How Can You Manage Your High Blood Pressure
Treatment of high blood pressure often starts with lifestyle changes, including decreasing salt in your diet, losing weight if necessary, stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol use, and regular exercise.
In addition to lifestyle changes, medications are often used to lower blood pressure. There are several types of medications that treat high blood pressure with each type of medication having benefits and risks that should be carefully weighed by you and your health care provider. Most people take more than one medication in order to bring their blood pressure down to their treatment goal.
Your blood pressure medication should begin to work within days. However, because high blood pressure is a long-lasting medical condition that often has little or no symptoms, remembering to take your medications can be a challenge. Combination medicines, long-acting or once-a-day medications, may be used to decrease the burden of taking numerous medications and help ensure medications regularly. Once started, the medication should be used until your doctor tells you to stop.
Controlling your blood pressure should be part of a healthy living plan and lifelong task. The damage that high blood pressure causes your internal organs does not cause any symptoms until serious damage has been done.
What Causes High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure usually develops over time. It can happen because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, such as not getting enough regular physical activity. Certain health conditions, such as diabetes and having obesity, can also increase the risk for developing high blood pressure. High blood pressure can also happen during pregnancy.
You can manage your blood pressure to lower your risk for serious health problems that may affect your heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes.
Do Regular Physical Activity
Regular aerobic exercise reduces blood pressure. The reductions are greater for people who start with higher blood pressure. Even relatively small increases in physical activity have been shown to lower blood pressure.
- People aged 18-64 years should do a total of 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate-intensity activity or 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous activity every week. You can achieve this in shorter periods of activity. Moderate-intensity activity includes brisk walking, golf, swimming and mowing the lawn. Vigorous activity includes jogging, aerobics, soccer, netball or fast cycling.
- People aged 18-64 years should also do muscle strengthening exercises at least 2 days per week, such as squats, lunges, pull-ups, push-ups, lifting weights, carrying things or digging. When doing resistance exercises, its important to breathe normally and not hold your breath since this raises blood pressure.
- People aged 65 and older should aim for some physical activity every week preferably 30 minutes of moderate intensity on most days. Any activity is better than none, and you can gradually build up to the target total.
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Regular Blood Pressure Checks If Diagnosed With High Blood Pressure
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, your blood pressure will need to be closely monitored until it is brought under control.
After your blood pressure has been controlled, your GP or practice nurse will measure your blood pressure at agreed regular intervals .
It is important you attend these appointments to ensure your blood pressure is being maintained within an acceptable range.
Home Remedies For Managing High Blood Pressure
What is high blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force at which blood pumps from the heart into the arteries. A normal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 mm Hg.
When blood pressure is high, the blood moves through the arteries more forcefully. This puts increased pressure on the delicate tissues in the arteries and damages the blood vessels.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects about half of American adults, estimates the American College of Cardiology.
Known as a silent killer, it usually doesnt cause symptoms until theres significant damage done to the heart. Without visible symptoms, most people are unaware that they have high blood pressure.
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What Do Blood Pressure Readings Mean
The American Heart Association defines normal blood pressure as less than 120/80. Elevated blood pressure ranges between 120/80 and 129/80, and high blood pressure is 130/80 and higher. In pregnancy, normal blood pressure should be below 120/80.
If your blood pressure reaches the high range, you should see your doctor about lifestyle changes, and possibly medication especially if you have other risk factors, such as diabetes or heart disease.
High blood pressure may indicate an emergency situation. If this high blood pressure is associated with chest pain, shortness of breath, headache, dizziness, or back or abdominal pain, seek medical care immediately. If you are experiencing no associated symptoms with a high blood pressure reading such as this, re-check it again within a few minutes and contact your doctor or go to an emergency room if it is still high.
If your blood pressure is lower than about 100/60 you may have low blood pressure, depending on the associated symptoms. If you are unsure, check with your doctor.
Natural Ways With Potential
If you do an Internet search, youll find dozens of other natural ways to lower blood pressure. They may be effective, but the evidence is limited or questionable.
Take stress reduction, for example. In 2017, the American Heart Association issued a scientific statement on the role of meditation in cardiovascular riskreduction. The AHA determined the concept was plausible, but the studies included too few subjects and used different endpoints, which made drawing conclusions impossible.
Some studies showed significant benefit, and others showed none. There simply wasnt enough data to say that meditation consistently lowers blood pressure, says Dr. Laffin. More likely, anything that relaxes you decreases blood pressure temporarily, but isnt a solution for people with sustained hypertension.
The same issue applies to various foods, spices, herbs and vitamins. You will probably find a study or two on each that says it lowers blood pressure, but these have never been robustly studied, he says.
If you are serious about using natural ways to lower blood pressure, choose one or more methods that have stood the test of time.
This article originally appeared in Cleveland Clinic Heart Advisor.
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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.
Can High Blood Pressure Be Prevented Or Avoided
If your high blood pressure is caused by lifestyle factors, you can take steps to reduce your risk:
- Lose weight.
- Reduce your alcohol consumption.
- Learn relaxation methods.
If your high blood pressure is caused by disease or the medicine you take, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to prescribe a different medicine. Additionally, treating any underlying disease can help reduce your high blood pressure.
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What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force applied by the blood to the inner walls of the arteries. 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.
