Blood Pressure Levels At A Glance
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury . 1 mmHg is equivalent to a pressure of about 133 pascal or 0.00133 bar.
There are two blood pressure readings: systolic blood pressure measures the maximum pressure generated during the contraction phase of the left ventricle of the heart. Diastolic blood pressure is the remaining pressure during the relaxation phase of the heart.
Ideally, blood circulates at a maximum pressure of 120 over 80 mmHg. Up to 129/84 is considered normal; elevated blood pressure up to 139/89 is still considered to be within the normal range. Higher levels may be a sign of potentially harmful high blood pressure: 159/99 is considered slightly high blood pressure and levels over 180/110 are considered to be severe high blood pressure.
Multiple Readings Should Be Taken
One blood pressure reading is not enough to get an accurate measurement. While the specifics of how many readings are necessary can change based on many factors, the essential need for multiple measurements does not.
To ensure an accurate reading, your doctor should be checking your blood pressure over time, and watching the how the values change between office visits. More than this, though, he should actually be taking your blood pressure more than once during each office visit.
Because things like temperature and stress can change blood pressure, more than one reading in a single office visit allows the ability to correct for these variations. For example, your blood pressure is often higher at the beginning of an office visit than at the end. Taking a reading at both the beginning and the end gives a more accurate average reading.
Your doctor should be checking your blood pressure:
- In both arms, not just one
- At both the beginning and the end of your appointment
Regulation Of Blood Pressure
These different mechanisms are not necessarily independent of each other, as indicated by the link between the RAS and aldosterone release. When blood pressure falls many physiological cascades commence in order to return the blood pressure to a more appropriate level.
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What Is A Blood Pressure Chart
The blood pressure chart is a way to document the readings a person has taken themselves. Because blood pressure fluctuates over the course of the day, the blood pressure chart is used to record both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, along with the date and time of the measurement. The pulse should also be recorded to provide additional information.
It allows self-monitoring of blood pressure and can help an attending doctor to better assess the values in the long term, improving the precision of the diagnosis.
How To Use A Home Blood Pressure Monitor
- Be still. Don’t smoke, drink caffeinated beverages or exercise within 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure. Empty your bladder and ensure at least 5 minutes of quiet rest before measurements.
- Sit correctly.Sit with your back straight and supported . Your feet should be flat on the floor and your legs should not be crossed. Your arm should be supported on a flat surface with the upper arm at heart level. Make sure the bottom of the cuff is placed directly above the bend of the elbow. Check your monitor’s instructions for an illustration or have your healthcare provider show you how.
- Measure at the same time every day. Its important to take the readings at the same time each day, such as morning and evening. It is best to take the readings daily however ideally beginning 2 weeks after a change in treatment and during the week before your next appointment.
- Take multiple readings and record the results. Each time you measure, take two or three readings one minute apart and record the results using a tracker. If your monitor has built-in memory to store your readings, take it with you to your appointments. Some monitors may also allow you to upload your readings to a secure website after you register your profile.
- Don’t take the measurement over clothes.
|and/or||HIGHER THAN 120|
Note: A diagnosis of high blood pressure must be confirmed with a medical professional. A doctor should also evaluate any unusually low blood pressure readings.
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What Causes High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure usually develops over time. It can happen because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as not getting enough regular physical activity. Certain health conditions, such as diabetes and having obesity, can also increase the risk for developing high blood pressure. High blood pressure can also happen during pregnancy.
You can manage your blood pressure to lower your risk for serious health problems that may affect your heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes.
What Are Some Dash Diet Recipes
- Whole grain toast, avocado, smoked salmon
- Night before muesli – in a glass refrigerator container combine equal parts quick oats, unsweetened coconut flakes, raw sunflower seeds, and frozen blueberries. Mix and cover with Â½âunsweetened almond/oat/coconut milk or low-fat dairy milk if you aren’t intolerant.
- Make it easy. Make your lunch a salad plus protein and enjoy the millions of variations on the theme.
