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HomeExclusiveWhat To Do If Your Blood Pressure Is High

What To Do If Your Blood Pressure Is High

What Is Resistant Hypertension

Blood Pressure: How High is Too High and How Do I Lower it Safely?

High blood pressure is sometimes known as the silent killer so named because it increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, but often goes unnoticed because of its lack of obvious symptoms. In fact, you may have high blood pressure and not even know it.

But resistant hypertension, just as the name says, is when your high blood pressure is difficult to control even with medication.

Resistant hypertension is the failure to reach your goal blood pressure when youre adhering to maximally tolerated doses of an appropriate three-drug regimen that includes a diuretic, explains Dr. Thomas.

Put another way: If you have high blood pressure, and youre taking the maximum dose of three different blood pressure medications including a water pill , and your blood pressure still isnt at safe levels, you may have resistant hypertension. And youll need to do more to control it.

Add Healthy Foods To Your Diet

Slowly work your way up to eating more servings of heart-healthy plants. Aim to eat more than seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Then aim to add one more serving per day for two weeks. After those two weeks, aim to add one more serving. The goal is to have ten servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

What’s The Impact Of Having High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular diseases such as:

  • coronary heart disease – where the main arteries that supply your heart become clogged up with plaques
  • strokes – a serious condition where the blood supply to your brain is interrupted
  • heart attacks – a serious condition where the blood supply to part of your heart is blocked

Diabetes and kidney disease are also linked to high blood pressure complications.

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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.

What Is Blood Pressure

Consequences of High 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.

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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 range from mild to serious. The forms of high blood pressure during pregnancy include:

Chronic hypertension: High blood pressure which is present prior to pregnancy.

Chronic hypertension with superimposed preeclampsia: Preeclampsia, which develops in someone who has chronic hypertension .

Gestational hypertension: High blood pressure in the latter part of pregnancy, but no other signs or symptoms of preeclampsia are present. Some women will later develop preeclampsia, while others probably have high blood pressure before the pregnancy.

Preeclampsia: This is found in the latter half of pregnancy and results in hypertension, protein in the urine and generalized swelling in the mother. It can affect other organs in the body and cause seizures .

Your blood pressure will be checked regularly during prenatal appointments, but if you have concerns about your blood pressure, be sure to talk with your provider.

Limit Your Alcohol Intake

Regularly drinking more than the recommended daily limits puts you at risk of several health problems, including high blood pressure.

The recommended healthy limits for alcohol are:

  • For healthy men and women, drinking no more than 2 standard drinks on any day reduces your risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury over a lifetime.
  • Drinking no more than 4 standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the risk of alcohol-related injury arising from that occasion.

You should be aware of the amount of alcohol in a standard drink.

Beer 4.8% alc 285ml glass 1.1 standard drinks
Red wine 13% alc
150ml average restaurant serving 1.4 standard drinks
Spirits 40% alc 30ml nip 1 standard drink

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Sudden Spike In Blood Pressure Can Be Serious

Blood pressure is a measurement of the force that blood applies to your arterial walls as it pumps from your heart throughout your body. It also represents how hard your heart is working to push the blood. When blood pressure is higher, it means the heart must work harder to push blood through your system. In turn, the risk of heart disease or heart attack increases.

According to 2014 data, high blood pressure accounts for roughly 1,100 deaths every day in the United States, and only about half of all people with high blood pressure have it under control.

Disturbingly, most people may not even be aware that they have the condition, or are at least on the verge of becoming hypertensive. Some risk factors for high blood pressure include:

  • Prehypertension
  • Eating a high sodium/low potassium diet
  • Not getting enough exercise/physical activity
  • Overactive thyroid
  • Overactive adrenal glands

A normal blood pressure is in the range of 120 mmHg/80 mmHg . The higher number represents systolic blood pressure and the lower represents diastolic. Prehypertension arises when systolic and diastolic pressures exceed these numbers, and hypertensionor high blood pressurearises when blood pressure reaches 140 mmHg/90mmHg.

Sometimes, however, something causes blood pressure to spike unexpectedlyand the higher your resting blood pressure is, the greater your risk of suffering a severe cardiac event becomes. Therefore, knowing how to lower blood pressure fast is very important.

