Common Causes Of High Blood Pressure Spikes
Some people with high blood pressure will experience sharp rises in their blood pressure. These spikes, which typically last only a short period of time, are also known as sudden high blood pressure. These are some possible causes:
- Certain medications or combinations of medications
- Chronic kidney disease
If You Need Two Medications
Many types of blood pressure drugs work best when taken together. When taking two drugs together, diuretics have been shown to lower blood pressure with a beta-blocker, ACE inhibitor and an ARB. A calcium channel blocker lowers blood pressure with the same drugs that work well with a diuretic. Other drug combinations are necessary when taking three or more blood pressure medications. There may be other reasons why your doctor may prescribe two blood pressure medications. For example, after heart attacks, doctors will prescribe a beta-blocker and an ACE inhibitor, but this is not primarily to reduce blood pressure.
How Can You Reduce Your Risk Of High Blood Pressure
Fortunately, there are certain things you can do to help reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure. These include the following:
- Eat right: A healthy diet is an important step in keeping your blood pressure normal. The DASH diet emphasizes adding fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your diet while reducing the amount of sodium. Since its rich in fruits and vegetables, which are naturally lower in sodium than many other foods, the DASH diet makes it easier to eat less salt and sodium.
- Keep a healthy weight: Going hand-in-hand with a proper diet is keeping a healthy weight. Since being overweight increases your blood pressure, losing excess weight with diet and exercise will help lower your blood pressure to healthier levels.
- Cut down on salt: The recommendation for salt in your diet is to have less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day . To prevent hypertension, you should keep your salt intake below this level. Don’t forget that most restaurant foods and many processed and frozen foods contain high levels of salt. Use herbs and spices that do not contain salt in recipes to flavor your food do not add salt at the table.
- Keep active: Even simple physical activities, such as walking, can lower your blood pressure .
- Drinkalcoholin moderation: Having more than one drink a day and two drinks a day can raise blood pressure.
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What Medications Are Used To Treat High Blood Pressure
Four classes of high blood pressure medications are considered first line when starting treatment. Sometimes other medications are coupled with these first-line drugs to better control your high blood pressure. First-line, pressure-lowering medications are:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors block the production of the angiotensin II hormone, which the body naturally uses to control blood pressure. When angiotensin II is blocked, your blood vessels dont narrow. Examples: lisinopril , enalapril or captopril.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers block this same hormone from binding with receptors in the blood vessels. ARBs work the same way as ACE inhibitors to keep blood vessels from narrowing. Examples: metoprolol , valsartan or losartan.
- Calcium channel blockers prevent calcium from entering the muscle cells of your heart and blood vessels, allowing these vessels to relax. Examples: amlodipine , nifedipine , diltiazem .
- Diuretics flush excess sodium from your body, reducing the amount of fluid in your blood. Diuretics are often used with other high blood pressure medicines, sometimes in one combined pill. Examples: indapamide, hydrochlorothiazide or chlorothiazide.
Why Is High Blood Pressure A Concern
High blood pressure, or hypertension, directly increases the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke . With high blood pressure, the arteries may have an increased resistance against the flow of blood, causing the heart to pump harder to circulate the blood.
Heart attack and stroke related to high blood pressure are rare in children and adolescents. Yet, studies of young adults with high blood pressure found that many had high blood pressure as a child. By their 20s, studies show that children and adolescents with high blood pressure will exhibit harmful effects on the heart and blood vessels even with mild hypertension.
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Advantages Of Home Testing
Research has shown that home blood pressure readings are similar to blood pressures recorded by 24-hour ambulatory monitors. These monitors are the gold standard for predicting a person’s risk for heart disease.
Home blood pressure readings may eliminate the white-coat effect. The phrase describes how a person’s blood pressure may rise when they visit their healthcare provider’s office. It is very common.
Your healthcare provider may recommend home blood pressure checks for other reasons besides a careful monitoring for high blood pressure. For instance, they may want to see whether a drug used to control blood pressure is working. Or they may want to look for any changes if you adopt a new low-salt diet.
They may use home blood pressure checks to monitor for low blood pressure in certain people. It also may be useful to monitor for masked hypertension. This happens when your blood pressure is normal at your healthcare provider’s office but it is higher at home.
In the end, though, your healthcare provider will use your home blood pressure readings alongside the office blood pressure readings. They are not meant as a substitute, so be sure to continue seeing your provider for regular checkups.
What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers:
The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.
If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say, 120 over 80, or write, 120/80 mmHg.
