High Blood Pressure Symptoms
High blood pressure is known as the silent killer because it typically has no symptoms. In fact, most people dont even realize they have hypertension until their blood pressure is monitored.
Symptoms dont develop until the numbers get very high and organs get damaged, often irreversibly, says Dr. Desai.
If you have severe hypertension, you might notice the below symptoms, some of which were reported by patients in a study in the British Journal of General PracticeGoodhart A. Hypertension from the patients perspective. British Journal of General Practice. 2016 66:570. :
What Factors Influence Blood Pressure
- Age: Blood pressure tend to increase with age.
- Gender: Women after puberty have low BP than men, whereas, after menopause, women tend high BP.
- Genetics/family history: A family history puts you at risk of high BP.
- Weight: Being overweight or obese increases your risk of high BP.
- Diurnal variation: BP is lower in the morning and gradually increases throughout the day.
- Stress: BP increases during stress, emotions, fear, and anger situations due to stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system.
- Exercise: Physical activity increases BP, but regular exercises can keep BP in the lower range of normal.
- Pregnancy:Progesterone relaxes the walls of blood vessels, causing decreased peripheral vascular resistance. Some women may develop pregnancy-induced hypertension.
- Diseases: Diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Cushings syndrome, and pheochromocytoma can cause high BP.
- Medications: Certain medications can affect BP such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, antianxiety medications, and prednisone.
- Alcohol or tobacco consumption: Drinking too much alcohol can increase your BP.
High Blood Pressure And Older Adults
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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major health problem that is common in older adults. Your bodys network of blood vessels, known as the vascular system, changes with age. Arteries get stiffer, causing blood pressure to go up. This can be true even for people who have heart-healthy habits and feel just fine. High blood pressure, sometimes called “the silent killer,” often does not cause signs of illness that you can see or feel. Though it affects nearly half of all adults, many may not even be aware they have it.
If high blood pressure isn’t controlled with lifestyle changes and medication, it can lead to serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease such as heart disease and stroke, vascular dementia, eye problems, and kidney disease. The good news is that blood pressure can be controlled in most people.
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Side Effects Of High Blood Pressure
Dangers of untreated high blood pressure include stroke, heart attack, heart failure, vision loss, kidney failure, vascular dementia and sexual dysfunction, says Dr. Desai. Its one of the top risk factors for developing atrial fibrillation, which is the most common heart rhythm disorder worldwide and can lead to stroke, heart failure and reduced quality of life.
The Increased Importance Of Home Blood Pressure Monitoring
The new blood pressure guidelines also encourage additional monitoring . You can do this by checking it on your own at home with a home blood pressure monitor or using a wearable digital monitor that continually takes blood pressure readings as you go about your life.
The added monitoring can help reduce masked hypertension or white coat high blood pressure .
There are clear, helpful directions for setting patients up with a home blood pressure monitor. This includes a recommendation to give people specific instructions on when not to check blood pressure.
If you are interested in checking out some home blood pressure monitors or sphygmomanometers you can check out the Blood Pressure Products page in this website.
This leads me to the next section of my article which covers the right way to take your blood pressure at home
Do I Have High Blood Pressure
Anyone can have high blood pressure. Some medical conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, kidney disease, and thyroid problems, can cause high blood pressure. Some people have a greater chance of having it because of things they can’t change. These are:
- Age. The chance of having high blood pressure increases as you get older, especially isolated systolic hypertension.
- Gender. Before age 55, men have a greater chance of having high blood pressure. Women are more likely to have high blood pressure after menopause.
- Family history. High blood pressure tends to run in some families.
- Race. African Americans are at increased risk for high blood pressure.
High blood pressure often has no signs or symptoms, but routine checks of your blood pressure will help detect increasing levels. If your blood pressure reading is high at two or more check-ups, the doctor may also ask you to measure your blood pressure at home.
There are important considerations for older adults in deciding whether to start treatment for high blood pressure if it is above 130/80, including other health conditions and overall fitness. Your doctor may work with you to find a blood pressure target that is best for your well-being and may suggest exercise, changes in your diet, and medications.
How Can I Be More Active
- Check first with your healthcare provider before increasing your physical activity. Ask your provider what type and amount of exercise is right for you.
- Choose aerobic activities such as walking, biking or swimming.
- Start slowly and increase activity gradually. Aim for a regular routine of activity five times a week for 30 to 45 minutes each session.
