What Are The Treatments For High Blood Pressure
Treatments for high blood pressure include heart-healthy lifestyle changes and medicines.
You will work with your provider to come up with a treatment plan. It may include only the lifestyle changes. These changes, such as heart-healthy eating and exercise, can be very effective. But sometimes the changes do not control or lower your high blood pressure. Then you may need to take medicine. There are different types of blood pressure medicines. Some people need to take more than one type.
If your high blood pressure is caused by another medical condition or medicine, treating that condition or stopping the medicine may lower your blood pressure.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
What Do The Diastolic And Systolic Numbers Mean
How is blood pressure measured?
Blood pressure is measured with a blood pressure cuff and recorded as two numbers, for example, 120/80 mm Hg . Blood pressure measurements are usually taken at the upper arm over the brachial artery.
- The top, the larger number is called the systolic pressure. This measures the pressure generated when the heart contracts . It reflects the pressure of the blood against arterial walls.
- At the bottom, the smaller number is called the diastolic pressure. This reflects the pressure in the arteries while the heart is filling and resting between heartbeats.
Symptoms In Teens And People In Their Early 20s
Teenagers can develop high blood pressure due to obesity or an underlying medical condition.
Possible medical factors include:
- endocrine disease, which affects the hormones
- vascular disease, which affects the blood vessels
- a neurological condition
These conditions may have symptoms of their own.
The symptoms of high blood pressure, if they occur, will be the same as for other groups.
A 2021 study notes that, while death rates from cardiovascular disease have fallen among older adults, the reduction has been less dramatic in those aged 1839 years. The author suggests there are lower rates of awareness, treatment, and management of high blood pressure in those aged 2039. With this in mind, they call for more effective identification of high blood pressure in these age groups to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems later in life.
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Understanding Your Blood Pressure Reading
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury and is given as 2 figures:
- systolic pressure the pressure when your heart pushes blood out
- diastolic pressure the pressure when your heart rests between beats
For example, if your blood pressure is “140 over 90”, or 140/90mmHg, it means you have a systolic pressure of 140mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 90mmHg.
As a general guide:
- high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80
- ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg, while the target for over-80s is below 150/90mmHg
Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.
Page last reviewed: 23 October 2019 Next review due: 23 October 2022
Checking Your Blood Pressure
The best way to find out if you have hypertension is by checking your blood pressure. This can be done at the doctors office, at home with a blood pressure monitor, or even by using a public blood pressure monitor, such as those found in shopping malls and pharmacies.
You should know your usual blood pressure. If you see a significant increase in this number the next time your blood pressure is checked, you should seek further evaluation from your healthcare provider.
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How To Understand High Blood Pressure Readings
Two numbers create a blood pressure reading. Systolic pressure indicates the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats and pumps out blood. Diastolic pressure is the reading of the pressure in your arteries between beats of your heart.
Five categories define blood pressure readings for adults:
- Healthy: A healthy blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury .
- Elevated: The systolic number is between 120 and 129 mm Hg, and the diastolic number is less than 80 mm Hg. Doctors usually dont treat elevated blood pressure with medication. Instead, your doctor may encourage lifestyle changes to help lower your numbers.
- Stage 1 hypertension: The systolic number is between 130 and 139 mm Hg, or the diastolic number is between 80 and 89 mm Hg.
- Stage 2 hypertension: The systolic number is 140 mm Hg or higher, or the diastolic number is 90 mm Hg or higher.
- Hypertensive crisis: The systolic number is over 180 mm Hg, or the diastolic number is over 120 mm Hg. Blood pressure in this range requires urgent medical attention. If any symptoms like chest pain, headache, shortness of breath, or visual changes occur when blood pressure is this high, medical care in the emergency room is needed.
A blood pressure reading is taken with a pressure cuff. For an accurate reading, its important you have a cuff that fits. An ill-fitting cuff may deliver inaccurate readings.
