High Blood Pressure Symptoms
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. :
High Blood Pressure And Older Adults
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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major health problem that is common in older adults. Your bodys network of blood vessels, known as the vascular system, changes with age. Arteries get stiffer, causing blood pressure to go up. This can be true even for people who have heart-healthy habits and feel just fine. High blood pressure, sometimes called “the silent killer,” often does not cause signs of illness that you can see or feel. Though it affects nearly half of all adults, many may not even be aware they have it.
If high blood pressure isn’t controlled with lifestyle changes and medication, it can lead to serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease such as heart disease and stroke, vascular dementia, eye problems, and kidney disease. The good news is that blood pressure can be controlled in most people.
When Is My Blood Pressure Too High
Whether a persons individual blood pressure is so high that lowering it is necessary to prevent the development of pathological conditions does not merely depend on the blood pressure value. A persons individual medical history is the determining factor: for instance, persons at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease may already require treatment even for levels falling within the elevated-normal range.
If a case of high blood pressure goes untreated, the risk of cardiac insufficiency, heart attack, circulatory disorders, stroke, or kidney damage increase considerably. This is why blood pressure should be checked regularly at-risk groups are recommended to keep a blood pressure chart.
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And Whats The Definition Of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, puts a strain on your heart and blood vessels and makes you more susceptible to heart attacks and strokes.
Normal blood pressure is regarded as being between 120-129 and 80-84 .
The definition of high blood pressure, according to 2018 ESC/ESH Guidelines, is anything above 140/90 mmHg. If you measure it in the comfort of your own home, where youre likely to be more relaxed, the limit is slightly lower at 135/85.
If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 140/90, you may be at risk of developing hypertension at some stage in the future unless you take action to bring it under control. This is called prehypertension.
A blood pressure reading of over 180/120 is dangerously high. Doctors call this a hypertensive crisis, and it requires immediate treatment.
Systolic blood pressure, the top number, is more important than diastolic blood pressure in people over 40. Thats because its a better predictor of stroke and heart attack. And only one of the two numbers has to be higher than it should be to count as high blood pressure.
All this can be summarised in a blood pressure chart, like this:
To check your blood pressure against the chart, start from your systolic pressure on the left-hand side, and move your finger to the right until you reach your diastolic pressure. The colour will tell you whether you have normal or abnormal blood pressure.
Diagnosing High Or Low Blood Pressure
Only one of your numbers needs to be higher than it should be to be diagnosed with high blood pressure, and only one needs to be lower than it should be to be diagnosed with low blood pressure.
So if your top number is over 140 or the bottom number is over 90, you may be diagnosed with , regardless of the other number. If your top number is under 90 or your bottom number is under 60, you may be diagnosed with . Use the to see where your numbers sit.
If your top number is consistently higher than 140mmHg, but the bottom number is healthy this is known as Isolated Systolic Hypertension. If the bottom number is consistently higher than 90mmHg but the top number is healthy this is known as Isolated Diastolic Hypertension.
Making sure your readings arent a one-off
A single high reading doesnt necessarily mean you have high blood pressure, as many things can affect your blood pressure throughout the day, such as the temperature, when you last ate, and if youre feeling stressed.
Your doctor or nurse will probably want to measure your blood pressure a number of times over a few weeks to make sure the reading wasnt just a one off and that your blood pressure stays high over time.
Read about how , getting a , the you might have if you have a high blood pressure reading, and .
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Heart Rate Vs Blood Pressure
Blood pressure measures the force that moves blood through your blood vessels while your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. They are both important health indicators, but they are measured independently and dont necessarily increase or decrease synchronously.
A temporary increase in heart rate, such as during exercise, is not considered problematic. In fact, your heart is expected to rise during a bout of activity and return to its resting rate afterward. And the more intense you work, the more you should expect your heart rate to rise during exercise. Your heart rate can safely double during activity so long as it returns to its resting rate relatively soon after you finish your workout.
Significant increases in blood pressure, on the other hand, are not normal and should be monitored and shared with your health care provider.
How Do I Know If I Have High Blood Pressure
Theres only one way to know if you have high blood pressure: Have a doctor or other health professional measure it. Measuring your blood pressure is quick and painless.
Talk with your health care team about regularly measuring your blood pressure at home, also called self-measured blood pressure monitoring.
High blood pressure is called the silent killer because it usually has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it.
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How Often Should You Get Your Blood Pressure Checked
If your blood pressure is higher than it should be, follow your doctors advice with regard to how often you should check your blood pressure at home. Also find out from your doctor what you should do if your blood pressure readings are higher than usual.
If you dont have high blood pressure, its still important to get it checked regularly, as blood pressure can change over time. Medical experts suggest the following timeline for low risk individuals:
- For people between 18 and 40. Get your blood pressure checked at least once every 2 years.
- For anyone over 40. Get your blood pressure checked at least once a year.
You may need to have your blood pressure checked more regularly if you:
- have a family history of hypertension
- have heart disease, diabetes, or kidney disease
- are overweight or have obesity
- have sleep apnea or insomnia
You dont necessarily have to get your blood pressure checked at your doctors office. Some health care clinics do free blood pressure screenings. You may also schedule an appointment at your local pharmacy.
Untreated and uncontrolled high blood pressure can damage your blood vessels and other organs, including your heart, kidneys, eyes, and brain.
Complications of hypertension can include:
Getting Help For Hypertension Prevention And Treatment
Lark Hypertension, for example, is a health coach for essential hypertension treatment. It offers help for a variety of approaches to support healthy blood pressure.
