Whats Considered Elevated Blood Pressure
Blood pressure numbers that are higher than 120/80 mm Hg are a warning sign. It means you need to pay attention to your blood pressure and focus on heart-healthy habits.
Although these numbers arent technically considered high blood pressure, youve moved out of the normal range. Elevated blood pressure may turn into high blood pressure, which puts you at an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Elevated blood pressure
When your systolic pressure is between 120 and 129mm Hgand your diastolic pressure is less than 80mm Hg, it means you have elevated blood pressure.
No medications are necessary for elevated blood pressure. But your doctor may talk with you about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, such as getting regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and managing your weight.
You may receive a diagnosis of stage 1 hypertension if:
- your systolic blood pressure is between 130 and 139 mm Hg, or
- your diastolic blood pressure is between 80 and 89 mm Hg
However, the AHA notes that if you get only one reading this high, you may not truly have stage 1 hypertension. What determines the diagnosis of hypertension at any stage is the average of your blood pressure numbers over a period of time.
Your doctor can help you measure and track your blood pressure to confirm whether its too high.
Stage 1 hypertension
If your systolic blood pressure is 130 to 139 mm Hgor your diastolic blood pressure is 80 to 89 mm Hg, its considered stage 1 hypertension.
High Blood Pressure Categories
You can divide high blood pressure into five categories, according to guidelines from the American College of Cardiology:
- Normal: Normal blood pressure in adults is any blood pressure below 120/80.
- Elevated: In adults, elevated blood pressure is a systolic reading of 120-129 and a diastolic reading below 80.
- Hypertension stage I: This stage includes blood pressures ranges of 130-139 or 80-89 .
- Hypertension stage II: This stage includes blood pressures ranges above 140 or above 90 .
- Hypertensive crisis: Severely elevated blood pressure is defined as greater than 180 and/or 120 and associated with new or worsening organ damage.
Your Blood Pressure Numbers And What They Mean
Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.
- Diastolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
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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.
The Best Blood Pressure Monitor For 2021
If you’re taking your blood pressure at home, try one of these devices that meet the American Heart Association’s standards.
If you’re health-conscious, blood pressure is an important data point in painting a picture of your overall health. People who have hypertension or high blood pressure already know this, as they’re at a higher risk of experiencing heart attack or heart disease, and being aware of any unusual spikes can be life-saving. That said, everyone could benefit from keeping track of their blood pressure. After all, if you monitor your blood pressure and heart rate, you can establish a baseline you can refer to in the event of a health issue. For the unaware, normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg.
Manual blood pressure monitoring devices don’t offer irregular heartbeat detection or provide your heart rate. Unless you’re a trained professional, they also may not provide the accurate reading you need when you’re looking for both your systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Even the name is complicated — who can say sphygmomanometer, anyway?
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Anyway, according to the American Heart Association, blood pressure measurement depends on two things to get an accurate result: a properly fitting blood pressure cuff and independent validation.
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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.
How Do I Know If I Have High Blood Pressure
Theres only one way to know if you have high blood pressure: Have a doctor or other health professional measure it. Measuring your blood pressure is quick and painless.
Talk with your health care team about regularly measuring your blood pressure at home, also called self-measured blood pressure monitoring.
High blood pressure is called the silent killer because it usually has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it.
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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.
At Home Vs The Doctors Office
Many people find that they have higher blood pressure readings at the doctors office, sometimes because theyre less at ease there and because professional tools may be more accurate.
Readings taken at home can be less accurate than those taken at the doctors office where manual checks are a possibility. One way to make sure that youre getting consistent blood pressure readings is to bring your monitor with you to an appointment.
Trying to get an accurate reading? Start with these steps.
Once you have an accurate reading, you may wonder what it means. Healthy blood pressure in adults is a reading of less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury , but what if your numbers dont match?
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What Is The Ideal Blood Pressure
Blood pressure readings are calculated using one number over another: systolic blood pressure over diastolic. The blood pressure monitor shows measurements in millimetres of mercury, appearing as mmHg. Everyones blood pressure will be slightly different and you would need to discuss with a medical professional as to whats safe for you.
The normal blood pressure range for adults comes in between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. This means that anything below 90/60mmHg mark constitutes low blood pressure , while anything above 140/90mmHg indicates high blood pressure as this is the threshold where a medical professional would actively monitor your blood pressure.
Knowing these numbers can help make you more aware of your health, and may help you to stay on top of your blood pressure
Which Number Is More Important
Typically, more attention is given to systolic blood pressure as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50. In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to the increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term buildup of plaque and an increased incidence of cardiac and vascular disease.
However, either an elevated systolic or an elevated diastolic blood pressure reading may be used to make a diagnosis of high blood pressure. According to recent studies, the risk of death from ischemic heart disease and stroke doubles with every 20 mm Hg systolic or 10 mm Hg diastolic increase among people from age 40 to 89.