Get Regular Blood Pressure Checks

High Blood Pressure and Your Heart

If your blood pressure is in the healthy range and you have no other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and no personal or family history of high blood pressure, it is still important to have a check at least every two years. Your doctor can also check your blood pressure during routine visits.

If your blood pressure is highnormal , or if you have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as a personal or family history of high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack, it is best to have it checked more frequently such as every 6 to 12 months or as directed by your doctor. Ask your doctor for advice.

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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 5 times a week for 30 to 45 minutes each session.

Eat Some Dark Chocolate

Yes, chocolate lovers: Dark chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure.

But the dark chocolate should be 60 to 70 percent cacao. A review of studies on dark chocolate has found that eating one to two squares of dark chocolate per day may help lower the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and inflammation. The benefits are thought to come from the flavonoids present in chocolate with more cocoa solids. The flavonoids help dilate, or widen, your blood vessels .

A 2010 study of 14,310 people found that individuals without hypertension who ate more dark chocolate had lower blood pressure overall than those who ate less dark chocolate (

28 ).

For some people, getting a good nights sleep isnt easy. There are many ways to help you get restful sleep. Try setting a regular sleep schedule, spend time relaxing at night, exercise during the day, avoid daytime naps, and make your bedroom comfortable .

The national Sleep Heart Health Study found that regularly sleeping less than 7 hours a night and more than 9 hours a night was associated with an increased prevalence of hypertension. Regularly sleeping less than 5 hours a night was linked to a significant risk of hypertension long term .

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What Natural Remedies Therapies And Supplements Lower Blood Pressure

Alternative therapies may be helpful to people trying to control their blood pressure.

  • Acupuncture and biofeedback are well-accepted alternative techniques that may help some people with high blood pressure.
  • Techniques that induce relaxation and reduce stress are recommended. These include meditation, yoga, and relaxation training.
  • These techniques alone may not control high blood pressure for many people. They should not be used as a substitute for medical therapy without first consulting with your health care practitioner.

Dietary supplements and alternative medications and therapies are sometimes recommended for high blood pressure.

  • Examples include vitamins, garlic, fish oil, L-arginine, soy, coenzyme Q10, herbs, phytosterols, and chelation therapy.
  • While these substances may be beneficial, the exact nature of their benefits is not known.
  • Scientific studies have produced no evidence that these therapies lower blood pressure or prevent the complications of high blood pressure.
  • Most of these substances are harmless if taken in moderate doses. Most people can take them without problems.
  • Talk to your health care practitioner if you are considering any of these treatments. Substituting these therapies for medical therapies that have been shown to lower blood pressure and the risk of complications may have a harmful effect on your health.

What Are The Treatments For High Blood Pressure

What

Treatments for high blood pressure include heart-healthy lifestyle changes and medicines.

You will work with your provider to come up with a treatment plan. It may include only the lifestyle changes. These changes, such as heart-healthy eating and exercise, can be very effective. But sometimes the changes do not control or lower your high blood pressure. Then you may need to take medicine. There are different types of blood pressure medicines. Some people need to take more than one type.

If your high blood pressure is caused by another medical condition or medicine, treating that condition or stopping the medicine may lower your blood pressure.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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Blood Pressure Checks During Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, you should have your blood pressure checked on a regular basis, even if it is not high.

Watching your blood pressure while you are pregnant reduces your risk of developing pregnancy-induced hypertension. This can lead to a serious condition called pre-eclampsia where there is a problem with the placenta .

What To Do If You Suspect A Hypertensive Crisis

If you suspect that you or someone else is experiencing a hypertensive crisis, these are the steps that should be taken:

  • Check your blood pressure.
  • If your blood pressure is elevated to 180/120 or higher and you ARE NOT experiencing any severe symptoms, wait 5 minutes and take it again. Try to relax because anxiety can cause falsely elevated blood pressure readings.
  • If the repeat BP measurement is the same or higher then you should seek medical attention. Call your Primary Care Provider first for instructions on medication adjustment and/or follow-up. If you cannot reach them, go to the Emergency Room.
  • If your blood pressure is elevated to 180/120 or higher and you ARE experiencing warning symptoms then do not wait to recheck your blood pressure and instead you should go immediately to the Emergency Room for evaluation.
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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.

