms, when your heart beats, it pumps blood throughout your body, supplying it with the oxygen and energy it needs. As your blood moves, it pushes against the sides of your blood vessels. The strength of this pushing is what is known as blood pressure.
When you have your blood pressure reading it consists of two numbers, presented as one number over the other, like a fraction. The first or top number is your systolic blood pressure. This is the amount of pressure in your arteries during the contraction of your heart muscle. The second or bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure. This is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart relaxes between beats. The numeric difference between your systolic and diastolic blood pressure is called your pulse pressure. For example, the pulse pressure reading for a person whose blood pressure is 120/80, would be 40. Along with blood pressure, pulse pressure can also provide insight into your heart health. In some cases a low pulse pressure may indicate poor heart function, while a higher pulse pressure may reflect leaky heart valves, often as a result of age-related losses in aortic elasticity.
What is a healthy blood pressure?
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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.
Symptoms Of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure
Symptoms of isolated diastolic hypotension include tiredness, dizziness, and falls.
Because low diastolic pressure decreases blood flow to your heart, you may also have chest pain or symptoms of heart failure. Heart failure symptoms may include shortness of breath, swelling of your feet or ankles, confusion, and heart palpitations.
Seek immediate medical attention if you have chest pain or difficulty breathing.
Symptoms of low diastolic blood pressure along with low systolic blood pressure include:
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What Is Systolic Blood Pressure
During a heartbeat, the heart is pushing blood out into the arteries. Doctors call this systole, and thats why its called the systolic blood pressure. Its the pressure during a heartbeat and the highest pressure measured.
When the reading is 120 mmHg or a little below while a person is sitting quietly at rest, the systolic blood pressure is considered normal.
Variations In Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure changes to meet your bodys needs. If a reading is high, your doctor may measure your blood pressure again on several separate occasions to confirm the level.
Your doctor may also recommend that you measure your blood pressure at home or have a 24-hour recording with a monitoring device.
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New Findings Focus On Diastolic Blood Pressurethe Second Number In Your Blood Pressure Reading
Of the two numbers that make up your blood pressure reading, the first one typically gets more attention. That’s because as people age, their arteries lose their elasticity, and the inner walls are more likely to accumulate cholesterol-laden plaque. These factors tend to raise systolic blood pressure, a measure of the pressure inside the arteries when the heart contracts to pump blood throughout the body.
Current guidelines suggest that most people should aim for a systolic blood pressure reading of 140 millimeters of mercury or lower. But last year, a widely publicized clinical trial suggested that a target of 120 mm Hg could further reduce the dangers associated with high blood pressure .
Yet reaching that lower target required an average of three blood pressure medications, which resulted in more side effects. Now, two recent observational studies highlight some concerns about blood pressure that’s too low, particularly with regard to diastolic blood pressure. Diastolic blood pressure represents the pressure between beats when the heart relaxes.
Get To The Bottom Of Your Blood Pressure Numbers
By , Virtua CardiologyQuick quiz: Which of your blood pressure numbers is more important? If you said the top one, youd be only partially right.For years, health care providers placed greater emphasis on the top number, or your systolic blood pressure. But recent studies have confirmed that the bottom number, your diastolic blood pressure, also plays an important role in determining your risk of heart attack and stroke.Systolic and diastolic pressures are actually independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease. You can still be at risk if systolic reading is normal but your diastolic is elevated, and vice versa.
The Bottom Blood Pressure Number Matters Too
THURSDAY, July 18, 2019 When it comes to blood pressure readings, the top number seems to grab all the attention.
But a large, new study confirms that both numbers are, in fact, critical in determining the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Blood pressure measurements are given as a top and bottom number. The first reflects systolic blood pressure, the amount of pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts. The second reflects diastolic blood pressure, the pressure in the arteries between heart muscle contractions.
For years, systolic blood pressure has been seen as the one that really matters. Thats based on studies including the famous Framingham Heart Study showing that high systolic blood pressure is a stronger predictor of heart disease and stroke.
At the same time, though, doctors measure both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and treatment guidelines are based on both. So just how important is that diastolic number?
The idea behind this new study was to address the confusion, said lead researcher Dr. Alexander Flint, an investigator with Kaiser Permanente Northern Californias division of research.
Using medical records from 1.3 million patients, his team confirmed that, yes, high systolic blood pressure was a stronger risk factor for heart attack and stroke. But those risks also climbed in tandem with diastolic pressure and people with normal systolic readings were still at risk if their diastolic pressure was high.
Get Enough Sleep Each Night
Although sleep may not directly lower a persons blood pressure, it is vital for physical health and mental wellbeing. A lack of good quality sleep can increase the risk of chronic health conditions, some of which may increase a persons blood pressure.
The exact amount of sleep a person needs will vary from person to person. However, adults should be aiming to get between 79 hours of good quality sleep each night.
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What Is High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the measurement of the pressure or force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. When you have hypertension , it means the pressure against the blood vessel walls in your body is consistently too high. High blood pressure is often called the silent killer because you may not be aware that anything is wrong, but the damage is still occurring within your body.