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What Are The Blood Pressure Guideline Changes
In 2018, the American Heart Association and ten other health organizations updated the blood pressure guidelines. The changes included the following :
- Lowered the blood pressure numbers for diagnosing hypertension to 130/80 mm Hg. The previous guidelines set a threshold of 140/90 mm Hg for people under age 65 and 150/80 mm Hg for people ages 65 and older.
- Eliminated the prehypertension category which was defined as systolic of 120 to 139 mm Hg or diastolic of 80 to 89 mm Hg. Under the new guidelines, this category is split into either elevated blood pressure or Stage 1 hypertension which is 130 to 139 or 80 to 89 diastolic.
- High blood pressure is now classified as Stage 2 hypertension of 140/90 mm Hg. And a hypertensive crisis is anything over 180/120 mmHg.
How To Get Accurate Blood Pressure Readings At Home
Your medical provider may recommend taking your blood pressure at home because of white coat hypertension. White coat hypertension means the stress of being at the doctors office raises your blood pressure.
The American Heart Association recommends the following guidelines for measuring blood pressure:
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What Does A Blood Pressure Reading Look Like
When you have your , you will be given two numbers, a top number and a bottom number.
- Systolic blood pressure. This is the first, or top, number. This is the highest level your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats, forcing blood around your body.
- Diastolic blood pressure. The second number, or bottom number, is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart relaxes between beats.
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury . If the first number is 120 and the second number is 80, this would be written as 120/80mmHg, and youd call it 120 over 80.
This video explains more about systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
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.
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What Can I Expect If I Have This Condition
Since high blood pressure doesnt cause many symptoms at first, you probably wont feel any different with a high blood pressure diagnosis. But its important to follow your providers instructions to bring your blood pressure down so it doesnt cause serious illnesses later in life.
How long does high blood pressure last?
If you have primary high blood pressure, youll need to control it for the rest of your life.
If you have secondary high blood pressure, your blood pressure will most likely come down after you receive treatment for the medical problem that caused it. If a medication caused your high blood pressure, switching to a different medicine may lower your blood pressure.
What is the outlook for high blood pressure?
You can get seriously ill if you dont treat your high blood pressure. However, if you take the medicines your provider ordered, you can control your blood pressure. Exercising and eating healthy foods also helps lower your blood pressure.
Why Should Blood Pressure Be Kept In Check
- Elevated blood pressure: It refers to blood pressure readings consistently ranging from 120 to 129 mmHg systolic and less than 80 mmHg diastolic. People with elevated blood pressure are at the risk of developing high blood pressure unless steps are taken to control it. This puts them at the risk of developing sudden blindness, peripheral arterial diseases, and dementia.
- Hypertension stage I: In this condition, blood pressure readings consistently range from 130 to 139 mmHg systolic or 80 to 89 mmHg diastolic. Doctors may prescribe blood pressure medications and some lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of heart disease, kidney ailments, and stroke.
- Hypertension stage II: Refers to blood pressure readings of 140/90 mmHg or higher. The doctors may prescribe a combination of both medications and lifestyle changes.
- Hypertensive crisis: It refers to an emergency where the blood pressure suddenly exceeds 180/120 mmHg. Contact the physician immediately if the following symptoms are experienced:
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What Is Normal Blood Pressure Blood Pressure Chart By Age And Gender
Want to know if your blood pressure is normal or dangerous?
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a serious health problem for adults. As you or a loved one age, youre worried about how high blood pressure can cause problems such as heart attack, dementia, or stroke.
The good news is you can catch it early. And you can lower your blood pressure naturally with simple lifestyle changes.
In this article, youll learn what is normal blood pressure and the ranges, why high blood pressure is dangerous, what causes it, and how to lower blood pressure. Plus, learn how one culture maintains normal blood pressure their entire lives.
What The Studies Found And What They Mean
In one of the observational studies, published Oct. 16, 2016, in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers analyzed the medical records of more than 11,000 adults collected over a period of three decades as part of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. They found that people who had low diastolic blood pressure were twice as likely to have subtle evidence of heart damage compared with people whose diastolic blood pressure was 80 to 89 mm Hg. Low diastolic values were also linked with a higher risk of heart disease and death from any cause over 21 years.