What To Do If Your Blood Pressure Is High
If you develop secondary hypertension, lifestyle approaches or home remedies alone are usually not enough, depending on several factors such as how well the underlying cause is managed. Secondary hypertension is usually caused by certain health problem . A number of tests are required to find out the exact cause of the problem .
But most cases of hypertension are essential hypertension . In many cases, essential hypertension only requires a few lifestyle approaches to deal with, though medications are also required in some cases.
High blood pressure medications
When it is too high , you need to make it back to normal as soon as possible and therefore medical intervention is usually needed.
Sometimes due to certain reasons, doctors prescribe medicines for any stages of hypertension. Below are some of the common ones.
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Which Medicines Are Prescribed For High Blood Pressure
Some people will find that lifestyle changes alone wont be enough to control their blood pressure and so they’ll need to take medicines. Often, 2 types of medicines that work in different ways will be needed sometimes more than 2 are necessary.
Blood pressure medicines are typically taken every day. Many people will need to take them for the rest of their lives. The most commonly used blood pressure medicines are ACE inhibitors, angiotensin-receptor blockers, beta blockers, diuretics and calcium channel blockers.
Your doctor will choose the most appropriate medicine for you based on your blood pressure measurements, your overall risk of heart and blood vessel disease, and any other medical conditions you have or medicines that you take. Your doctor may set a target blood pressure.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dosage of one medicine and review your progress a few weeks later. If you experience any side effects, tell your doctor straight away.
When Treatment Is Recommended
Everyone with high blood pressure is advised to make healthy lifestyle changes.
Your doctor will carry out some blood and urine tests, and ask questions about your health to determine your risk of other problems:
- if your blood pressure is consistently above 140/90mmHg , but your risk of other problems is low you’ll be advised to make some changes to your lifestyle
- if your blood pressure is consistently above 140/90mmHg and your risk of other problems is high you’ll be offered medicine to lower your blood pressure, in addition to lifestyle changes
- if your blood pressure is consistently above 160/100mmHg you’ll be offered medicine to lower your blood pressure, in addition to lifestyle changes
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How To Lower Blood Pressure
A healthier diet and increased physical activity can control blood pressure without medications in some cases. In other cases, a healthier lifestyle may not be enough on its own to control blood pressure, but it can reduce your need for medications.
For motivation to live healthy, you can see estimates of how much each healthy change can help lower blood pressure. These tips may also help.
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Blood Pressure Meds When Pregnant
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Tips For Taking Blood Pressure Medication
Untreated high blood pressure can increase your risk of serious health problems. If your doctor prescribes medication to lower your blood pressure, remember:
- If you take blood pressure medication and your blood pressure goes down, it means medication and lifestyle changes are working. If another doctor asks if you have high blood pressure, the answer is, “Yes, but it is being treated.”
- Healthy lifestyle changes may help lower the dosage you need.
- Get up slowly from a seated or lying position and stand for a bit before walking. This lets your blood pressure adjust before walking to prevent lightheadedness and falls.
- Tell your doctor about all the drugs you take. Don’t forget to mention over-the-counter drugs, including vitamins and supplements. They may affect your blood pressure. They also can change how well your blood pressure medication works.
- Blood pressure medication should be taken at the same time each day as part of your daily routine. For example, take it in the morning with breakfast or in the evening before brushing your teeth. If you miss a dose, do not double the dose the next day.
- Remember to refill your medication before you run out and bring it with you when traveling. Its important to keep taking your medication unless your doctor tells you to stop.
- Before having surgery, ask your doctor if you should take your blood pressure medication on the day of your operation.
How To Monitor Your Blood Pressure
You can monitor your own blood pressure at home using a home blood pressure monitor. The American Heart Association recommends using an automatic, cuff-style bicep monitor. Make sure you buy a monitor that has been validated and with a cuff that fits properly around your upper arm. Then follow these simple steps:
- Dont exercise, eat, drink caffeinated beverages, or smoke within 30 minutes of measuring your blood pressure.
- Sit still with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Follow your monitors instructions or ask your doctor how to use it correctly.
- Make sure you check your blood pressure at the same time each day.
- Check your blood pressure two or three times each time you sit down to measure it. Wait one minute in between each reading. Be sure to track your measurements, either writing them down in a journal or using an online tracker.
You may be wondering how to lower blood pressure. Below are my top natural ways to lower blood pressure, and by the way, it should happen fast! Some plans can take months to see results. With my tips, some of which revolve around anti-inflammatory foods, you can see results in just one day.
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Blood Pressure And High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of your blood against the walls of your arteries, which are blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from your heart towards the rest of your body. Most often, you will receive two numbers.
Systolic blood pressure is the higher number. It reflects the force when your heart is contracting and pushing blood. Diastolic blood pressure is lower. It is the pressure measured at the time when your heart is relaxing between beats.
Why Is Your Blood Pressure Important
Your blood pressure is important because if it is too high, it affects the blood flow to your organs. Over the years, this increases your chances of developing heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, eye disease, erectile dysfunction and other conditions.
Very occasionally, people with very high blood pressure are at serious risk of problems and need urgent treatment in hospital to reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Current Australian guidelines recommend that if you have persistent raised blood pressure over 160/100 mmHg, but are at low risk of having a stroke or heart attack, you should talk to your doctor or specialist about taking medication to lower your blood pressure.
For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
If youre over 18, you should have your blood pressure checked by your doctor at least every 2 years, or more often if advised.
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