How To Measure Blood Pressure
Usually a nurse checks your blood pressure to make sure its not too low or too high before your doctors appointment. But you can also check your readings manually at home. You can use an inflatable cuff similar to those used at your doctors office. Or you can use a digital blood pressure monitor with automatic cuff inflation.
Read the directions carefully when measuring your blood pressure. Certain factors can cause a temporary rise in blood pressure. These factors include:
Lack Of Physical Activity
A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to several health issues, including high blood pressure.
According to the AHA, physical activity can help a person lower their blood pressure. It can also improve their heart health and reduce their weight.
The AHA recommend 150 minutes a week of moderate-to-intense physical activity, such as walking briskly, running, or bicycling.
Doctors: Beware Of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure When Treating Hypertension
- Low diastolic blood pressure linked to heart damage.;-
- Physicians, be aware of not dropping the bottom blood pressure number.;-
- Overtreated high blood pressure could be dangerous in certain patients. –
The researchers caution that their findings cannot prove that very low diastolic blood pressure a measure of pressure in arteries between heartbeats when the heart is resting and also the lower number in a blood pressure reading directly causes heart damage, only that there appears to be a statistically significant increase in heart damage risk among those with the lowest levels of diastolic blood pressure.
A summary of the findings was published Aug. 30 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and coincides with the release of a similar analysis at the European Society of Cardiology Meeting by physicians from Hôpital Bichat in Paris, France.
Released last fall, the SPRINT trial showed protective cardiovascular benefits to patients when physicians aggressively treated high blood pressure down to 120/80 millimeters of mercury, with a primary emphasis on keeping systolic pressure the top number, representing arterial pressure when the heart is pumping at no more than 120.
Researchers followed the participants for 21 years in a series of five visits, with the last check-in in 2013. Each visit included blood pressure measurement, and several included blood testing.
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Why Its Important To Have Your Blood Pressure Checked
High blood pressure is sometimes called a silent killer because it doesnt cause symptoms and wont be caught without regular blood pressure readings, explains Dr. Dadabhoy. Having high blood pressure makes you four times more likely to die from a stroke and three times more likely to die from heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Dr. Dadabhoy says that the only way to know whether you have high blood pressure is to have it checked. Most likely, your blood pressure is measured and recorded every time you go to your health care providers office. And, keep in mind, just because you feel “healthy” doesn’t mean you can ignore your doctor’s warnings about elevated blood pressure. Everyone’s blood pressure matters, even if you’re young.
It’s important to talk with your doctor about the new high blood pressure guidelines and how they may impact treatment for your personal health situation. The goal is that by defining high blood pressure at a lower threshold, people will start working with their health care providers sooner to find ways to successfully manage the condition through lifestyle changes.
What You Can Do
Treatment varies depending on your numbers, family history and other factors, such as whether youve had a heart attack or stroke, or whether you suffer from diabetes or kidney disease.
But everyone with elevated readings can benefit from lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, reducing alcohol and quitting smoking.
Like all lifestyle treatments, it takes a real commitment, Baker said.
This hard work does pay off, as results are usually seen in two or three months.
Ive seen people focus on their lifestyle and within three months, they see a five to 10 point drop, Baker said. You can see pretty quick results.
This article first appeared in the Steamboat Pilot & Today on Feb. 5, 2018.
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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.
Why Is My Bottom Blood Pressure Number High
Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries, which carry blood to other parts of your body. Your blood pressure can be measured using two numbers:;
- Systolic : pressure exerted when the heart pumps blood throughout the body
- Diastolic : pressure exerted when the heart relaxes and refills with blood
When your blood pressure is consistently higher than 130/80 mm Hg, you are considered to have hypertension.
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Hypertensive Crisis: When You Should Call 911 For High Blood Pressure
A hypertensive crisis is when blood pressure rises quickly and severely with readings of 180/120 or greater.;;
The consequences of uncontrolled blood pressure in this range can be severe and include:
- Pulmonary edema
An elevated reading may or may not be accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms:
- Severe headache
- Severe anxiety
What Is Normal Blood Pressure
Blood pressure reflects the force of blood as it hits the walls of the arteries. When the heart squeezes and pushes the blood out, the blood pushes against the walls of the blood vessels. People are born with very elastic vessels that can expand easily, and bounce back when the pressure on them is low.
As people age, they get plaque buildup inside the blood vessels, and the flexible walls of the arteries become stiff. Now, when the heart squeezes and pushes the blood out, the blood vessels can’t expand like they used to do and sustain higher pressure. Over time, the heart has to push so hard against the pressure that it starts to fail, Bauman said.
Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers and written as a ratio: the top number, called the systolic pressure, is the pressure as the heart beats. The bottom number, called the diastolic pressure, is the measurement as the heart relaxes between beats. According to guidelines announced in November 2017 by the American Heart Association;, people’s blood pressure measurements fall into the following categories:
- Normal: Less than 120 millimeters of mercury for systolic and 80 mm Hg for diastolic.
- Elevated: Between 120-129 for systolic, and less than 80 for diastolic.
- Stage 1 hypertension: Between 130-139 for systolic or between 80-89 for diastolic.
- Stage 2 hypertension: At least 140 for systolic or at least 90 mm Hg for diastolic.
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What If Blood Pressure Numbers Are Too Close
Blood pressure is read through systolic and diastolic pressure. The resulting number indicates the pressure exerted on the walls of the arteries as the heart beats. If the resulting numbers are close it may be an indication of high blood pressure or low blood pressure 2.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
High Blood Pressure Bottom Number
This lull in the blood pressure is called the “diastolic” blood pressure. This is the bottom number. In general, we dont like the bottom number to be much above 85. If this number is too high, then the top number is usually high too. If only the bottom number is high, you may need a very low dose of a blood pressure medication.
Hypertension Urgency Symptoms high blood pressure Lifestyle Changes By tackling blood pressure before the readings become too high means that smaller lifestyle changes can make a big difference. This also means that more drastic measures, such as prescribing High blood pressure can cause a persons arteries to harden and thicken, leading to health complications such as heart
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High blood pressureknown as the silent killerhas no kidney disease, and a number of other serious health problems. But when it comes to keeping track of this important number, and diastolic
These factors can cause the systolic blood pressure to There is lots of evidence that salt is a factor in high blood pressure, Gulati I think
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When To Call Your Doctor
The risks of both high and low blood pressure make monitoring your blood pressure at home essential to your overall health and well-being. Both Dr. Wong and Dr. Desai recommend calling your healthcare provider if your self-monitored blood pressure readings are greater than 180/120 mmHgeven if you have no other symptoms.
You should call 911 if these blood pressure readings are associated with symptoms of organ damage, such as headache, vision changes, weakness, numbness, chest pain or shortness of breath, says Dr. Wong.
Rising Pressure Rising Risk
According to American Heart Association guidelines, normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg. You have hypertension if your systolic pressure is 130 and above, your diastolic pressure is 80 and above, or both.;In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to narrowing and hardening of the arteries. Diastolic pressure generally peaks by your 60s. Your blood pressure also increases if you are obese; eat a high-fat, high-salt diet; smoke; dont exercise; or have a condition like diabetes.;Research has shown that high systolic pressure has a bigger impact on the risk for heart attacks, angina , and peripheral artery disease. In contrast, raised diastolic pressure has a greater effect on the risk for abdominal aortic aneurysms.A study of 1.3 million people published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that systolic pressure above 140 increased the risk for heart attack and stroke by 18%. Diastolic pressure over 90 showed a 6% higher risk.While systolic pressure does play a greater role in the development of cardiovascular events, its important to closely monitor your diastolic pressure as well and take action when appropriate.;Fortunately, medication and lifestyle changes can lower both numbers. Talk to your doctor about keeping your blood pressure in check.
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Healthy And Unhealthy Blood Pressure Ranges
Learn whats considered normal, as recommended by the American Heart Association.
|SYSTOLIC mm Hg||and/or||DIASTOLIC mm Hg|
|HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE STAGE 1||130 139|
|HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE STAGE 2||140 OR HIGHER|
|HYPERTENSIVE CRISIS||HIGHER THAN 180||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.
The Blood Pressure Chart
Once you know your numbers, you can use;the blood pressure chart to see what they mean and if your blood pressure is in the healthy range. The chart is suitable for adults of any age, as the cut-off point for diagnosing high blood pressure doesnt change with age.
How to use the blood pressure chart
Simply find your top number on the left side of the chart and your bottom number on the bottom. Where the two lines meet is your blood pressure.
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What Is High Blood Pressure Anyway
Let’s first begin with how the heart functions. With each beat, the heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to the rest of your body in an ongoing, life-sustaining cycle. The forceor pressureof that contraction is what keeps your blood flowing through your arteries and veins.
