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.
Prevention And Management Of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure
There are some things you can do to help prevent and manage low diastolic pressure:
- Try to keep your salt intake to between 1.5 and 4 grams per day. An ideal number is about 3.5 grams. Read food labels to avoid added salt in your diet.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet. This diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. For protein, stick to lean meats and fish. Avoid fatty foods.
- Drink enough fluids and avoid alcohol, which can increase your risk of dehydration.
- Stay physically active and start an exercise program. Ask your doctor what type and amount of exercise is safe for you.
- Maintain a moderate weight. If youre overweight, your doctor can help you create a safe weight loss plan.
- If you smoke, quit. Quitting can be difficult, so consider reaching out for support.
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.
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A Boat Ride Or Waterbed Can Cause Dizziness
Its pretty common to experience a rocky, dizzy feeling on your first day back after a cruise, says Carol Foster, MD, director of the balance laboratory at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora. For a few people, this feeling, called mal de debarquement, can last for months or even years, says Dr. Foster. Some 75 percent of all sailors can experience such dizzy spells. Airplanes, cars, and trains can also cause a wobbly-legs feeling. Even relaxing on a waterbed can cause dizziness.
How Is Low Blood Pressure Diagnosed
Like high blood pressure, low blood pressure can be diagnosed easily with a .
If you feel dizzy or faint when you stand up, you might need to have your blood pressure measured when youre lying down and again while you are standing up.
You might be offered a tilt table test. This is where you lie on a table that starts in a horizontal position, then slowly tilts so that youre in an almost upright position as if you were standing. You will have your blood pressure and pulse monitored, and any symptoms you feel will be recorded. You might also have a blood test to check the levels of certain hormones.
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What Can You Do To Help Relieve Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure
Depending on the type of low blood pressure you have, you may be able to relieve some of your symptoms by:
- Eating a healthy diet with fewer carbohydrates and smaller meals.
- Drinking more water and avoiding alcohol.
- Getting up slowly after youve been sitting or lying down.
- Focusing on breathing a few times before you change position.
- Wearing compression stockings.
Low Systolic Blood Pressure
The American Heart Association doesnt state a specific number at which blood pressure is considered too low, as long as none of the symptoms of trouble are present. Therefore, what is low systolic blood pressure?
Most experts define low systolic blood pressure as a systolic number less than 90 mmHg.
If you have high BP and dont have a doctor or the correct health plan for you, you may want to check out a health plan service I recommend. They can get a plan fitting your situation and affordable. Visit the eHealth Insurance website for more information.
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Causes Of Diastolic Hypotension By Itself
There are three known causes of isolated diastolic hypotension:
- Alpha-blocker medications. These blood pressure medications work by causing your blood vessels to open up . Because they lower diastolic pressure more than systolic pressure, they may cause isolated diastolic hypotension. Common brand names include Minipress and Cardura.
- Aging. As we age, we lose the elasticity of our arteries. For some older adults, arteries may become too stiff to spring back between heartbeats, causing diastolic blood pressure to be low.
- Too much salt in your diet. Dietary salt can decrease elasticity of your blood vessels. If you take in too much salt, you may increase your risk of low diastolic blood pressure.
Side Effects Of Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure may not be discussed as often as high blood pressure, but it should be addressed, as prolonged low blood pressure can negatively affect your organs.
A certain amount of blood pressure is needed to maintain blood flow to the organs, says Dr. Wong. The blood supplies oxygen and nutrients to these organs. If the blood pressure is too low, an adequate blood supply cannot get to these organs.
If left untreated, low blood pressure can increase your risk of fainting, heart attack and organ damage, adds Dr. Desai.
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When Low Blood Pressure Is An Emergency: Call 911
The majority of talk involving blood pressure typically centers around the topic of high blood pressure. High blood pressure effects more people but low blood pressure can be just as important. Most of the time low blood pressure is not a problem, and its even desirable. But there are times when low blood pressure is an emergency.
When is low blood pressure an emergency? Low blood pressure is an emergency when the BP number is too low and there are the following symptoms:
- Pale skin
- Clammy skin
This blog post will cover in more detail what to do in an emergency and mistakes people make when their blood pressure falls suddenly. Ill also tell you how to avoid low pressure, the symptoms and treatments. Low blood pressure is an important topic and must be taken seriously because the consequences to your body can be severe.
Low BP Tip: Home monitoring is just as important with low blood pressure as high BP! If you dont have a home blood pressure monitor, check out the current price on Amazon for the monitor I recommend, Welch Allyn Home 1700 Series Blood Pressure.
Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases.
