What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries. When the doctor measures your blood pressure, the results are given in two numbers. The first number, called systolic blood pressure, is the pressure caused by your heart contracting and pushing out blood. The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, is the pressure when your heart relaxes and fills with blood. Your blood pressure reading is usually given as the systolic blood pressure number over the diastolic blood pressure number, such as 138/72. Normal blood pressure for adults is defined as a systolic pressure of less than 120 and a diastolic pressure of less than 80. This is stated as 120/80.
What Causes Labile Hypertension
When labile hypertension is suspected, a 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitor may be used to confirm the diagnosis. Then the work of pinpointing the underlying cause begins. Serious detective work often is required. We look at the patients overall health, lifestyle and medications, says Dr. Lioudis.
When a medication or lifestyle choice is the precipitating factor, making appropriate changes can cause labile hypertension to disappear.
Underlying medical conditions are a bigger concern, since they may be harder to treat.
We look for sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease or a problem with the adrenal glands, as any of these can cause blood pressure to fluctuate,says Dr. Lioudis.
Don’t Be Too Concerned
High blood pressure spikes can be a concern in those with heart disease, but are generally harmless in those without. Still, you never want to deal with too much high blood pressure. Hypertension can put stress on your heart and possibly damage your blood vessels. That’s why even though there isn’t necessarily any danger to experiencing these blood pressure spikes, you should still make reducing your anxiety a priority.
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What Causes Blood Pressure To Spike Suddenly
There are many obvious causes like caffeine, exercise, or stress. Another common cause that is less obvious is medication. Medications that cause your blood pressure to go up include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , including popular brands like aspirin, Advil, Aleve, and Motrin
- Some antidepressants
Spikes In Blood Pressure Don’t Always Need Er Care
Most cases of ‘hypertensive urgency’ can be treated safely in doctor’s office, large study finds
MONDAY, June 13, 2016 — If your blood pressure reading at a routine doctor’s office visit is alarmingly high, in most cases that doesn’t mean a trip to the emergency room, a new study suggests.
In the Cleveland Clinic study of office visits by almost 60,000 patients with “hypertensive urgency” , less than 1 percent needed a referral to a hospital ER.
The rest were treated and then sent home with no added risk in terms of patient outcomes, the researchers said.
“Hypertensive urgency is common in the outpatient setting,” noted the team led by the clinic’s Dr. Krishna Patel. However, the researchers believe that “most patients probably can be safely treated in the outpatient setting, because cardiovascular complications are rare in the short term.”
Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, who directs Women’s Heart Health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, called the finding “reassuring.”
“For those patients with hypertension, an episode of elevated blood pressure can be alarming,” she said.
However, the Cleveland study suggests that “hypertensive urgency — defined as a blood pressure of at least 180/110 — without symptoms or evidence of end organ damage can be managed safely as an outpatient,” Steinbaum said.
The findings are published online June 13 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
But it’s been unclear whether the best course of action is to send such patients to the ER.
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Wrong Medication Or Wrong Dose
For each person theres an ideal combination of medications and dosages that would best control their hypertension. Some people havent yet received that ideal combination. Its important to work with a doctor who is familiar with the range of medications and who knows what works best for each individual.
Resting Heart Rate During The Night
Nightly average RHR varies widely between individuals. A normal heart rate can range anywhere from 40 to 100 beats per minute and still be considered average. It can also change from day to day, depending on your hydration level, elevation, physical activity, and body temperature. As with many of your bodys signals, its best to compare your RHR with your own baseline. Avoid comparisons to those around you.
When looking at your RHR curve, pay special attention to these three things:
- Your trend: Does your RHR go up, down, or stay level during the night?
- Your lowest point: When is your RHR lowest?
- Your end: Right before you wake up, does your RHR change?
With these questions in mind, here are three patterns you may recognize in the night-time heart rate curves you can see with Oura:
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Sodium And Blood Pressure
How much salt is too much salt? AHA recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day. “This is one leveled teaspoon of salt, and the average American diet contains 2.5 times more salt,” Dr. Bakris says. “That’s a lot of salt being eaten.”
Most of this salt comes from processed and packaged foods, not the salt shaker.
“One Chinese-style meal has a tremendous amount of salt 4,000 to 8,000 mg, depending on what you order and if you are salt sensitive, your blood pressure may increase by as much as 40 points within a few hours,” he says.
All that sodium in your bloodstream attracts more water into your blood vessels, which raises your blood volume. That is what causes your blood pressure to go up. It’s similar to the way pressure increases in a garden hose if you turn up the spigot, the AHA notes.
“Your kidney has to get rid of that salt, and it takes your kidney 24 to 48 hours to recalibrate,” Dr. Bakris says. “You may find yourself getting up at night to pee often because your blood pressure is elevated from salt and your kidney is trying to lower it by peeing it out.”