- From home: leftover roasted veggies and grilled chicken on a bed of butter lettuce with extra-virgin olive oil and quality balsamic vinegar and chopped walnuts drizzled on top
- If you are out: A mixed greens salad, hold the cheese, add chicken, hard-boiled egg, or grass-fed steak. Put the dressing on the side, and dip your fork in to get flavor with each bite without overdoing it.
- Keep it simple. Focus on a healthy flavorful vegetable recipe, complement it with a protein, and add a side of whole grains.
- Brown rice pilaf made with pine nuts, celery, onion, and herbs de Provence.
- Grilled wild salmon with cracked pepper
- Steamed broccolini with small pat of butter or olive oil drizzle
- Fresh fruit and nuts and small servings of low fat dairy are the mainstays of the DASH diet snacks.
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Treating High Blood Pressure
Treating high blood pressure includes lifestyle changes and prescription medication for those with readings of 140/90 or higher, according to the AHA.
“The first thing we tell people to do if their blood pressure is in prehypertension range, is to lose weight, exercise more, and reduce salt in diet,” Bauman said. “If they reach higher levels, we then treat them with medications.”
Additional reporting by Kim Ann Zimmermann, Live Science Contributor.
What Is Low Blood Pressure
A blood pressure reading of less than 90 systolic or less than 60 mm Hg diastolic is generally considered low blood pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic. Low blood pressure is also referred to as hypotension.
If there are no symptoms, low blood pressure generally isn’t considered dangerous. If symptomatic, low blood pressure can be a sign of a serious medical condition. Symptoms can include:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Chest pain
- Peripheral artery disease
A healthy lifestyle and medications can lower blood pressure. Lifestyle changes include eating a well-balanced diet that’s low in salt, limiting alcohol, exercising regularly, managing stress, maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking. If you do take medications to control your blood pressure, make sure to take them properly and work together with your doctor.
Long-term strategies work best to lower blood pressure, including lifestyle changes.
But there are things you can do in the moment.
Make sure your blood pressure is measured under the right conditions to get the correct reading: You need to be in a quiet room. Don’t smoke, drink caffeinated beverages or exercise within 30 minutes before taking the measurement. Also, empty your bladder and be still for at least five minutes before, the American Heart Association recommends.
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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
What Is High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is blood pressure that is higher than normal. Your blood pressure changes throughout the day based on your activities. Having blood pressure measures consistently above normal may result in a diagnosis of high blood pressure .
Your health care team can diagnose high blood pressure and make treatment decisions by reviewing your systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels and comparing them to levels found in certain guidelines.
The guidelines used to diagnose high blood pressure may differ from health care professional to health care professional:
- Some health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 140/90 mm Hg or higher.2 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2003, as seen in the table below.
- Other health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 130/80 mm Hg or higher.1 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2017, as seen in the table below.
|systolic: 130 mm Hg or higherdiastolic: 80 mm Hg or higher|
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, talk with your health care team about your blood pressure levels and how these levels affect your treatment plan.
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How Can I Measure My Blood Pressure At Home
Talk with your health care team about regularly measuring your blood pressure at home, also called self-measured blood pressure monitoring.
SMBP means you regularly use a personal blood pressure measurement device away from a doctors office or hospitalusually at home. These blood pressure monitors are easy and safe to use. A health care team member can show you how to use one if you need help.
Evidence shows that people with high blood pressure are more likely to lower their blood pressure if they use SMBP combined with support from their health care team than if they dont use SMBP.3
Use these additional tips for SMBP:4
- Use a blood pressure log pdf icon;to record your blood pressure measurements.
- Take your blood pressure at the same time every day.
- Take at least two readings, 1 or 2 minutes apart.
How Does The Dash Diet Lower Blood Pressure And Promote Weight Loss
The DASH diet is rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber; and has a low content of sodium and saturated fat. Adding more of these nutrients improve the electrolyte balance in the body, allowing it to excrete an excess fluid that contributes to high blood pressure. These nutrients also promote relaxation of the blood vessels, reducing blood pressure. These nutrients are often deficient in overweight and obese people, so the DASH diet can help correct those deficiencies and help people feel better. By itself, some people may lose weight with the DASH diet, but most will need to add exercise or further reduce carbohydrates to see big weight losses. The good news for people with diabetes, prediabetes, or insulin resistance is that the DASH diet does improve insulin sensitivity.