- Support and tracking for weight loss
- Healthy sleep tips and tracking
- Reminders to measure blood pressure, and storage of your data
- Medication reminders
- Help connecting with a healthcare professional if your blood pressure is out of range
High blood pressure may be âthe silent killer,â but you can stand up loud and clear against it. Take charge of your blood pressure by knowing your risks, doing what you can to prevent and control hypertension, and working with your healthcare provider.
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Modifiable Risks For High Blood Pressure In Women
Modifiable risk factors for hypertension are factors that you can control. Learning about these can help you identify areas in your life where you could change some things to lower high blood pressure or lower your risk for high blood pressure.
These are some lifestyle-related issues for hypertension.
ObesityExtra weight requires extra blood volume to circulate oxygen to your tissues, which causes extra pressure in your blood vessels. A BMI of 30 or over corresponds to a weight of 180 lb. for someone who is 5â6â or 209 lb. for someone who is 5â10.âLack of physical activityYour heart must work harder to pump blood through your body, and force on your arteries is higher.A high-sodium, low-potassium dietSodium, which is mostly found in salt, raises blood pressure by increasing water retention and blood volume, while potassium has the opposite effect.Use of tobaccoSmoking and chewing tobacco raise blood pressure and damage your arteries.Excessive alcohol consumptionModerate consumption of red wine can be good for your heart in some cases, but alcohol abuse over time can raise blood pressure.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure
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 .
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What Is Normal Blood Pressure By Age
Blood pressure ranges for adults are:
- High: Systolic of 130 or above and/or diastolic of 80 or above
- High Blood Pressure Stage 1: Systolic of 130-139 or diastolic of 80-89
- High Blood Pressure Stage 2: Systolic of 140 or higher or diastolic 90 or higher
The normal Blood Pressure Ranges for Adults Chart
|Blood Pressure Category|
|Higher than 120|
The normal blood pressure for adolescents 13 years or older is less than 120/80 mmHg.
In younger children, the normal range for blood pressure is determined by the childs sex, age, and height. The normal range is expressed as a percentile, similar to charts used to track childrens growth.
Blood pressure is separated into three categories based upon the childs blood pressure percentile:
The normal blood pressure range for Children Chart
|Blood Pressure Category|
Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure
Most doctors will only consider chronically low blood pressure as dangerous if it causes noticeable signs and symptoms, such as:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Dehydration and unusual thirst
- Dehydration can sometimes cause blood pressure to drop. However, dehydration does not always cause low blood pressure. Fever, vomiting, severe diarrhea, overuse of diuretics and strenuous exercise can all lead to dehydration, a potentially serious condition in which your body loses more water than you take in. Even mild dehydration can cause weakness, dizziness and fatigue.
- Lack of concentration
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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.
How Often Should You Measure Your Blood Pressure
NHS recommends for adults aged 40 years old and over to have their blood pressure at least every 5 years. If youre at an increased risk of high blood pressure, you should ideally have your blood pressure readings taken once a year.
Having a blood pressure test is easy and provides you with the information to improve your lifestyle therefore preventing ill health. The reading my also reassure you that you are keeping your levels at a healthy range. To test your blood pressure, you can book an appointment to see your GP, have your reading taken at a pharmacy, or buy an at-home testing machine from your local pharmacy.
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Everyone Has Blood Pressure Our Blood Pressure Is Simply The Amount Of Work That Our Hearts Have To Do To Pump Our Blood Around The Body
What is blood pressure, exactly?
High blood pressure usually has no symptoms. If its not treated or kept under control, it is one of the major risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Treatment and detection is very possible but it starts with you.
Blood pressure is measured by two numbers
The first number records blood pressure when the pressure is at its highest i.e. when the heart muscle squeezes out the blood this is called systolic pressure.
The second number is when the heart relaxes and allows the blood to flow back into the heart this is called diastolic pressure.
Whats the normal level?
The normal level of blood pressure is usually about 120 over 80 . If your blood pressure is 140 over 90 or higher you should discuss this reading with your doctor.
Why is blood pressure important
The higher your blood pressure, the greater your risk of heart attack or stroke, heart failure, kidney failure and poor circulation in your legs. These problems can be avoided if your blood pressure is controlled.
Over half of all adults in Ireland over 45 years of age have high blood pressure. About 4 in every 5 men and 2 in every 3 women with high blood pressure are not being treated. Keep reading and well help change that.
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, it means your blood pressure is consistently higher than it should be. Thankfully, there are several ways to help reduce it which we will talk you through below.
Are there any signs or causes?
How Can You Keep Your Blood Pressure In A Healthy Range
To maintain your blood pressure or bring it down to a safer zone, the following lifestyle changes can make a big difference:
- Eat less salt. The AHA suggests limiting your salt intake to no more than 2,300 mg of salt per day or ideally less than 1,500 mg .
- Move more. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week or about 30 minutes five days a week of moderate aerobic exercise, according to the CDC. Small habits like walking briskly, taking the stairs, and parking at the back of the lot can add up.
- Adopt the DASH diet. DASH actually stands for “dietary approaches to stop hypertension,” according to the NHLBI. The DASH diet entails eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts while cutting down on sweets, sugary drinks, and red meat. It can be as effective as taking blood pressure meds.
- Limit alcohol. Men should cut themselves off at two drinks a day while women should have no more than one drink a day, per the AHA. Your healthcare provider may also suggest at some point that you stop drinking alcohol altogether.
- Quit smoking. Smoking’s a top risk factor for heart disease, but you can quit with help such as the Smokefree community.
- Add stress management tools to your day. Dial down the pressure with tools like daily self-care habits, therapy, support groups, and relaxation techniques, per the CDC.
- Get enough sleep. Schedule a bedtime and wake-up time to ensure you’re hitting 79 hours of shut-eye.