What Can Cause Blood Pressure To Go Up Or Down
It’s normal for blood pressure to go up and down throughout the day. Things like exercise, stress, and sleeping can affect your blood pressure. Some medicines can cause your blood pressure to go up. These medicines include certain asthma medicines and cold remedies.
A low blood pressure reading can be caused by many things, including some medicines, a severe allergic reaction, or an infection. Another cause is dehydration, which is when your body loses too much fluid.
One Reader Shares His Story:
Sometimes an anecdote reveals the science:
Q. I want to thank you for your story about whether to take blood pressure medications in the morning or at bedtime. Ive been taking BP meds for about 20 years.
In January I visited my doctor about another problem, and he became concerned about my blood pressure. He wanted me to monitor it every day for a month and check back in.
During that month, I read your article. Id been taking my meds with breakfast and I decided to change that.
The effect was quite remarkable. My systolic pressure dropped from about 145 to 135.
Ive had serious side effects from BP meds in the past and I was apprehensive that my doctor would change my meds. Lately, Ive been on amlodipine and HCTZ and the side effects seem minimal. Yesterday, my doctor decided to not to make any changes and I want to thank you for that.
A. We are glad to hear that this is working for you. Research shows that people taking their blood pressure pills in the evening had better BP control and were less likely to have heart attacks or strokes .
How Did Bfr Training Begin
Congratulations! If youve made it this far you are really dedicated to learning about BFR training. So Ill give you a little bonus info about how it got started.
BFR was invented by a Japanese therapist, Yoshiaki Sato, around 1994. After sitting in a traditional kneeling position for a long time at a funeral, Sato realized that his calves felt just as if hed done a vigorous workout.
From there he wondered if sitting on his calves had slowed blood return, trapping CO2, lactic acid, and other waste products. This, he thought might trick the muscles into growing because they felt like they had done a heavy bout of exercise.
Further research proved his hypothesis, and he started KAATSU training the origin of BFR. He tried it out on himself as one of the first test subjects. After breaking his ankle, he decided to use BFR on the injured leg while he was in a cast for 8 weeks. He found that hed prevented almost all of the atrophy that usually comes from being in a cast for that long. And the rest is history.
Looking to recover faster? Check out our guide to choosing the best turmeric supplements for your needs.
This does not constitute specific medical advice and does not indicate a physician-patient relationship between Dr. Larson and readers of this website. Please consult your own physician regarding any of these recommendations before starting them.
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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.
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Understanding Your Blood Pressure Reading
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury and is given as 2 numbers:
- systolic pressure the pressure when your heart pushes blood out
- diastolic pressure the pressure when your heart rests between beats
The highest number is always the systolic pressure and itâs always given first. For example, a blood pressure given as â120 over 80â or 120/80mmHg means a systolic pressure of 120mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 80mmHg.
As a general guide:
- normal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg
- high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher
- low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower
If your reading is between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg, you may be at risk of developing high blood pressure. There are things you can do to help prevent high blood pressure.
What Is A Blood Pressure Measurement
Each time your heart beats, it pumps blood into your arteries. A blood pressure measurement is a test that measures the force in your arteries as your heart pumps. Blood pressure is measured as two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure measures pressure inside your arteries when the heart beats.
- Diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure inside the artery when the heart rests between beats.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects tens of millions of adults in the United States. It increases the risk of life-threatening conditions including heart attack and stroke. But high blood pressure rarely causes symptoms. A blood pressure measurement helps diagnose high blood pressure early, so it may be treated before it leads to serious complications.
Other names: blood pressure reading, blood pressure test, blood pressure screening, sphygmomanometry
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At What Point Should You Go To The Er For High Blood Pressure
Most of the common reasons for visits to the emergency room may be complications caused by hypertension . Usually, elevated blood pressure levels can cause great damage to our bodies. It can also lead to conditions that may become life-threatening.
The understanding of when to seek immediate health care can help you avoid delays in getting medical attention. This can also decrease your risk of developing severe complications caused by extremely high blood pressure.
Going by the research of the American Heart Association, whenever blood pressure levels increase severely and reach measurements of 180/110 or greater, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Subsequently, there are other warning signs associated with high blood pressure. These signs indicate you are having a hypertensive crisis and require emergency care. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Severe headaches which are followed by blurred vision and confusion
- Shortness of breath
- Severe anxiety
Missing to take blood pressure medication, or heart attack, stroke, kidney failure or an artery rupture may be the cause of a severe spike in your blood pressure.
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Choosing Times That Work For You
The best times of day to take your blood pressure depend on you and your daily routine. Its important to pick times that you can stick to every day.
Taking your blood pressure at the same time each day is key to understanding your blood pressure. It can help make sure that the readings you take arent affected by the events of your day.
You can select times when you know youll be home and are unlikely to be interrupted. For example, you could check your blood pressure before you leave for work, when you get home from work, and before bed.
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If Cuff Fit Isnt The Issue
If youre experiencing intense arm pain when you take your blood pressure even after youve measured your arm circumference and made sure you have a cuff that fits, double check your cuff placement to be sure the monitor is able to correctly detect your blood pressure. If the device cant get the signals it needs because the cuff is not in the right place, it may end up over-inflating. Similarly, if youre moving during the reading, your monitor may be thrown off and the cuff may remain inflated for a longer period in order to take a measurement.
Keep in mind, too, that your cuff needs to inflate to a higher pressure than your systolic blood pressure in order to take a measurement so if your blood pressure is especially high, the cuff may inflate to a higher level than usual and cause some pain.