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Can High Blood Pressure Affect Pregnancy
High blood pressure complicates about 10% of all pregnancies. There are several different types of high blood pressure during pregnancy and they range from mild to serious. The forms of high blood pressure during pregnancy include:
Chronic hypertension: High blood pressure which is present before pregnancy.
Gestational hypertension: High blood pressure in the latter part of pregnancy.
Preeclampsia: This is a dangerous condition that typically develops in the latter half of pregnancy and results in hypertension, protein in the urine and generalized swelling in the pregnant person. It can affect other organs in the body and cause seizures .
Chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia: Pregnant people who have chronic hypertension are at increased risk for developing preeclampsia.
Your provider will check your blood pressure regularly during prenatal appointments, but if you have concerns about your blood pressure, be sure to talk with your provider.
How Blood Pressure Medication Works
There are 11 types of blood pressure medication. Each works in different ways, but the overall goal of hypertension drugs is to make it easier for blood to flow and for the heart to beat.
- Diureticsflush excess fluid and sodium out of the body.
- Beta-blockersmake the heart beat more slowly. They reduce how hard it has to work and the amount of blood it has to put out.
- ACE inhibitorshelp to reduce the amount of a hormone called angiotensin. This hormone causes arteries to narrow.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers block the receptors for angiotensin to prevent it from narrowing arteries.
- Calcium channel blockersrelax and dilate blood vessels. They also lower heart rate.
- Alpha-blockershelp to relax the walls of blood vessels.
- Alpha-2 receptor agonists lower the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. This is a part of the nervous system that controls heart rate and other involuntary body functions.
- Combined alpha- and beta-blockers are mostly used to treat people having a hypertensive crisis. They are sometimes prescribed for those at high risk of heart failure.
- Central agonists make it harder for blood vessels to contract.
- Peripheral adrenergic inhibitors block chemicals in the brain that play a role in causing blood vessels to become narrow.
- Vasodilators relax the walls of blood vessels. This helps them to widen and allows blood to flow more easily.
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Mistakes When Taking Blood Pressure:
We are constantly amazed to discover how many mistakes health professionals make when measuring blood pressure. Would you like to learn the most common errors? Here is a link:
Do you avoid mistakes when measuring blood pressure? We are constantly amazed at how many technicians incorrectly take blood pressure readings. Here are tips to help you eliminate errors.
Salt Intake And High Blood Pressure
Reducing the amount of salt you eat can also help to manage or even avoid high blood pressure. To help reduce your salt intake:
- Ensure your diet consists of wholefoods including vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, lean meat and poultry, fish and seafood, legumes, unsalted nuts and seeds.
- Avoid packaged and processed foods that are high in salt. You cant see the salt in these foods, so you dont know how much salt you are having. Get into the habit of checking food labels.
- Choose low-salt food where possible. If you cant find low-salt products, those with moderate amounts of salt are ok too. Another simple alternative is to look for labels with low salt, salt reduced or no added salt.
- Avoid adding salt to cooking or at the table flavour meals with herbs and spices instead.
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Your Blood Pressure Will Vary Throughout The Day
Whats your blood pressure? Not in general, but right now, this very minute! Unless you get out your blood pressure monitor and actually measure it as you are reading this article, you wont have a clue. That is because your blood pressure will vary minute-to-minute and hour-to-hour, not to mention day-to-day! This reader asks an important question about how blood pressure will vary.
What Time Should You Check Your Blood Pressure
Taking your blood pressure daily can be great way to monitor your health. If youre planning to start monitoring at home, its important to be as accurate as possible.
One of the best ways to get an accurate blood pressure reading is to measure at the same time each day. The right time of day will depend on you and your schedule.
Learn how and when to check your blood pressure, along with other tips for best practices.
Your blood pressure changes throughout the day. Generally, it will be lowest when you first wake up and will get higher as you do daily activities.
Since your blood pressure changes throughout the day, its a good idea to take it at least twice. Taking your blood pressure multiple times throughout the day ensures youre getting an accurate reading.
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High Blood Pressure Treatment
The best way to lower blood pressure begins with changes you can make to your lifestyle to help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. Additionally, your doctor may prescribe medicine to lower your blood pressure. These are called antihypertensive medicines.
The goal of treatment is to reduce your blood pressure to normal levels. Your doctor may prescribe medicine thats easy to take and has few, if any, side effects. This treatment is highly successful. If your blood pressure can only be controlled with medicine, youll need to take the medicine for the rest of your life. It is common to need more than one medicine to help control your blood pressure. Dont stop taking the medicine without talking with your doctor. Otherwise, you may increase your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
What Is The Best Time To Check Your Blood Pressure
Purchasing a blood pressure monitoring device is a great first step in taking control of your health. However, knowing when the best time is to collect this data and how to interpret it is key to understanding and effectively managing high blood pressure conditions.
