What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force applied by the blood over the inner walls of the arteries. Although the average blood pressure for a person remains constant, it shows minor fluctuations throughout the daydeclining while relaxing and momentarily increasing while being excited or under stress. An increase in the resting blood pressure can scar, stiffen, or harden the arteries.
Blood pressure is written as systolic and diastolic values. Hence, BP 120/80 mm Hg means 120 is the systolic number, and 80 is the diastolic number.
Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
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. :
- Rapid heart rate
What Do The Readings Mean
As a general guide:
140/90mmHg or over you may have high blood pressureMost doctors use 140/90mmHg as the cut off for point for diagnosing high blood pressure . This is the point where your risk of serious health problems goes up. They might prescribe medications and advise you to make changes to your lifestyle to bring your blood pressure down. 120/80mmHg up to 140/90mmHg pre-high blood pressureAlso called high-normal blood pressure. This is not high blood pressure, but it is a little higher than it should be and means you could go on to develop high blood pressure. See how you can make healthy changes to your lifestyle to lower it. 90/60mmHg up to 120/80mmHg ideal blood pressureAlso called normal blood pressure. Your blood pressure reading is healthy. At this level you have a much lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Following a healthy lifestyle will help you to keep it in the healthy range. 90/60mmHg or lower you may have low blood pressureLow blood pressure usually isnt a problem, but it can sometimes make you feel faint or dizzy or could be a sign of another health problem.
The video below explains how your blood pressure numbers are linked to the risk of stroke and other disease.
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Diastolic Vs Systolic Blood Pressure
Diastolic pressure occurs whenever the heart relaxes, and blood fills it up. Systolic pressure occurs when the heart contracts and the blood gets pushed out of the heart.
According to health experts, both types of blood pressure are equal in importance. However, higher SBPs appear to come with higher risks of cardiovascular disease.
However, diastolic blood pressures can also go up due to a high-sodium diet. It also tends to be higher in patients with obesity and high alcohol consumption. Having a sedentary lifestyle and some types of medications can also make the DBP go up.
Aside from your SBP and DBP, you should also keep track of your pulse pressure.
Your pulse pressure is the actual difference between your SBP and DBP. So if your BP reading is 120/80, your pulse pressure is 40. Health experts say that the normal pulse pressure is 40 mmHg.
When Is It Wrong To Take A Blood Pressure Reading
Why Wrong: Reading Blood Pressure Basics. Blood pressure is usually read when you are in the sitting position. There should be back support if seated. Blood pressure readings should be taken when the person is relaxed and not right after any stressful events or stressful news. It should be taken in the upper arm and at the level of the heart.
Remind yourself that high blood pressure is highly treatable. This isnt cancer! The fitter, faster and stronger your body, the less likely youll worry about acquiring an ailment that mostly affects people who do not take proper care of their bodies .
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Best Hypertension Management Health Coach App
You are putting in the work, so you deserve to maximize the benefits. A weight loss health coach app can help you do just that. A health coach app serves all the functions of a regular coach: informing, motivating, guiding, cheering, and organizing. The best weight loss health coach app:
- Informs you about healthy ways to lose weight and incorporate healthy behaviors into your lifestyle.
- Motivates you to keep setting and chasing new goals.
- Guides you through your weight loss journey in your own way.
- Cheers your successes, your efforts, and, should you fall short of your goals for a time, your renewed dedication.
- Organizes by encouraging you to log your food, activity and weight, and storing that information.
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There you have it, your easy-to-understand guide on the blood pressure chart in Canada. Just remember that 120/80 mmHg is the ideal BP level you should aim for. If it’s 135/85 mmHg or higher, see your doctor for a professional hypertension diagnosis.
It may also be a good idea to get extra health coverage to help with hypertension health costs. Specific health plans provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, such as high blood pressure.
Our team here at Insurdinary can help you secure the best health insurance quotes in Canada. Send us a message now so that we can start rounding up the top offers suited for your needs.