How Blood Pressure Is Controlled
When the heart contracts, the blood inside the left ventricle is forced out into the aorta and arteries. The blood then enters small vessels with muscular walls, called arterioles. The tone in the muscular walls of the arterioles determines how relaxed or constricted they are. If narrowed, they resist flow.Reduced flow of blood is detected in the brain, the kidneys and elsewhere. Nerve reflexes are stimulated and hormones are then produced. The heart is induced to beat more forcefully so that blood pressure is maintained at a higher level, to overcome the restricted flow through the arterioles. The achievement of good flow eases possible problems for function of the brain and kidneys.These adjustments occur normally. However, in some people the adjustments become fixed and high blood pressure persists. These people have developed hypertension.
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Negative Effects Of Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about one out of every three American adults have high blood pressure, or hypertension. Because high blood pressure is so common, it might be tempting to assume that its no big deal. But the truth is, that when left untreated, high blood pressure can put you at risk for potentially life-threatening complications.
Here are eight ways that uncontrolled high blood pressure can negatively affect your health:
Risks Of High Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes.
Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, such as:
- have a relative with high blood pressure
- are of black African or black Caribbean descent
- live in a deprived area
Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high.
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Home Blood Pressure Readings
You may be given a machine to take your own blood pressure readings at home.
These are readings taken by a person whilst seated and at rest at home, using a standard blood pressure machine. You need to take readings twice a day for a week. This will give 14 top and 14 bottom readings. Add the top readings together and divide by 14. Then do the same for the bottom readings. This gives you an average reading. It’s normal for your blood pressure to fluctuate, so a single raised reading isn’t a cause for concern unless it’s extremely high.
You may be advised to take readings twice a day for eight days rather than a week, and ignore the readings from the first day, which will tend to be higher.
What Is Considered High Blood Pressure
The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology have recommended guidelines to define normal and high blood pressure .
Guidelines to define normal and high blood pressure stages chart
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Based on these new 2017 guidelines defining high blood pressure, as many as half of all Americans will have this disease . Uncontrolled high blood pressure is responsible for many cases of death and disability resulting from a heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure.
According to research studies, the risk of dying of a heart attack is directly linked to high blood pressure, particularly systolic hypertension. The higher your blood pressure, the higher the risk. Maintaining lifelong control of hypertension decreases the future risk of complications such as heart attack and stroke.
About 1% of people with high blood pressure do not seek medical care until the high blood pressure is very severe, a condition known as malignant hypertension or a hypertensive emergency.
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Classification Of Blood Pressure
Blood pressure in adults is classified as normal, elevated blood pressure, stage 1 hypertension, or stage 2 hypertension.
However, the higher the blood pressure, the greater the risk of complicationseven within the normal blood pressure rangeso these limits are somewhat arbitrary.
A hypertensive urgency is diastolic blood pressure that is more than 120 mm Hg but has not yet caused any organ damage that is apparent to people or their doctors. A hypertensive urgency usually does not cause symptoms.
A hypertensive emergency is a particularly severe form of high blood pressure. Diastolic blood pressure is at least 120 mm Hg, and there is evidence of progressive damage in one or more vital organs , often accompanied by a variety of symptoms. Hypertensive emergencies are uncommon, but they are several times more common among blacks than among whites, among men than among women, and among people in lower socioeconomic groups than among those in higher socioeconomic groups. If untreated, a hypertensive emergency can be fatal.
What Does It Mean When Your Blood Pressure Is High
If your doctor says that your blood pressure is high, that means that your blood pushes against the walls of your arteries with more force than what is normal.
Blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day, so its possible to have high blood pressure at night if you consumed a lot of caffeine during the day. Or, you could experience high blood pressure in the morning at the office because of a stressful meeting.
Normally, when people talk about high blood pressure they are describing a medical condition where blood pressure levels are consistently elevated. Doctors may call this hypertension, the medical term for high blood pressure.
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What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is a measurement of the force of your blood as it pushes against artery walls. This force moves blood throughout your body. Every time you visit a doctor, you get a blood pressure reading to make sure your blood pressure numbers arent too high or too low. If they get above a certain level, heart and blood problems can arise.