Blood pressure readings can fluctuate throughout the day, which makes it important to check readings several times and at different points. Checking your BP monitor about five to six times will help you obtain a good idea of where your blood pressure lies. Establishing a routine of checking your monitor will help this effort.
The following is an example of the information your doctor needs to better assess your blood pressure:
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Why Does My Blood Pressure Vary Throughout The Day
You may have heard the term circadian rhythm. If so, you know this is not a beat to keep on the dance floor. It is a biological cycle your body follows. As defined by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, âCircadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment.â As your body cycles through this rhythm each day, responding to both internal and external stimuli, your blood pressure is affected.
The study of these important rhythms, known as chronobiology, was founded by Franz Halberg. His work in this field has helped identify abnormal rhythms in day-night blood pressure readings.Keeping the Beat of Blood PressureFollowing this chronobiological rhythm, your blood pressure is normally higher during the daytime and lower at night, during sleeping hours. Hereâs the problem. People with high blood pressure often donât experience this night time dip. This lack of a lowering of blood pressure at night is referred to as non-dipping.Whatâs the big deal? Heart attack and stroke have been found to be associated with non-dipping. Your blood pressure stays elevated, and your body is not in the relaxed state it should be during rest.
What Is Blood Pressure
Your heart pumps blood around your body through a network of vessels called arteries. With each heartbeat the blood pushes against the artery walls. The strength of this ‘pushing’ is your blood pressure .
Your blood pressure changes throughout the day. It’s lower when you’re asleep or relaxing and goes up when you move around. It can also be increased by stress or extreme emotions and stimulants like nicotine or caffeine.
Some people’s blood pressure stays above recommended levels. This is known as high blood pressure . This can lead to damaged arteries and increase your risk of:
- heart failure
- kidney and eye damage.
This can happen for a range of reasons and there’s a number of things you can do to reduce your blood pressure.
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Can These Fluctuations Affect My Tension Measurements
Absolutely. Readings in healthcare settings are typically regarded as the average blood pressure of a person, but thats not necessarily true. As weve seen, blood pressure can fluctuate significantly over the 24-hour-cycle, and also depending on where you measure it.
Some people have whats known as white-coat hypertension: their blood pressure spikes when theyre in a doctors office. Others have masked hypertension: the opposite phenomenon, where their pressure is high at home, but drops at the doctors.
This is why more and more physicians are recommending regular home monitoring to get a more relevant baseline for a persons blood tension.
Blood Pressure And Ageing
With advancing years, the arteries tend to become more rigid . This may change a persons blood pressure pattern, with a higher systolic pressure and a lower diastolic pressure. The higher systolic pressure is important because it can further accelerate the rigidity of the arteries. This state is referred to as isolated systolic hypertension. Although these changes are due to ageing, this is not a normal state and may need medication to control the systolic pressures.
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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 You Should Take Your Own Blood Pressure At Home Or On The Go
Because of regular fluctuations in blood pressure, white-coat syndrome, and masked hypertension, doctors may recommend self-monitoring for people with HBP. There are many benefits to taking your own BP:
- Knowing your actual, average blood pressure outside of regular fluctuations
- Gaining more control over your blood pressure
- Tracking your progress
- Saving time and possibly money from frequent doctor visits and complications
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When To Monitor Your Blood Pressure At Home
After knowing “what time of day is blood pressure highest?” you may want to closely observe your blood pressure during the day so as to detect any abnormal fluctuations. The best way is to monitor your blood pressure at home. To track your blood pressure, you should measure it at different times during the day, about 5 to 6 times per day. Once you understand how your blood pressure works and you get to know your numbers, you can start monitoring your blood pressure once or twice a day. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, monitor it at the same times every day, in case that it is affected by other factors. Often, it is recommended to measure the blood pressure in the morning, before you have your morning coffee and breakfast, and once again before bed.
When Should You Check Blood Pressure If You Are Taking Medications?
Normally medications do interfere with the levels of your blood pressure. The best time to monitor your blood pressure is just before you take your regular medicines. At that time you will get real results of your blood pressure. You can also see how well your medicines are working.
Should You Check the Blood Pressure When You Have the Symptoms?
You may also wonder this question after “what time of day is blood pressure highest?” In fact, it is a good time to monitor your blood pressure to see how high it is. Remember to seek immediate assistance when the symptoms are too severe.
Common symptoms of high blood pressure include: