Research From The Smidt Heart Institute Shows That A One
A new study from theSmidt Heart Instituteat Cedars-Sinai shows that women have a lower normal blood pressure range compared to men. The findings were published today in the peer-reviewed journal Circulation.
Currently, established blood pressure guidelines state that women and men have the same normal healthy range of blood pressure. But the new research shows there are differences in normal blood pressure between the sexes.
Our latest findings suggest that this one-size-fits-all approach to considering blood pressure may be detrimental to a womans health, saidSusan Cheng, MD, MPH, MMSc, associate professor of Cardiology and director of the Institute for Research on Healthy Aging in the Department of Cardiology at the Smidt Heart Institute and senior author of the study. Based on our research results, we recommend that the medical community reassess blood pressure guidelines that do not account for sex differences.
The first number in a blood pressure reading is called the systolic pressure and measures the force of the blood against the artery walls as your heart beats. The second number is the diastolic pressure, the blood pressure against the artery walls between heartbeats.
For years, 120 mmHg has been considered the normal upper limit for systolic blood pressure in adults. Persistent elevations above this limit amount to hypertensionwhich is well known as the key risk factor for common cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack, heart failure, and stroke.
What Are The Causes Of High Blood Pressure
Elevated blood pressure increases your risk of chronic high blood pressure as you age. Taking steps to manage your blood pressure helps decrease this risk.
There are also some health conditions that increase your risks of chronic high blood pressure, including obesity and diabetes. Other causes include:
- Genetics/family history
- Lack of exercise
- Alcohol or tobacco abuse
As adults age, their odds of high blood pressure increase, with 90% of Americans forecasted to develop high blood pressure in their lifetimes. Black people tend to develop high blood pressure more often and earlier in life compared to white people. Hispanics, Asians, American Indians, and Pacific Islanders also stand an increased risk of high blood pressure compared to other ethnicities.
What Do Blood Pressure Readings Mean
The American Heart Association defines normal blood pressure as less than 120/80. Elevated blood pressure ranges between 120/80 and 129/80, and high blood pressure is 130/80 and higher. In pregnancy, normal blood pressure should be below 120/80.
If your blood pressure reaches the high range, you should see your doctor about lifestyle changes, and possibly medication especially if you have other risk factors, such as diabetes or heart disease.
High blood pressure may indicate an emergency situation. If this high blood pressure is associated with chest pain, shortness of breath, headache, dizziness, or back or abdominal pain, seek medical care immediately. If you are experiencing no associated symptoms with a high blood pressure reading such as this, re-check it again within a few minutes and contact your doctor or go to an emergency room if it is still high.
If your blood pressure is lower than about 100/60 you may have low blood pressure, depending on the associated symptoms. If you are unsure, check with your doctor.
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Reading A Blood Pressure Chart
Your BP monitor will display two numbers. The first number is systolic blood pressure . The second number is diastolic blood pressure .
In Canada, the ideal or low-risk systolic pressure is 120 or less. By contrast, the optimal diastolic blood pressure is 80 or less. So, if your BP reading is 120/80 or 117/78, you have normal blood pressure levels.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure For A Pregnant Woman
It is important for pregnant women to monitor their blood pressure regularly. Hypertension during pregnancy poses various risks to both the baby and the mother. Among other things, it greatly increases your risk of developing preeclampsiaa dangerous pregnancy complication that can develop after week 20 of pregnancy.
Ideally, your blood pressure during pregnancy should remain in the normal rangeat about 120/80 mm Hg. If your blood pressure is elevated , your doctor may want to monitor you closely and take your blood pressure more often to ensure that it doesnt increase too much.
Blood pressure greater than 140/90 mm Hg during pregnancy is cause for concern. It may indicate preeclampsia, and your doctor will take the necessary precautions to ensure that you and your baby are safe.
How Does Blood Pressure Work
During relaxation of the heart , the left ventricle of the heart fills with blood returning from the lungs. The left ventricle then contracts and pumps blood into the arteries . The blood pressure in the arteries during contraction of the ventricle is higher because blood is being actively ejected into the arteries. It is lower during relaxation of the ventricle when no blood is being ejected into the arteries. The pulse we feel when we place our fingers over an artery is caused by the contraction of the left ventricle and the ejection of blood.
Blood pressure is determined by two factors:
Generally, blood pressure tends to be higher if more blood is pumped into the arteries or if the arterioles are narrow and/or stiff. Narrow and/or stiff arterioles, by resisting the flow of blood, increase blood pressure. Arterioles may become narrower when the muscles surrounding them contract. Arterioles may become stiff and narrow when older patients develop atherosclerosis.
Blood pressure tends to be lower if less blood is being pumped into the arteries or if the arterioles are larger and more flexible and, therefore, have less resistance to the flow of blood.
The heart rate increases and the forcefulness of the heart’s contractions increase, pumping more blood through the heart.
Normal Blood Pressure In Women
High blood pressure is largely treatable with lifestyle and medications, but only slightly over half of women with high blood pressure have their condition under control says a recent study from the American Heart Association . So what is normal blood pressure for women?
You can work to stay healthy by monitoring your numbers, considering healthy lifestyle changes, and following your doctors orders. Health tools such as Lark, which is provided free of charge by many health plans and includes guidance on blood pressure reduction and free tools to track it at home, can help you.
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Taking Your Pulse Versus Checking Your Blood Pressure
While both are indications of health, blood pressure and heart rate are two separate measurements. Learn more about the difference between blood pressure and heart rate.
Systolic is less than 120 and my diastolic is less than 80
Systolic is 120 129 and my diastolic is less than 80
The good news is that you dont have high blood pressure. However, your numbers fall within the Elevated category, making you more likely to develop high blood pressure unless you take action to control it. Ready to make some small changes that have big impacts? Healthy lifestyle choices are a great place to start.
Systolic is 130 139 or my diastolic is 80 89
You are in the first stage of hypertension, but there are actions you can take to get your blood pressure under control. Your doctor will speak to you about small changes that can make a big difference and other BP Raisers. In addition, monitoring blood pressure outside of the doctors office is important for BP control.
Systolic is 140 or higher or my diastolic is 90 or higher
Systolic is higher than 180 and/or my diastolic is higher than 120
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.
Signs And Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure may not have any symptoms and so hypertension has been labeled “the silent killer.” Longstanding high blood pressure can lead to multiple complications including heart attack, kidney disease, or stroke.
Some people experience symptoms with their high blood pressure. These symptoms include:
- The Feeling of pulsations in the neck or head
Stress Management And High Blood Pressure
Stress can raise blood pressure even if you are following a healthy DASH diet plan. Many times, the things that cause stress are outside of our control and we feel we cannot change it . What we can change is how we let stress impact us. By learning to be more stress resilient, we can reduce the impacts of stress, such as high blood pressure and weight gain. Stress management techniques such as courses in meditation are a good option. Two types of mediation, transcendental meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction, have been studied and proven to lower blood pressure as well as increase peace of mind and stress resiliency.
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
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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.
The Different Blood Pressure Levels Are:
- Normal: Less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic
- Elevated: 120-129 systolic and less than 80 diastolic
- High Blood Pressure Stage 1:
- 130-139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic
These simple changes can go a long way and are key factors in lowering your numbers.
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What You Should Know About Fluctuating Blood Pressure In The Elderly
As you help monitor your loved ones blood pressure, keep in mind that numbers fluctuate slightly throughout the day thats normal. Several factors influence your blood pressure numbers. For example, your blood pressure may be lower if youre resting and higher if youre stressed. This means you may have a normal reading in the morning and an elevated number in the afternoon.
If youre concerned about excessive fluctuation in your loved ones blood pressure numbers:
- Read instructions to ensure youre using your home blood pressure monitor equipment correctly. Variations in how you measure your loved ones blood pressure can result in different readings.
- Bring your home monitor to your next doctors appointment to compare readings.
- Be aware of white coat hypertension. In some cases, a persons blood pressure may be high at a doctors office but normal at home. This could be attributed to the stress related to a doctors appointment.
Your loved ones doctor may want you to keep a blood pressure diary with several readings a day for a couple of weeks to monitor any variations.
High Blood Pressure Can Increase Your Risk Of Diabetes Check Now
|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|
Increasing Diet Quality For Women
Most Americans get too much sodium and not enough potassium, and that can be a blood pressure-raising combination. Shifting the balance can help lower blood pressure by a few points. These choices can help you change the balance to get more potassium and less sodium.
Good foods for women watching thei blood pressure:
- Consume more beans, vegetables, fruit, fish, and yogurt.
- Watch processed and prepared foods, such as canned foods, snack foods, processed meats, and frozen foods.
- Limit prepared foods, such as fast food and deli salads.
- Cut out salty foods, such as salty sauces and dressings, cheese, and pickles.
- Vitamin C: in vegetables and fruit.
- Vitamin D: in fortified milk and fatty fish.
- Fiber: in vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, and fruit.
- Calcium: in dairy products, dairy substitutes, and leafy greens.
Sodium and potassium may be the nutrients you hear about most often for blood pressure, but other nutrients can also help keep your numbers in check.
As you think about boosting good nutrients, you can also think about limiting the bad ones.
- Swap olive oil, avocados, and nut butters for butter, shortening, and lard.
- Take fruit instead of baked goods or ice cream for a sweet treat.
- Look for whole grain versions instead of opting for refined cereal and white bread, pasta, and rice.
It is higher than the average diet in vegetables, fruit, and dairy products. It is lower than the average diet in added sugars, refined starches, and red meat.
Choosing A Home Blood Pressure Monitor
The American Heart Association recommends an automatic, cuff-style, bicep monitor.
- Wrist and finger monitors are not recommended because they yield less reliable readings.
- Choose a monitor that has been validated. If you are unsure, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice or find options at validatebp.org.
- When selecting a blood pressure monitor for a senior, pregnant woman or child, make sure it is validated for these conditions.
- Make sure the cuff fits measure around your upper arm and choose a monitor that comes with the correct size cuff.
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What Is A Normal Blood Pressure Reading
Do you know what your blood pressure reading should be?
Blood pressure is the force at which your heart pumps blood around the body and is recorded with 2 numbers. The higher of the numbers is an indication of when the heart is pumping the lower number is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels. Its widely publicised that high and low blood pressure can induce health problems, but what about healthy blood pressure?
Blood Pressure Is Diagnosed By A Doctor Using A Blood Pressure Machine The Process Includes:
- Being seated in a chair with your back supported
- Putting your feet flat on the floor and supporting your arm at heart level
- Remaining quiet for five minutes and refraining from talking
It is very important to use the proper size cuff when taking a blood pressure reading. Failure to do so will lead to inaccuracies. A cuff that is too small for the arm circumference will give an artificially high reading. A cuff that is too large will give too low a reading. Initially, blood pressure should be measured in each arm to make sure both readings are the same. The arm with the higher readings should then be targeted for all future blood pressure checks.
If your blood pressure readings are high, your doctor may ask that you return for additional measurements on different days because blood pressure can vary widely from day to day.
Your doctor will most likely diagnose you with high blood pressure if you have several readings of 140/90 or higher. If you have readings of 130/80 or higher and are diabetic or have chronic kidney disease, you are likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure.
What can I do if I am diagnosed with high blood pressure?
Eat healthy food
Make sure your diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods. An easy tool for planning health meals is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet which can help you reduce your systolic blood pressure by 8-14 mm Hg.
Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight
Increase Physical Activity
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Check Your Blood Pressure At Home
The new guidelines note that blood pressure should be measured on a regular basis and encourage people to use home blood pressure monitors. Monitors can range from $40 to $100 on average, but your insurance may cover part or all of the cost. Measure your blood pressure a few times a week and see your doctor if you notice any significant changes. Here are some tips on how to choose and use a monitor.
- Select a monitor that goes around your upper arm. Wrist and finger monitors are not as precise.
- Select an automated monitor, which has a cuff that inflates itself.
- Look for a digital readout that is large and bright enough to see clearly.
- Consider a monitor that also plugs into your smartphone to transfer the readings to an app, which then creates a graph of your progress. Some devices can send readings wirelessly to your phone.