    Living With High Blood Pressure

    How do you know if you have High Blood Pressure?

    Controlling your high blood pressure is a lifelong commitment. You will always need to monitor your weight, make healthy food choices, exercise, learn to cope with stress, avoid smoking, and limit your alcohol intake. If you need medicine to control your high blood pressure, you will likely need it all your life.

    Additionally, you will need to get used to regular blood pressure checks. Your doctor may want you to come to the office regularly. Or you may be asked to check your blood pressure at home and keep track of your numbers for your doctor. Some pharmacies and retail clinics have blood pressure machines on site. You can buy your own, automated arm blood pressure cuff for use at home. Your doctor may want you to check your blood pressure several times a day. Another option is to use an ambulatory blood pressure monitor.

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    S You Can Take To Overcome Resistant Hypertension

    Dr. Thomas offers eight tips for managing hypertension. If you do these things, youll know youre doing all you can to help:

  • Make sure youre taking your hypertension medication correctly and at the scheduled time.
  • If your medication is causing unpleasant side effects, talk to your doctor about alternatives dont just stop taking it.
  • Follow a low-sodium diet .
  • Follow the DASH diet, which includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein.
  • Exercise regularly but talk to your doctor first if its been awhile since you were physically active. Easing into an exercise program slowly can be your best bet.
  • Limit the amount of processed foods you eat theyre usually high in sodium.
  • Limit your alcohol intake.
  • Learn to check your blood pressure at home. Ask your doctor to help you create a monitoring schedule. Log the results and bring them to your doctors appointments. Have your blood pressure machine checked for accuracy at least once a year.
  • Managing hypertension isnt always easy, but making these changes is worth the effort. They will go a long way toward reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke.

    Why Is My Blood Pressure Still High When I Take Medication For It

    There is a great deal more to managing high blood pressure than just taking medication! You must actively participate in managing your high blood pressure with your health care provider. You must measure your blood pressure regularly, at least twice a day. Ideally, you would measure it when you awake and before bedtime. Doing so will help your provider identify specific trends in your blood pressure based on your “regular” daily activities. You must keep a journal of all your readings and take them to every appointment.

    You must engage in at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity three to five times per week. Speak to your healthcare professional to create an exercise plan specific to your needs.

    You must commit to a lifestyle of healthy eating. This includes a diet that is low in saturated fats, calories, and cholesterol. Enlisting a dietician or nutritionist on your healthcare team is a great start!

    Lastly, you must take your medication as prescribed. Create reminders so that you don’t miss dosages. If you experience unwanted side effects, tell your healthcare provider immediately. The best way to know if a prescribed blood pressure medication works for you is to take it as prescribed and measure your blood pressure regularly. If you are doing these things and your blood pressure is still elevated, your healthcare provider can prescribe a different or a combination of medications that may work better.

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    How Common Is High Blood Pressure

    High blood pressure is a common condition, it is estimated that 18% of adult men and 13% of adult women have high blood pressure but are not getting treatment for it.

    In 90-95% of cases, there is no single identifiable reason for a rise in blood pressure. But all available evidence shows that lifestyle plays a significant role in regulating your blood pressure.

    Risk factors for high blood pressure include:

    • age
    • poor diet
    • being overweight
    • excessive alcohol consumption.

    Also, for reasons not fully understood, people of Afro-Caribbean and South Asian origin are more likely to develop high blood pressure than other ethnic groups.

    When Should You Get Help For An Abnormal Blood Pressure Reading

    High blood pressure: Like an over

    One high or low blood pressure reading by itself may not mean you need to call for help. If you take your blood pressure and it is out of the normal range, wait a few minutes and take it again. If it’s still high or low, use the following guidance.

    911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

    • You passed out .

    or seek immediate medical care if:

    • Your blood pressure is much higher than normal .
    • You think high blood pressure is causing symptoms such as:
    • Severe headache.
    • Your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher on two or more occasions.
    • Your blood pressure is usually normal and well controlled, but it goes above the normal range on more than one occasion.
    • Your blood pressure is lower than usual and you are dizzy or light-headed.
    • You think you may be having side effects from your blood pressure medicine.

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