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Normal Blood Pressure For Men And Women By Age
A normal blood pressure reading indicates that the heart and blood vessels are not working too hard pushing blood and that the blood is not exerting too much pressure on the walls of the vessels, says Aseem Desai, M.D., a cardiologist at Providence Mission Hospital in Southern California. Recent data from the American Heart Association suggests the optimal normal reading for adults over 20 is lower than 120/80 mmHgVirani S, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics 2021 update . American Heart Association Journal. 2021 143:e254-e743. .
Dr. Desai notes blood pressure can vary depending on a persons age, gender, race and ethnicity, but it should still fall within the general normal range. While numbers lower than 120/80 are generally considered normal, Dr. Desai adds, The target blood pressure for treatment varies depending on age and associated co-morbidities .
Previously, guidance for normal blood pressure for adults varied by gender and specific age, but new data states normal blood pressure for adults as a collective is less than 120/80 mmHgHigh Blood Pressure Symptoms and Causes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 7/16/2021. .
When it comes to race and ethnicity, Dr. Desai says certain groups have a higher rate of hypertension. Non-Hispanic Black people have a significantly higher rate of hypertension compared to non-Hispanic white people, and Hispanics and non-Hispanic Asians have lower rates than the first two, he says.
When To Call Your Doctor
A hypertensive crisisdefined as blood pressure above 180/120 mm Hgrequires immediate medical attention. Call 911 if you are also experiencing symptoms such as chest pain, back pain, shortness of breath, difficulty speaking, a change in vision, weakness, or numbness.
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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.
How Do I Lower My Blood Pressure
The steps to lower your blood pressure aren’t as painful as you may be thinking. If you smoke, you’ll need to stop. Otherwise, lowering your blood pressure is as easy as the “more of this, less of that” approach you’re used to hearing about, including:
- Maintaining a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, a loss of as few as 10 pounds can lower your blood pressure.
- Consuming low levels of salt. Keep your salt intake under 1,500 mg/day.
- Getting plenty of exercise. Try to exercise for at least 90 minutes every week.
- Limiting alcohol. Keep your alcohol intake to one drink per day if you’re a woman, or two drinks per day if you’re a man.
- Eating healthy. Aim for a diet low in saturated and trans fats and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
“Not only may young people be tempted to brush off their elevated or high blood pressure,” says Dr. Nasir, “but they are less likely to be diagnosed by doctors during their office visits. Apart from taking steps now to reduce risk factors down the road, its important to discuss with your doctor if your blood pressure is consistently high.”
This article was updated on June 2, 2021 to reflect how the COVID-19 pandemic impacts a person’s everyday health and wellness.
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How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed
To figure out your blood pressure rate, your health care provider takes blood pressure readings at different times. You need more than 1 reading because blood pressure changes depending on what you are doing and varies during the day. For example, your blood pressure can increase when you are nervous or in a hurry.
If your blood pressure is high while with your health care provider but normal otherwise, you may just be nervous. This effect is common. Even people already being treated for high blood pressure go through this.
What matters is what happens to your blood pressure outside your health care providers office. If you have high blood pressure, you should use a home blood pressure monitor. Ask your health care provider how to use the monitor correctly.
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.
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What Are The Different Blood Pressure Categories
Blood pressure can be categorized into five different types, namely:
Normal: Blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg is considered to be normal.
Elevated: When blood pressure readings consistently range from 120 to 129 systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic, it is known as elevated blood pressure. People with elevated blood pressure are at risk of high blood pressure unless steps are taken to control it.
Hypertension stage I: In this condition, blood pressure readings consistently range from 130 to 139 systolic or 80 to 89 mm Hg diastolic. Doctors may prescribe blood pressure medications and some lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of heart diseases and stroke.
Hypertension stage II: In this condition, blood pressure readings consistently range from 140/90 mm Hg or higher. The doctors may prescribe a combination of both medications and lifestyle changes.
Hypertensive crisis: This is the most critical condition and requires emergency medical attention. In this condition, the blood pressure suddenly exceeds 180/120 mm Hg. Contact the physician immediately if the following symptoms are experienced:
- Difficulty speaking
Measuring Blood Pressure With A Sphygmomanometer
A sphygmomanometer has three parts:
- a cuff that can be inflated with air,
- a pressure meter for measuring air pressure in the cuff, and
- a stethoscope for listening to the sound the blood makes as it flows through the brachial artery .