How Is Fluctuating Blood Pressure Treated
First, a doctor will determine the underlying cause. They will ask about a persons history and discuss their lifestyle and current medications. The doctor may also order or conduct tests.
Medications can lower blood pressure and prevent dangerous fluctuations. A person may also be able to achieve this goal by making changes to their lifestyle.
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So You Have High Blood Pressure What Else Could Be Wrong
If you have high blood pressure, get checked for diabetes and high cholesterol. Most people who have high blood pressure also have some of the other risks for heart disease and stroke, such as not getting enough physical activity, having unhealthy eating habits, smoking, being overweight or drinking too much alcohol. Ask your doctor to test your kidney function through a blood and urine test, and through the electrolytes in your blood kidney problems can cause high blood pressure.
High And Low Blood Pressure Risk Factors
Both high blood pressure and low blood pressure need to be managed. Overall, its much more common to have high blood pressure. According to the American College of Cardiology, almost half of the adults in the United States now fit the new definition of high blood pressure. Not surprisingly, the risk factors for these two conditions are very different.
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Lowering Systolic Blood Pressure More May Cut Health Risks
One major study found that lowering systolic blood pressure to well below the commonly recommended level also greatly lowered the number of cardiovascular events and deaths among people at least 50 years old with high blood pressure.
When study participants achieved a systolic blood pressure target of 120 mmHg compared to the higher target of 140 mmHg recommended for most people, and 150 for people over 60 issues such as heart attack, stroke and heart failure were reduced by almost one-third, and the risk of death by almost one-fourth.
“That’s important information, because more lives may be saved and more deaths may be prevented if we maintain lower blood pressure in certain patients,” says Lynne Braun, NP, PhD, a nurse practitioner at the Rush Heart Center for Women.
Braun cautions, however, that your personal blood pressure target depends on a variety of things, including your current blood pressure, lifestyle, risk factors, other medications you are taking and your age. “Every person has to be evaluated as an individual,” she says. “Realistically, we can’t get everybody down to 120, and trying to do so may create unintended problems.”
It can be dangerous, for instance, to keep an older person on medications that have unsafe side effects, such as diuretics , which can cause dehydration and dizziness in older adults.
And there can be other issues involved with taking multiple medications, such as cost and compliance.
Sleep Habits And Diabetes
While diet and obesity are big contributors to your odds of having diabetes, studies have found that sleep habits are, too, probably because over time, they can affect how well your cells respond to insulin.
In one study, more than 4,000 people reported the amount of sleep they got each night. Those who got less than 6 hours were twice as likely to have cells that were less sensitive to insulin or to have full-blown diabetes. This was true even after the researchers took other lifestyle habits into account.
Other sleep disruptions and disorders, such as sleep apnea, also seem to raise a personâs odds of having diabetes.
But the risk goes up at the other end of the spectrum, too. For reasons that arenât clear, people who sleep too much more than 9 hours a night might also have higher chances of getting diabetes.
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What If Just The First Blood Pressure Number Is High
For older people, often the first number is 130 or higher, but the second number is less than 80. This problem is called isolated systolic hypertension, which is due to age-related stiffening of the major arteries. It is the most common form of high blood pressure in older people and can lead to serious health problems in addition to shortness of breath during light physical activity, lightheadedness upon standing too fast, and falls. Isolated systolic hypertension is treated in the same way as regular high blood pressure but may require more than one type of blood pressure medication. If your doctor determines that your systolic pressure is above a normal level for your age, ask how you can lower it.
How Can I Lower My Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to help lower it.
- Reducing your sodium and potassium intake
- Avoiding or reducing the amount of salt in your food
- Reducing your alcohol intake
- Avoiding or reducing your caffeine intake
- Reducing stress
If you smoke, quitting may help reduce your blood pressure and heart rate, too.
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Risk Factors For Low Blood Pressure
If youre older than 65, you may be at risk of orthostatic hypotension, a condition in which your blood pressure drops when you move from sitting to standing. Endocrine problems, neurological diseases, heart problems, heart failure, and anemia may also cause the condition.
You may also be at risk for low blood pressure if you become dehydrated or take certain prescription drugs such as:
A range of treatments are available for high or low blood pressure.
Blood Pressure Measurement Errors
First, its important to make sure that your blood pressure really is fluctuating. If youve made the measurements yourself using home monitoring equipment or the machines commonly found in grocery stores and pharmacies, the changes youve seen might actually be related to errors or variations in the measurement process itself.
While home blood pressure monitoring can be an effective and useful tool in some situations, you need proper training to ensure youre using the correct technique, as performing the measurements without this training might explain the variation you see.