Your blood pressure reading has two numbers. The top number is the systolic blood pressure, which measures the pressure on the blood vessel walls when your heart beats or contracts. The bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure, which measures the pressure on your blood vessels between beats when your heart is relaxing.
For example, a blood pressure of 110/70 is within the normal range, but a blood pressure of 135/85 is stage 1 hypertension, and so on .
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Salt Intake And High Blood Pressure
Reducing the amount of salt you eat can also help to manage or even avoid high blood pressure. To help reduce your salt intake:
- Ensure your diet consists of wholefoods including vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, lean meat and poultry, fish and seafood, legumes, unsalted nuts and seeds.
- Avoid packaged and processed foods that are high in salt. You cant see the salt in these foods, so you dont know how much salt you are having. Get into the habit of checking food labels.
- Choose low-salt food where possible. If you cant find low-salt products, those with moderate amounts of salt are ok too. Another simple alternative is to look for labels with low salt, salt reduced or no added salt.
- Avoid adding salt to cooking or at the table flavour meals with herbs and spices instead.
What Do The Results Mean
Your results, also known as a blood pressure reading, will contain two numbers. The top or first number is the systolic pressure. The bottom or second number is the diastolic pressure. High blood pressure readings are also labeled by categories, ranging from normal to crisis. Your reading may show your blood pressure is:
|Blood Pressure Category
|120 or higher
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your provider may recommend lifestyle changes and/or medicines to control your blood pressure. Your provider may also recommend that you regularly check your blood pressure at home with an automated blood pressure monitor. An at-home blood pressure monitor usually includes a blood pressure cuff and a digital device to record and display blood pressure readings.
Home monitoring is not a replacement for regular visits to your provider. But it can provide important information, such as whether treatment is working or your condition may have worsened. Also, home monitoring may make the test less stressful. Many people get nervous about getting their blood pressure taken at a provider’s office. This is called “white coat syndrome.” It can cause a temporary rise in blood pressure, making the results less accurate. For more information about home monitoring of blood pressure, talk to your provider.
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Take Blood Pressure Medications As Prescribed
The American Heart Association state that people should take their blood pressure medications according to their doctors exact instructions. People should never quit or cut back on their medications unless their doctor has advised them to do so.
If a person has trouble remembering to take their blood pressure medications, they should set up daily reminders on their phone or other devices.
Causes Of Overall Low Blood Pressure
There are several common causes of overall hypotension, which would include a low diastolic number.
- Overtreatment of high blood pressure. For some people, especially people over age 60, lowering systolic blood pressure below 120 may cause diastolic pressure to fall below 60.
- Other medications. Many medications besides those for blood pressure can cause hypotension. They include:
- drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction
- Heart problems. Heart valve problems, heart failure, and a very slow heart rate can lead to hypotension.
- Dehydration. If you dont take in enough fluids, your blood pressure can fall dangerously low. This may happen if youre taking a diuretic and lose more fluids than you take in.
Treatment for low diastolic blood pressure largely depends on the type of hypotension. Your doctor will assess this closely to determine the appropriate treatment plan.
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What Causes Low Diastolic Blood Pressure
The decrease in your diastolic blood pressure probably represents age-related stiffening of your arteries. Because diastole is a time when the heart receives blood, low diastolic pressure may compromise the blood flow to the heart. Causes of low diastolic blood pressure are as follows.
- Prolonged bed rest that causes reduction in tone of the arteries.
Eat Less Sodium And More Potassium
A high-sodium diet makes it harder for your kidneys to remove water from your bloodstream, raising your blood pressure and strain on your blood vessels due to the excess liquid.
This is why it is good to avoid salty foods, such as deli meats, canned soups, condiments, frozen and boxed foods and snack foods like chips and salted pretzels, Dr. Evanchan explains.
A high-potassium diet is great for those with high blood pressure because it lessens the effects of sodium on the body.
The DASH diet Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension for example, is a good diet option, because it is high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, low-fat dairy products and nuts, Dr. Evanchan says.
A healthier diet can also help you to lose weight, Dr. Evanchan adds, which, can in turn help to reduce blood pressure. Losing as little as five to 10 pounds can ease high blood pressure.
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Which Blood Pressure Number Is Important
Q.When I am monitoring my blood pressure, which number is most important top, bottom, or both?
A. While both numbers in a blood pressure reading are essential for diagnosing and treating high blood pressure, doctors primarily focus on the top number, also known as systolic pressure.
Systolic pressure reflects the force produced by the heart when it pumps blood out to the body, while diastolic blood pressure is the pressure in your blood vessels when the heart is at rest.
Over the years, research has found that both numbers are equally important in monitoring heart health. However, most studies show a greater risk of stroke and heart disease related to higher systolic pressures compared with elevated diastolic pressures. Thats especially true in people ages 50 and older, which is why doctors tend to monitor the top number more closely. The reason for the difference in risk may be related to the force put on the arteries when blood rushes out of the heart.
The American Heart Association now defines high blood pressure as 130/80 mm Hg or higher. The new guidelines recommend you check your blood pressure often, ideally with a home monitor, to help your doctor determine if you need to make lifestyle changes, begin medication, or alter your current therapy.
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