There are two types of pressure that get generated:
Systolic, which is the pressure when your heart beats
Diastolic, which is your blood pressure between beats
A healthy blood-pressure reading is written out like this: 120/80 mmHg , with the systolic number on top and the diastolic number below. Spoken out loud, youll hear: 120 over 80. Its only when your numbers spike higher than 129 and tick upward of 80 , that youre venturing into hypertensiona.k.a. high blood pressure territory.
Your blood pressure goes up when youre active. It goes down when you chill out. Its highest in the morning when you wake up and lowest when you sleep. These types of fluctuations occur normally. However, when its continually above normal, you have a problem.
Why? Because HBP can do A LOT of damage. It strains and stiffens your blood vessels, which can make your heart work harder than it shouldand that can lead to a range of heart disorders, some of them quite serious.
What Numbers Mean High Blood Pressure What Numbers Mean Normal Blood Pressure
Normal blood pressure is at or under 120 over 80.
In November 2017, blood pressure guidelines were modified. Any blood pressure measurement at or above 130 over 80 is now considered high. And thats what we in the medical community call hypertension. These numbers are down from the old recommendation of 140 over 90.
In the past, many people in the United States were considered prehypertension. The new recommendations get rid of that category, and now almost half of U.S. adults fall into the category of hypertension. That could seem shocking. But patients who are in this category should already be discussing their blood pressure numbers with their primary care doctor. If they arent, now is a good time to connect with their medical provider and come up with a plan for treatment.
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High Systolic Blood Pressure
The heart muscle pushes out blood with higher pressure when a person is exercising, under stress, or at similar times when the heart rate is increased. The systolic pressure goes up with it.
In these cases, the increased pressure is normal. However, when the pressure is high while a person is resting, that’s considered high blood pressure.
That’s why it is so important to take your blood pressure during periods of quiet rest to;diagnose hypertension, or high blood pressure.
High systolic blood pressure is usually caused by narrowing of the arteries, which makes the heart have to work harder to push blood through.
Which Number Matters More
The answer is both. Years ago, doctors focused more on the bottom number, but it is now understood that the top number is just as important.
Both numbers can define high blood pressure and the need for treatment, Baker said.
A normal reading is less than 120 over 80. Readings above that are now considered elevated or high. The new guidelines, which were announced last November and are based on years of data, now mean that many more Americans are categorized as having high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is not a disease by itself, but its a risk factor for things like heart attack, kidney failure, stroke and more, Baker said. The new guidelines dont necessarily mean that many more people have to be on medication. They just mean a very large number of people need to be aware they have elevated or high blood pressure and need to do something about it.
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Symptoms Of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure
Symptoms of isolated diastolic hypotension include tiredness, dizziness, and falls.
Because low diastolic pressure decreases blood flow to your heart, you may also have chest pain or symptoms of heart failure. Heart failure symptoms may include shortness of breath, swelling of your feet or ankles, confusion, and heart palpitations.
Seek immediate medical attention if you have chest pain or difficulty breathing.
Symptoms of low diastolic blood pressure along with low systolic blood pressure include:
What Does Blood Pressure Tell You
Blood pressure measures the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries, or blood vessels. Your heart pumps blood into your arteries. And the arteries carry that blood to the rest of your body.
The top number of your blood pressure reading tells you the force of the blood against artery walls when your heart beats. It is called systolic pressure. The bottom number tells you what your blood pressure is when your heart is at rest between heartbeats. It is called diastolic pressure.
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Checking Blood Pressure At Home
Keeping track of blood pressure at home is important for many people, especially if you have high blood pressure. This helps you and your doctor find out if your treatment is working.
Your doctor may also suggest that you check your pressure at home if they think you may have “white coat hypertension.” It’s a real condition. The stress of being in a doctor’s office raises your blood pressure, but when you’re home, it’s normal.
Ask your doctor to recommend an easy-to-use home blood pressure monitor. Make sure the cuff fits properly. If your arm is too big for the cuff, the reading may be higher than your blood pressure really is. Ask your doctor for a larger cuff or make sure you buy a home monitor with a cuff that fits you.
You also can use a wrist blood pressure monitor, but they often aren’t as accurate. Follow the directions that come with the device to make sure you are using it correctly.
No matter which type of blood pressure monitor you have, it’s a good idea to take it to your doctor’s office. You can compare its reading to the numbers your doctor gets. Avoid caffeine, cigarettes, and exercise for at least 30 minutes before the test.
When you take your blood pressure at home, sit up straight in a chair and put both feet on the floor. Ask your doctor or nurse to show you the right way to position your arm so you get accurate readings.