Drugstore machinesthe kind that requires you to sit in a chair and put your arm through a cuffare notorious for being poorly calibrated and fairly inaccurate.
To prevent erroneous reads, it is best to bring your home blood pressure monitor to your next healthcare providers appointment to be sure youre using it correctly, and also bring the home readings to compare them with the readings in your healthcare providers office.
Alternatively, some healthcare providers recommend ambulatory blood pressure monitoring in which a device is worn by a person at home. The devices measure the blood pressure over a one- to two-day period every 15 to 20 minutes during the day and every 30 to 60 minutes at night.
This is more costly and not always available, however, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently approved national coverage for this non-invasive diagnostic test.
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/6is It Normal For Your Blood Pressure To Rise Post
While COVID vaccination drives have picked up pace, there are also some side effects that can happen once the jab is injected into the body. Fever, weakness, malaise, pain at the injection site being some of the common ones. However, that being said, there could also be some unusual reactions that can strike.
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What Is The Relationship Between Sleep Apnea And Blood Pressure
Of the two types of sleep apnea, only OSA is linked to high blood pressure. CSA isnt a known cause of hypertension, but it develops in 30 to 50% of people with heart failure.
The prevalence of OSA is estimated to be between 4 and 7% of the general population, but it affects 30 to 40% of people with hypertension. Of people diagnosed with OSA, it is estimated that around half also have high blood pressure.
In healthy individuals, blood pressure naturally lowers by between 10 and 20% at night, a phenomenon that is sometimes referred to as blood pressure dipping. People with severe OSA experience blood pressure dips of less than 10%, which indicates a nondipping blood pressure pattern.
People who have nondipping blood pressure at night face an increased risk for cardiovascular issues. Additionally, many patients with OSA experience a sudden and pronounced elevation of their blood pressure when they wake up in the morning. This morning surge is another factor that may increase risk for cardiovascular disease. Moderate to severe OSA increases all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.
OSA doesnt only affect blood pressure at night. Studies show that daytime blood pressure levels also increase with sleep apnea severity.
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You Have Another Health Conditionor You Take One Of These Meds
If you do have high blood pressure, your doctor will likely take into consideration the range of other diseases and disorders that, when poorly managed, cause your blood pressure to become elevated. These include thyroid problems, renovascular disease, Cushings syndrome, and a number of others. The key to all these conditions is the correct diagnosis, says Dr. Beniaminovitz. When the proper diagnosis is made, working with your doctor to reverse and or treat these conditions often cures high blood pressure.
BP fix: Document symptoms that seem unusual.
If your doc says your BP is high, bring up any strange symptoms that could indicate an underlying cause , and always provide them with a list of your current medications and supplements.
If your meds are the issue, ideally they would be discontinued or changed to ones that have no or less effect on blood pressure, says Dr. Beniaminovitz. If a change in medication is not possible, often your doctor will prescribe optimal lifestyle and blood pressure medication to combat the effects.
Home Remedies And Lifestyle Changes
The following can help normalize blood pressure:
- Stopping smoking: Smoking harms the arteries and can cause high blood pressure.
- Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein: Reduce or eliminate added sugars and processed foods.
- Getting regular exercise: The American Heart Association recommends moderate-intensity exertion, such as walking at a quick pace. A person should do this for 30 minutes per day, at least five days a week.
- Limiting alcohol consumption: Women should drink no more than one drink per day and men no more than two drinks per day. Drinking more than this can raise blood pressure.
- Finding healthy ways to lower stress: Meditation, deep breathing exercises, guided imagery, and other techniques to manage stress can help to avoid spikes in blood pressure.
- Consuming less sodium: Excessively salty foods can cause sharp increases in blood pressure.
- Reducing the intake of caffeine: Caffeinated drinks can cause temporary spikes in blood pressure, and may make anxiety worse.
Consult a doctor for personalized guidance.
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What Complications Are Associated With Hypertension
While kids with hypertension are unlikely to have heart attacks and strokes, it still has significant risks. Hypertension causes changes in the structures of the blood vessels and heart. Since hypertension in children has historically been understudied, there isnt a lot of data about exactly what these changes mean. But we do know that in adults, hypertension increases the chance of complications in the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys. Theres also compelling evidence that some of these changes are seen in children with high blood pressure.
These changes affect:
Blood vesselshigh blood pressure can damage blood vessels throughout the body, which makes it harder for organs to work efficiently.
Kidneysif the blood vessels in the kidneys are damaged, they may stop removing waste and extra fluid from the body. This extra fluid can raise blood pressure even more.
Other organsif left untreated, hypertension makes it harder for blood to reach many different parts of the body, including the eyes and the brain, and can lead to blindness and strokes.