A typical blood pressure reading involves a top number and a bottom number. The top number refers to systolic blood pressure, or the measure of blood pressure when your heart contracts. The bottom number refers to diastolic blood pressure, or the measure of blood pressure when your heart expands.
But how do you know if your blood pressure is too high? Learn about the signs and symptoms and ways to treat high blood pressure if you have it.
What Are The Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
In the vast majority of cases, there are no clear symptoms of high blood pressure , which can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and eye problems if untreated. The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. This is especially important if you have a close relative who has high blood pressure.
If your blood pressure is extremely high, there may be certain symptoms to look out for, including:
If you have any of these hypertension symptoms, see a doctor immediately. You could be having a hypertensive crisis that could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
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Stroke And Brain Problems
High blood pressure can cause the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain to burst or be blocked, causing a stroke. Brain cells die during a stroke because they do not get enough oxygen. Stroke can cause serious disabilities in speech, movement, and other basic activities. A stroke can also kill you.
Having high blood pressure, especially in midlife, is linked to having poorer cognitive function and dementia later in life. Learn more about the link between high blood pressure and dementia from the National Institutes of Healths Mind Your Risks®external icon campaign.
Can You Prevent High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure may be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle include:
- Eat a nutritious, low-fat diet. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the NIH outlines the DASH diet, that is describes as a “flexible and balanced eating plan that helps create a heart-healthy eating style for life.”
- Get regular exercise.
- Maintain a healthy weight, and if you are overweight or obese, try to lose weight.
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
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Monitor Your Blood Pressure Regularly
The best way to prevent complications and avoid problems is to recognize hypertension early.
Keep a log of your blood pressure readings and take it to your regular doctor appointments. This can help your doctor see any possible problems before the condition advances.
People with hypertension can deliver healthy babies despite having the condition. But it can be dangerous to both the birthing parent and baby if its not monitored closely and managed during the pregnancy.
People with high blood pressure who become pregnant are more likely to develop complications . For example, pregnant women with hypertension may experience decreased kidney function. Babies born to birthing parents with hypertension may have a low birth weight or be born prematurely.
Some people may develop hypertension during their pregnancies. Several types of high blood pressure problems can develop. The condition often reverses itself once the baby is born. Developing hypertension during pregnancy may increase your risk for developing hypertension later in life.
Secondary Hypertension Treatment Options
If your doctor discovers an underlying issue causing your hypertension, treatment will focus on that other condition. For example, if a medication youve started taking is causing increased blood pressure, your doctor will try other medications that dont have this side effect.
Sometimes, hypertension is persistent despite treatment for the underlying cause. In this case, your doctor may work with you to develop lifestyle changes and prescribe medications to help reduce your blood pressure.
Treatment plans for hypertension often evolve. What worked at first may become less useful over time. Your doctor will continue to work with you to refine your treatment.
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Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
How can you come to know that you are suffering from high blood pressure? However, the symptoms of high blood pressure are not that flashy. But some of them are listed below that you might experience:
- Fatigue: Fatigue, in general, can be a symptom of many other diseases. The heart requires a good amount of oxygen-rich blood to function properly. Lacking it the heart begins to start functioning slowly leading to weakness and tiredness. You would feel tired even if not involved in physical activities.
- Severe Headaches: This is one of the symptoms of high blood pressure. But it is noticed that most people suffering from high blood pressure do not go through this. However, it can be the early symptoms in some of the cases.
- Vision Problem: In case a person is suffering from severe high blood pressure, this might be one of the symptoms. Because the high rate of blood pressure damaging arteries results in further damaging of the eye tissues as well.
- Chest Pain: This is one of the symptoms that are not to be ignored. However, there can be some other causes to it also. But it also indicates towards you having high blood pressure.
These are some other symptoms of high blood pressure and that include dizziness, nervousness, sweating, trouble sleeping, and facial flushing, and blood spots in the eyes.