Living With High Blood Pressure
Controlling your high blood pressure is a lifelong commitment. You will always need to monitor your weight, make healthy food choices, exercise, learn to cope with stress, avoid smoking, and limit your alcohol intake. If you need medicine to control your high blood pressure, you will likely need it all your life.
Additionally, you will need to get used to regular blood pressure checks. Your doctor may want you to come to the office regularly. Or you may be asked to check your blood pressure at home and keep track of your numbers for your doctor. Some pharmacies and retail clinics have blood pressure machines on site. You can buy your own, automated arm blood pressure cuff for use at home. Your doctor may want you to check your blood pressure several times a day. Another option is to use an ambulatory blood pressure monitor.
Developing A Healthy Diet
A heart-healthy diet is vital for helping to reduce high blood pressure. Its also important for managing hypertension that is under control and reducing the risk of complications. These complications include heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.
A heart-healthy diet emphasizes foods that include:
- lean proteins like fish
Keep Your Blood Pressure Under Control
The higher your blood pressure, the higher your risk of health problems, and lowering it is one of the best things you can do for your health. Even a small change can make a big difference lowering the top number by 10mmHg lowers the risk of a heart attack or stroke by 20%.
Some people have blood pressure below the healthy range. This is known as , but is normally nothing to worry about. The video below shows how to keep a healthy blood pressure.
You can start taking steps today to lower your blood pressure and keep it in check. Read more about the changes you can make to your , and the that are available if you need them.
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Why Is High Blood Pressure A Problem
High blood pressure puts an extra strain on your heart and blood vessels, which can damage them and make them weaker. Over time, this can lead to including heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, some forms of dementia, kidney disease and peripheral arterial disease.
If you have as well as high blood pressure, such as diabetes or high cholesterol, this makes serious health problems in the future more likely, making it more important to take steps to .
Does High Blood Pressure Increase Heart Rate
Heart rate and blood pressure do not necessarily increase at the same rate. A rising heart rate does not cause your blood pressure to increase at the same rate. Even though your heart is beating more times a minute, healthy blood vessels dilate to allow more blood to flow through more easily. When you exercise, your heart speeds up so more blood can reach your muscles. It may be possible for your heart rate to double safely, while your blood pressure may respond by only increasing a modest amount.
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What’s The Impact Of Having High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular diseases such as:
- coronary heart disease – where the main arteries that supply your heart become clogged up with plaques
- strokes – a serious condition where the blood supply to your brain is interrupted
- heart attacks – a serious condition where the blood supply to part of your heart is blocked
Diabetes and kidney disease are also linked to high blood pressure complications.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Being overweight is a risk factor for having high blood pressure, and your risk increases further if you are obese.
There are two ways to check if you are overweight:
- Body Mass Index – This is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in metres squared. In the UK, people with a BMI of between 25 to 30 are overweight, and those with an index above 30 are classed as obese. People with a BMI of 40 or more are morbidly obese.
- Waist size – Using a measuring tape place the tape round your waist between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hip bone. The table below indicates how much your health might be at risk, your ethnicity should also be taken into account.
|Over 80 cm
The best way to tackle obesity is by reducing the amount of calories that you eat, and taking regular exercise. Your GP can provide you with further information and advice on how you can do this.
More about having a healthy weight
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Modern Treatments For High Blood Pressure
People with high blood pressure need a treatment plan, blood pressure monitoring, and frequent doctor visits.
Lifestyle changes are the first step in managing elevated blood pressure. Some of the immediate adjustments one can make to improve their blood pressure include:
- Losing weight
- Limiting caffeine
- Lowering stress
If you have high blood pressure despite making changes, your doctor may prescribe medication. The goal for many high blood pressure sufferers, including those over 65 years old and individuals with a high risk of heart disease, is to lower blood pressure below 130/80.
Some of the popular medications to control blood pressure that doctors may prescribe include diuretics to lower sodium levels or alpha-blockers and ACE inhibitors to relax arteries. There are many associated side effects with any prescription, so CBD for high blood pressure may be an agreeable route if you are worried about adverse reactions to medicine.
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.
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What If Lifestyle Changes Dont Help Lower My Blood Pressure
If diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes dont work to lower your blood pressure, your healthcare provider prescribe hypertension medications. Your provider will take into account these drugs effect on other conditions you may have, such as heart or kidney disease, and other drugs youre taking.
You might need to take hypertension medicine from now on. Be sure to follow your providers dosing directions exactly.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/20/2020.
Adopting A Cleaner Lifestyle
If youre a smoker, try to quit. The chemicals in tobacco smoke damage the bodys tissues and harden blood vessel walls.
If you regularly consume too much alcohol or have an alcohol dependency, seek help to reduce the amount you drink or stop altogether. Alcohol can raise blood pressure.
One of the easiest ways you can treat hypertension and prevent possible complications is through your diet. What you eat can go a long way toward easing or eliminating hypertension.
Here are some of the most common dietary recommendations for people with hypertension.
Advancing Research For Improved Health
In support of our mission, we are committed to advancing high blood pressure research in part through the following ways.
- We perform research. The NHLBI Division of Intramural Research and its Cardiovascular Branch conducts research on diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels, including high blood pressure. Other DIR groups, such as the Center for Molecular Medicine and Systems Biology Center, perform research on heart and vascular diseases.
- We fund research. The research we fund today will help improve our future health. Our Division of Cardiovascular Sciences and its Vascular Biology and Hypertension Branch oversee much of the research we fund on the regulation of blood pressure, pathways involved in high blood pressure, and the complications from uncontrolled high blood pressure. The Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science supports research to translate these discoveries into clinical practice. Search the NIH RePORTer to learn about research NHLBI is funding on high blood pressure.
- We stimulate high-impact research. Our Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine Program includes participants who have high blood pressure, which may help us understand how genes contribute to differences in disease severity and how patients respond to treatment. The NHLBI Strategic Vision highlights ways we may support research over the next decade, including new efforts for studying high blood pressure.
Learn about exciting high blood pressure research we are exploring.
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 range from mild to serious. The forms of high blood pressure during pregnancy include:
Chronic hypertension: High blood pressure which is present prior to pregnancy.
Chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia: Preeclampsia, which develops in someone who has chronic hypertension .
Gestational hypertension: High blood pressure in the latter part of pregnancy, but no other signs or symptoms of preeclampsia are present. Some women will later develop preeclampsia, while others probably have high blood pressure before the pregnancy.
Preeclampsia: This is found in the latter half of pregnancy and results in hypertension, protein in the urine and generalized swelling in the mother. It can affect other organs in the body and cause seizures .
Your blood pressure will be checked regularly during prenatal appointments, but if you have concerns about your blood pressure, be sure to talk with your provider.
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Treating High Blood Pressure
Treatment for high blood pressure will depend on your blood pressure levels and your associated risk of developing a cardiovascular disease, such as a heart attack or stroke.
There are seven main risk factors for developing a cardiovascular disease. These are:
- having a high level of cholesterol in your blood
- having a family history of cardiovascular disease .
Blood Pressure Checks During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant, you should have your blood pressure checked on a regular basis, even if it is not high.
Watching your blood pressure while you are pregnant reduces your risk of developing pregnancy-induced hypertension. This can lead to a serious condition called pre-eclampsia where there is a problem with the placenta .
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What Is Normal Blood Pressure
A blood pressure reading is written like this: 120/80. It’s read as “120 over 80.” The top number is called the systolic, and bottom number is called the diastolic. The ranges are:
- Normal: Less than 120 over 80
- Elevated: 120-129/less than 80
- Stage 1 high blood pressure: 130-139/80-89
- Stage 2 high blood pressure: 140 and above/90 and above
- Hypertension crisis: higher than 180/higher than 120 — See a doctor right away
If your blood pressure is above the normal range, talk to your doctor about how to lower it.
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 Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed
High blood pressure is diagnosed with a blood pressure monitor. This is a common test for all doctor visits. A nurse will place a band around your arm. The band is attached to a small pump and a meter. He or she will squeeze the pump. It will feel tight around your arm. Then he or she will stop and watch the meter. This provides the nurse with 2 numbers that make up your blood pressure. The top number is your systolic reading . The bottom number is your diastolic reading . You may also hear the doctor or nurse say a blood pressure is 120 over 80.
- Normal blood pressure is less than 120 on top and less than 80 on the bottom.
- Prehypertension levels are 120-139 on top and 80-89 on the bottom.
- High blood pressure, stage 1 is 140-159 on top and 90-99 on the bottom.
- High blood pressure, stage 2 is 160 or higher on top and 100 and over on the bottom.
The higher your blood pressure is, the more often you need to have it checked. After age 18, have your blood pressure checked at least once every two years. Do it more often if you have had high blood pressure in the past.
High Blood Pressure Portal Hypertension And Hepatitis C
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Many individuals with hepatitis C experience a variety of comorbid conditions, including high blood pressure and portal hypertension. Comorbid conditions are conditions that are occurring at the same time as one another. If an individual has hepatitis C and high blood pressure at the same time, these are considered comorbid.
To get a better understanding of the hepatitis C community, we conducted our 2018 Hepatitis C in America survey. Of those who took the survey, 35% said they had both hepatitis C and high blood pressure. In addition to the survey, some studies have shown that hepatitis C and high blood pressure often go along with one another, although the exact reason for this is unknown.1
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What The Numbers Mean
For most adults, a normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg.Your blood pressure is considered high when you have consistent systolic readings of 130 mm Hg or higher or diastolic readings of 80 mm Hg or higher.
For children younger than 13, blood pressure readings are compared with readings common for children of the same, age, sex, and height. Read more about blood pressure readings for children.
Talk to your doctor if your blood pressure readings are consistently higher than 120/80 mm Hg. NHLBI-supported research indicates that systolic blood pressure greater than 120 mm Hg can be increasingly harmful to health. Note that readings above 180/120 mm Hg are dangerously high and require immediate medical attention.
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.
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How Is Hypertensive Heart Disease Diagnosed
Your doctor will look for certain signs of hypertensive heart disease, including:
- High blood pressure
- Fluid in the lungs or lower extremities
- Unusual heart sounds
Your doctor may perform tests to determine if you have hypertensive heart disease, including an electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, cardiac stress test, chest X-ray, and coronary angiogram.
What Is Ischemic Heart Disease
High blood pressure can also cause ischemic heart disease. This means that the heart muscle isn’t getting enough blood. Ischemic heart disease is usually the result of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries , which impedes blood flow to the heart. Symptoms of ischemic heart disease may include:
- Chest pain which may radiate to the arms, back, neck, or jaw
- Chest pain with nausea, sweating, shortness of breath, and dizziness these associated symptoms may also occur without chest pain
- Irregular pulse
Any of these symptoms of ischemic heart disease warrant immediate medical evaluation.
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Hemoglobin And High Blood Pressure Explained
Image Credit: MavCure
The relationship between hemoglobin and high blood pressure is relatively less researched than other areas of high blood pressure interest such as, for example, Olmesartan and hypertension or Ginkgo and high blood pressure. Available studies examining the link between hemoglobin and high blood pressure, though limited in number, do confirm that a relationship does exists between hemoglobin levels and increased blood pressure. Looking under the hood to explain the link, a quick look first at what hemoglobin is. Hemoglobin, with symbols Hb or Hgb, is found in red blood cells. It is a protein produced by the kidneys and responsible for transporting oxygen around the body. Clinical trials that have looked into the relationship between hemoglobin and high blood pressure have assumed a hypothetical stand-point that hemoglobin elevates blood pressure. Prior to any studies directly seeking to understand any association between hemoglobin and blood pressure, it had been observed that patients being treated for anemia using erythropoietin had elevated blood pressure. This became the basis for the hypothesis which indicated a positive relationship between hemoglobin and high blood pressure.
Anemia is when the body is deficient of red blood cells or of hemoglobin in the blood. Erythropoietin is a hormone that promotes production of red blood cells. It can be administered externally to stimulate the production of hemoglobin