The DASH diet guidelines from the original research study specified two levels of sodium reduction.
- The DASH diet phase 1 limited sodium to 2300mg, or about 1 teaspoon per day.
- The DASH diet phase 2 further reduced sodium to 1500mg.
To reach the goal of phase 2, the person should avoid all table salt and avoid adding any salt to cooking. We tend to get more than the recommended amount of sodium when we eat packaged or processed foods or when eating or dining out. Salt is the major source of sodium in the diet, and we can usually refer to the two words interchangeably unless we are discussing specific biochemical processes.
Dangers Of Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure may not be discussed as often as high blood pressure, but it should be addressed, as prolonged low blood pressure can negatively affect your organs.
A certain amount of blood pressure is needed to maintain blood flow to the organs, says Dr. Wong. The blood supplies oxygen and nutrients to these organs. If the blood pressure is too low, an adequate blood supply cannot get to these organs.
If left untreated, low blood pressure can increase your risk of fainting, heart attack and organ damage, adds Dr. Desai.
What Is The Correct Way To Measure Blood Pressure
Learn the correct way to have your blood pressure taken, whether youre getting it checked at the doctors office or checking it yourself at home. Use this checklist:
- Dont eat or drink anything 30 minutes before you take your blood pressure.
- Empty your bladder before your reading.
- Sit in a comfortable chair with your back supported for at least 5 minutes before your reading.
- Put both feet flat on the ground and keep your legs uncrossed.
- Rest your arm with the cuff on a table at chest height.
- Make sure the blood pressure cuff is snug but not too tight. The cuff should be against your bare skin, not over clothing.
- Do not talk while your blood pressure is being measured.
If you are keeping track of your blood pressure at home, use these additional tips.
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High Blood Pressure And Daily Activity
Check with your doctor before starting a new activity or increasing your level or intensity. Be active safely. Build up your levels of activity gradually.
Try to do at least 30 to 45 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. This can be done in bouts of 10 minutes or longer, if that is more convenient.
Physical activity is any form of bodily movement performed by our large muscle groups. Moderate-intensity physical activity , such as brisk walking or cycling, is enough to provide health benefits.
Walking is a great activity for all ages. You may like to join one of the Heart Foundations community walking groups.;
Some types of exercises, such as body presses and lifting heavy weights, can raise your blood pressure. Avoid these if you have high blood pressure.;
What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force applied by the blood over the inner walls of the arteries. Although the average blood pressure for a person remains constant, it shows minor fluctuations throughout the daydeclining while relaxing and momentarily increasing while being excited or under stress. An increase in the resting blood pressure can scar, stiffen, or harden the arteries.
Blood pressure is written as systolic and diastolic values. Hence, BP 120/80 mm Hg means 120 is the systolic number, and 80 is the diastolic number.
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How To Properly Measure Blood Pressure
Blood pressure should be measured in a resting state, with the arm positioned roughly at the same height as the heart. To ensure reliable values, two measurements should be taken over a span of five minutes and then the average of the two readings calculated. Because blood pressure fluctuates over the course of the day, it should always be measured at the same time of day.
What Does High Blood Pressure Feel Like
High blood pressure often doesn’t have any symptoms, so you usually don’t feel it.
Hypertension is usually diagnosed by a health care professional during a routine checkup. The average person should get a blood pressure reading at least once a year. As a cardiologist, I think its important for everyone to know their numbers. That means knowing what your blood pressure is. And it also means knowing your blood sugar level, cholesterol and body mass index. When you know your numbers, you can work with your doctor to make a plan to reduce any risks.
Blood pressure is even more important to pay attention to, though, if you have a close relative with hypertension or other risk factors. And know that if your blood pressure is extremely high, you may have unusually severe headaches, chest pain, difficulty breathing or get easily worn out by workouts. If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away.
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