For the second, published Oct. 29, 2016, in The Lancet, researchers analyzed data from CLARIFY, a registry of more than 22,600 people with heart disease from 45 countries. They determined that, compared with people who had systolic blood pressure of 120 to 139 mm Hg and diastolic pressure of 70 to 79, people with a systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher were more likely to experience heart attacks or strokes, to be hospitalized with heart failure, or to die within a five-year period. But the same was true for heart attacks, heart failure, and death in people with low blood pressure .
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Why Diastolic Blood Pressure Is Important
Typically, for people over 50, more attention is directed to the higher number, systolic blood pressure, as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease 4. Therefore, why is diastolic pressure important?
Diastolic pressure is important because an elevated diastolic pressure may be used to make a diagnosis of high blood pressure. In addition, elevated diastolic pressure means there is an increased risk of developing elevated systolic blood pressure as a person ages.
Recent studies have researched people ranging from 40 to 89 years of age. They found for each 10 mmHg diastolic number increase in blood pressure, the risk of death from ischemic heart disease and stroke doubles.
Ischemic heart disease is a term given to heart problems that are caused by narrowed heart arteries.
On the other hand, if diastolic blood pressure is too low, meaning coronary arteries arent getting enough blood pressure, the heart is going to lack oxygen and blood. This is called ischemia and may weaken the heart over time which can lead to heart failure.
The coronary arteries which surround the aortic valve in the heart only get blood when the aortic valve closes, and this happens in diastole 5.
What is diastole? Diastole is the part of the cardiac cycle when the heart is relaxed between beats and refills with blood.
Diastolic blood pressure is measured at the moment diastole is occurring 6.
Why Diastolic Pressure Is Important Too
The findings about low diastolic blood pressure are intriguing, and they make sense intuitively, Dr. Conlin says. Diastolic pressure is measured during the point in the heart cycle when blood flows into the coronary arteries that feed the heart. When those arteries are clogged with fatty deposits, blood pressure beyond the narrowed areas will drop as blood works its way through the narrowed channels. As a result, part of the heart muscle may not get enough blood. Starved for oxygen and nutrients, the heart may become weak and prone to damage.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure For Men
High blood pressure is also common in men and is more common in men until about age 45. From age 45 to 64, the percent of high blood pressure in men and women is relatively the same, and then women have a much higher percentage after that. Prevention is also very important for men just as it is for women. Here are the normal blood pressure readings for men by age:
- Age 18-29
Chart: What Are Normal Blood Pressure Ranges By Age For Women
As with men, women’s average BP ranges also vary by age group. The age group with the lowest normal blood pressure reading is different between the systolic and diastolic reading. Women ages 21-25 have the lowest normal diastolic reading , while women age 31-35 have the lowest normal systolic reading . The age group with the highest normal blood pressure reading is women ages 56-60 .
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High Blood Pressure Chart
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In these new guidelines, the AHA also advises that doctors should only prescribe medication in cases of a previous heart attack or stroke, or in the presence of risk factors for these conditions, such as age, a diabetes diagnosis, or chronic kidney disease.
Treatment at the earlier stages of high blood pressure should instead come mainly through lifestyle changes.
Circulation is similar to a highly sophisticated form of plumbing blood has flow, and arteries are pipes. A basic law of physics gives rise to blood flow, and this law also applies in a garden hose pipe.
Blood flows through the body because of a difference in pressure.
Blood pressure is highest at the start of its journey from the heart when it enters the aorta and it is lowest at the end of its journey along progressively smaller branches of arteries. That pressure difference is what causes blood to flow.
Arteries affect blood pressure in a similar way to the physical properties of a garden hose pipe affecting water pressure. Constricting the pipe increases pressure at the point of constriction.
Without the elastic nature of the artery walls, for example, the pressure of the blood would fall away more quickly as it is pumped from the heart.
While the heart creates the maximum pressure, the properties of the arteries are just as important to maintaining it and allowing blood to flow throughout the body.
What Is The Ideal Blood Pressure
Blood pressure readings are calculated using one number over another: systolic blood pressure over diastolic. You can calculate these with our blood pressure calculator tool.
The blood pressure monitor shows measurements in millimetres of mercury, appearing as mmHg. Everyones ideal blood pressure will be slightly different, this could be secondary to your age, ethnicity or potential or current health conditions, you would need to discuss with a medical professional as to whats safe and healthy 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 range.
Knowing these numbers can help make you more aware of your health, and may help you to stay on top of keeping within a correct blood pressure range.
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