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How Older Adults Can Maintain A Healthy Blood Pressure
Maintaining a healthy blood pressure doesnt have to be complicated. Simple lifestyle changes can help:
- Exercise. National guidelines recommend adults of all ages engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. If mobility or health conditions are a problem, older adults should try to be as physically active as possible.
- Lose weight. If your loved one is overweight, every 2 pounds lost can help reduce blood pressure by 1 mm Hg.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet low in salt. The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy foods. It was designed specifically to help lower blood pressure. Try to limit sodium to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day.
- Avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol can raise your blood pressure. If your loved one chooses to drink alcoholic drinks, limit it to no more than one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men.
- Dont smoke. Tobacco damages your artery walls. If your loved one smokes, ask their doctor how to help them quit.
- Manage stress. Try simple relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation.
In some cases, diet and lifestyle changes are not enough to lower blood pressure. Your loved one may be having a difficult time achieving significant changes in their lifestyle, or their hypertension may be too severe to treat with diet and exercise alone.
What Are High Blood Pressure Complications During Pregnancy
Complications from high blood pressure for the mother and infant can include the following:
- For the mother:preeclampsiaexternal icon, eclampsiaexternal icon, stroke, the need for labor induction , and placental abruption .1,4,5
- For the baby:preterm delivery and low birth weight .1,6 The mothers high blood pressure makes it more difficult for the baby to get enough oxygen and nutrients to grow, so the mother may have to deliver the baby early.
Discuss blood pressure problems with your health care team before, during, and after pregnancy.
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What To Do If Your Reading Is Inaccurate
Sometimes youll get a BP measurement that just doesnt make sense. This is fairly common, especially when youre new to home blood pressure monitoring.
If you didnt get an accurate reading, dont immediately re-inflate the blood pressure cuff. Remove the cuff and give yourself at least one minute before reapplying the cuff and repeating the steps to measure your blood pressure.
The American Heart Association recommends taking your new home blood pressure monitor with you to your next doctors appointment.1 You can ask questions, and your doctor can make sure youre using the monitor correctly.
You can also verify that your home monitor gets the same results as the equipment in your doctors office. Its good practice to bring in your home monitor at least once a year to make sure readings are still accurate.
- High Blood Pressure Stage 1
- High Blood Pressure Stage 2
- Hypertensive Crisis
Should I Buy A Used Blood Pressure Monitor
While many used blood pressure monitors are available, its a good idea to buy a new one. The accuracy and reliability of your blood pressure monitor can determine your hypertension care course and may save your life. You want to make sure your machine works correctly.
To check how accurate your monitor is, you can take it to your doctors office and see how it compares with their results.
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Keep Yourself At A Healthy Weight
Having overweight or obesity increases your risk for high blood pressure. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate your body mass index . If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI at CDCs Assessing Your Weight website. Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to assess body fat.
Talk with your health care team about ways to reach a healthy weight, including choosing healthy foods and getting regular physical activity.
How Can You Reduce Your Risk Of High Blood Pressure
Fortunately, there are certain things you can do to help reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure. These include the following:
- Eat right: A healthy diet is an important step in keeping your blood pressure normal. The DASH diet emphasizes adding fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your diet while reducing the amount of sodium. Since its rich in fruits and vegetables, which are naturally lower in sodium than many other foods, the DASH diet makes it easier to eat less salt and sodium.
- Keep a healthy weight: Going hand-in-hand with a proper diet is keeping a healthy weight. Since being overweight increases your blood pressure, losing excess weight with diet and exercise will help lower your blood pressure to healthier levels.
- Cut down on salt: The recommendation for salt in your diet is to have less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day . To prevent hypertension, you should keep your salt intake below this level. Don’t forget that most restaurant foods and many processed and frozen foods contain high levels of salt. Use herbs and spices that do not contain salt in recipes to flavor your food do not add salt at the table.
- Keep active: Even simple physical activities, such as walking, can lower your blood pressure .
- Drinkalcoholin moderation: Having more than one drink a day and two drinks a day can raise blood pressure.
Hemodynamic Profile Associated With Intradialytic Hypertension
It is well recognized that dialysis-unit obtained BP parameters can be poor reflections of the interdialytic hemodynamic burden a patient experiences. Whether patients whose BP increases during hemodialysis experience an overall higher interdialytic hemodynamic burden compared to those whose BP declines during HD is uncertain. In one study analyzing the predictive power of pre and postdialysis unit BP measurements compared to ambulatory blood pressure, patients with intradialytic increases in SBP were noted to exhibit a poor correlation between dialysis-unit obtained BP parameters and ambulatory blood pressure. In patients with intradialytic hypertension, predialysis SBP had a correlation coefficient of 0.26 with ambulatory blood pressure and postdialysis BP had a correlation coefficient of 0.59 with BP measured by ambulatory blood pressure. Thus, while it is evident that the low predialysis SBP in patients with intradialytic hypertension is not reflective of the interdialytic BP, whether the elevated postdialysis SBP is an accurate reflection of the interdialytic hemodynamic burden is uncertain.
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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