The scale of the pressure meter ranges from 0 to 300 mmHg. The pressure meter has a rubber pump on it for inflating the cuff and a button for letting the air out.
To measure blood pressure, the cuff is placed around the bare and stretched out upper arm, and inflated until no blood can flow through the brachial artery. Then the air is slowly let out of the cuff.
As soon as the air pressure in the cuff falls below the systolic blood pressure in the brachial artery, blood will start to flow through the arm once again. This creates a pounding sound when the arteries close again and the walls of the vessels hit each other after a heart beat. The sound can be heard by placing the stethoscope close to the elbow. Right when you start to hear this pounding for the first time you can read your systolic blood pressure off the pressure meter.
The pounding sound stops when the air pressure in the cuff falls below the diastolic blood pressure in the brachial artery. Then the blood vessels remain open. Right when the pounding stops, you can read the diastolic blood pressure off the pressure meter.
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Variable Or Fluctuating Blood Pressure
Some fluctuation or variation in blood pressure is normal. Variations in pressure that are significantly greater than the norm are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease brain small vessel disease, and dementia independent of the average blood pressure level. Recent evidence from clinical trials has also linked variation in blood pressure to stroke, heart failure, and cardiac changes that may give rise to heart failure. These data have prompted discussion of whether excessive variation in blood pressure should be treated, even among normotensive older adults. Older individuals and those who had received blood pressure medications are more likely to exhibit larger fluctuations in pressure, and there is some evidence that different antihypertensive agents have different effects on blood pressure variability whether these differences translate to benefits in outcome is uncertain.
Normal Blood Pressure For Children
Normal BP ranges vary in children by age. The University of Iowa Stead Family Childrens Hospital provides this chart:
|Normal Blood Pressure for Children|
|112128 mm Hg||6680 mm Hg|
What is considered healthy for your child also varies by height, age, and sex. You can use Baylor College of Medicine’s calculator to see if your childs blood pressure reading is in a healthy range.
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What Is Normal Blood Pressure And When Is Blood Pressure Considered To Be High
Blood pressure is always measured on a number of different days and when you are at rest. If several of these measurements are too high, you are said to have high blood pressure, even if only one of the two either the systolic or the diastolic one is high. The medical term for high blood pressure is hypertension. In adults, blood pressure is considered to be normal under a systolic value of 140 mmHg and under a diastolic value of 90 mmHg.
When taking your blood pressure for the first time, it makes sense to measure the blood pressure in both arms, because it’s sometimes high on only one side. The values that are higher are always the ones used for assessing blood pressure. After that it is enough to measure the blood pressure only in the arm that produced the higher reading. A person is considered to have high blood pressure if the systolic value is over 140 mmHg, the diastolic value is over 90 mmHg, or if both are higher than these readings.
Table: Normal and high blood pressure readings
|systolic over 140 mmHg and/or diastolic over 90 mmHg|
Why Do We Get High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a noncommunicable disease, with no specific causes. It can strike anyone. However, there are factors that increase the probability of incidence, or the risks if the person is already hypertensive. Some of these factors are related to ageing and others to peoples lifestyle and behaviour. They include the following.
- Unhealthy nutritional habits, which are the leading cause of hypertension, e.g. high intake of salt, fatty foods or alcohol or low intake of vegetables and fruits.
- Low physical activity and lack of exercise. Some people lead sedentary lifestyles and do not exert physical activity or practice sports, thereby increasing their risk of becoming hypertensive.
- Obesity and overweight. The higher a persons body mass index, the higher the risk for high blood pressure.
- Smoking and tobacco use. The chemical contents of tobacco also cause arterial stenosis, leading to hypertension.
- Constant fatigue, psychological stress, diabetes, raised blood cholesterol and high fat or alcohol intake, which are all factors that increase the risks of high blood pressure.
- Age. Risks increase with age. Women are more likely to have high blood pressure upon reaching menopause, and pregnant women can experience temporary high blood pressure, which returns to normal after delivery. People can also be hypertensive for genetic reasons.
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