Feeling Dizzy May Be Related To Anxiety
Many people who experience dizziness, especially people in their twenties, may also have anxiety, says Whitman. They usually dont want to hear that dizziness can be linked to anxiety because it suggests that its all in their heads, he notes. But whats in your head is your brain. And anxiety can reflect a brain function disturbance that’s possibly genetic.
Compared with people who dont have anxiety, people with anxiety disorders appear to sway more when subjected to a moving visual environment, Whitman says. And they sway in a way that seems to be synchronized with the visual movement. These people may be abnormally sensitive to visual stimulation, because their dizziness can increase when theyre watching moving objects or walking through a large, bright store, says Whitman.
This is called visual dependence, and little is known about how common it is. We need to develop better tests of visual dependence, and we need laboratory tests for what we now call anxiety disorders,” ways Whitman. “Its likely that in the future, these disorders will be reclassified, in part, based on genetics.
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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.
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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.
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Who Is At Risk Of Having Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure typically isnt a problem for most adults. However, if your blood pressure drops suddenly or you experience symptoms, it may cause serious side effects. The U.S. National Library of Medicine indicates that a drop as little as 20 mmHg can cause problems.
So what causes your blood pressure to drop and when does it put you at risk? Minor and temporary things can affect blood pressure, like getting up too fast after sitting, standing for long periods of time, or dehydration. Similarly, certain health conditions are risk factors for hypotension, including:
- Heart conditions
- Serious trauma
- Shock caused by blood loss
If you experience low blood pressure, youre at a higher risk for fainting and shock, which can require medical treatment if vital organs. Keep track of your blood pressure regularly so you get to know whats normal for you and what may be too low. A single measurement lower than normal isnt cause for alarm but if you experience other symptoms, talk to your doctor.
For more information about low blood pressure or to find a doctor, contact the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute.
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
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The Blood Pressure Chart In Canada: Taking And Interpreting The Numbers
The best blood pressure monitor in Canada used in healthcare offices is the AOBP monitor. AOBP stands for Automated Office Blood Pressure.
Outside of the doctor’s office, a home blood pressure monitor will suffice. In fact, health experts recommend their use for patients with insufficient BP control. Health experts refer to this as home blood pressure monitoring .
Here are some of the guidelines to keep in mind when buying and using a blood pressure monitor.
Isolated Systolic Hypertension During Pregnancy
High blood pressure, including isolated systolic hypertension poses various risks during pregnancy including:
- Placental abruption
- Heart valve problems
I wrote a whole blog post about Isolated Systolic Hypertension which dives into the topics in more detail. You can read it by clicking here, Isolated Systolic Hypertension.
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Causes And Risk Factors Of High Blood Pressure
The following can increase your chances of developing high blood pressure.
Older age The risk of high blood pressure increases as you age.
According to the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey , 70 percent of adults age 65 or older have hypertension.
The risk of prehypertension and high blood pressure has been increasing in recent years in young people, too, including children and teens, possibly because of the rise of obesity in these populations.
Race High blood pressure is more common in Black American adults than in white or Hispanic American adults.
Family history Having a family history of high blood pressure increases your risk, as the condition tends to run in families.
Being overweight The more you weigh, the more blood you need to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. As the volume of blood circulating through your blood vessels increases, so does the pressure on your artery walls. Obesity especially abdominal obesity also increases stiffness in arteries, which raises blood pressure.
Lack of physical activity People who are inactive tend to have a higher heart rate and higher blood pressure than those who are physically active. Not exercising also increases the risk of being overweight.
Dietary choices What you choose to eat can increase your risk for hypertension, including in the following ways:
Alcohol consumption Drinking more than two drinks a day for men and more than one drink a day for women may raise your blood pressure.
Low Blood Pressure Symptoms
Low blood pressure is pressure so low it causes symptoms or signs due to the low flow of blood through the arteries and veins. When the flow of blood is too low to deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to vital organs such as the brain, heart, and kidney, the organs do not function normally and may be temporarily or permanently damaged.
Unlike high blood pressure, low blood pressure is defined primarily by signs and symptoms of low blood flow and not by a specific blood pressure number. Some individuals routinely may have blood pressure numbers of 90/50 with no symptoms and therefore do not have low blood pressure. However, others who normally have higher blood pressures may develop symptoms of low blood pressure if their blood pressure drops to 100/60.
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What Is Considered A Low Blood Pressure Reading
What Is Considered A Low Blood Pressure Reading. Healthy and unhealthy blood pressure ranges. Within certain limits, the lower your blood pressure reading is, the better. Use our blood pressure chart to learn what your blood pressure levels and numbers mean, including normal blood pressure and the difference between understanding your results is key to controlling high blood pressure. Blood pressure can be categorized into five different types, namely: How low is too low for blood pressure?
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