If you find that arm pain frequently occurs at the doctors office with an automatic blood pressure monitor, you can ask your nurse or doctor to measure your blood pressure manually with a pump instead to see if that helps.
And if you cant seem to find a way to take your blood pressure without experiencing pain, talk to your doctor. You could be dealing with an underlying injury or other condition thats causing your discomfort.
Are You Taking Your Pressure Too Often Due To Fluctuations
Your pressure can change throughout the day. Sometimes from minute to minute or hour to hour. Slight variations are normal but shouldnt be a concern . Because of these fluctuations, you may take your blood pressure too often. The extra measurements arent necessary.
A common cause of getting different 2 different readings, even minutes apart can be because you didnt prepare properly for the first reading. Something like being as unrelaxed as you should have been for the first reading is very common. By the time you take the 2nd measurement, your body has had a few more minutes to calm down and relax resultingly in a lower number.
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What To Look For
Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. In addition to reaching that goal, you want the difference in systolic blood pressure the upper number of the reading between your arms to be within 5 points.
If its greater than 10 or 15 points, the first step is to recheck because you may have simply settled down and lowered your blood pressure between arm readings. If the difference persists, it should be investigated. Itâs all about your bodyâs plumbing and blood flow.
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How Does My Circadian Rhythm Affect My Blood Pressure Medication
Michael Smolensky, adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Texas, Ausin, reports, â”The body doesn’t respond to medications in the same way at different times of the day. Some drugs are not as effective or as well tolerated if they’re taken at the wrong biological time. It’s not that they’re not effective at all, but they’re certainly much less effective.”Studies on chronotherapy have found that taking high blood pressure medications before bedtime help with the non-dipping issue. This reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke by normalizing your daily blood pressure rhythm. Specifically, it has been reported that drugs called ACE inhibitors and ARBs are the most effective when taken at bedtime.
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Other Tips For Accurate Readings
“The exercise of walking around can raise blood pressure, so you should always rest for about five minutes before taking your blood pressure,” says Dr. Kotwal. “Sit in a chair and keep both feet on the ground. Avoid crossing your legs.”
The AHA says don’t smoke, drink caffeine or exercise for 30 minutes before a blood pressure check. When taking your blood pressure, you should sit in a chair with your back supported. It doesn’t matter which arm you use to take your blood pressure. If your monitor doesn’t have a built-in recorder, make sure to write down your readings so you can share them with your doctor.
Other tips, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , for taking your blood pressure include:
- Don’t let your arm hang down, as this canincrease pressure. Support your arm on a table so that your arm is level withyour heart.
- Empty your bladder before you sit down fora blood pressure check.
- Make sure the blood pressure cuff isplaced over your bare arm, not over a shirtsleeve.
- Take two or more readings spaced about oneto two minutes apart to get the most accurate results.
Ask your doctor what the normal range should be for your blood pressure. Don’t worry if you have an occasional high reading, but let your doctor know if you’re getting readings that are consistently higher than normal â high blood pressure usually has no symptoms.
What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing on the walls of your arteries. Your BP results are written as 2 numbers. The first, or top, number is called systolic BP. This is the pressure caused by your heart pushing blood out to your body. The second, or bottom, number is called diastolic BP. This is the pressure when your heart relaxes and fills back up with blood. Ask your healthcare provider what your BP should be. For most people, a good BP goal is less than 120/80.
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You And Your Medicines
Important information about your medicines:
- Know the name of each medicine you take.
- Carry a list of medicines with you.
- Know how and when to take each medicine.
- Know what side effects to report to your doctor or nurse.
- Tell your doctor or nurse about all of the vitamins, herbs, supplements and pills you take.
- Never stop taking a medicine without calling your doctor or nurse.
Blood Pressure Differences Between Arms
Finding blood pressure differences between arms can be a sign of atherosclerosis, which is basically plaque buildup in arteries. Finding a difference in pressure between sides of the body tells doctors that they need to investigate further to see if atherosclerosis is in the main blood vessel leaving the heart or in other parts of the body.
One study published in the medical journal The Lancet stated that a blood pressure difference of 10 to 15 points between arms increases the risk of dying from heart disease or a stroke.
A small difference in blood pressure between arms is nothing to panic about. A large difference could signal health problems that include not only plaque buildup, but also kidney disease, diabetes, and heart defects.
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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.
What Exactly Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is pretty much what it sounds like: a measure of the pressure of your blood in your circulatory system.
It consists of two numbers. The top number indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when your heart beats, according to the American Heart Association . The bottom number measures the pressure against your artery walls while your heart is resting between beats.
Taken together, these numbers give your doctor a sense of how hard your heart is working and the overall health of your arteries.
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How Often You Should Replace Your Blood Pressure Monitor
Since the new blood pressure guidelines were released, more and more medical experts are recommending to measure your blood pressure at home. If you are using a home monitor I give you a high five. Monitoring your blood pressure at home has so many benefits . To make the most of those benefits, the accuracy of your monitor is extremely important and knowing when to replace your monitor is crucial.
How often should you replace your blood pressure monitor? You should replace your home blood pressure monitor when its no longer accurate. The accuracy can be checked at your physicians office. While some people have been using their machines for 10-12 years, the company warranty typically is 2-3 years.
This article will inform you how to make sure your monitor is and stays accurate. In addition, Ill let you know how to get your home monitor calibrated when its no longer accurate or if you should buy a new machine.
Every new blood pressure monitor comes with a warranty, Ill inform you how long they are and typically whats covered. Its also possible youre getting false blood pressure readings with an accurate monitor, preventing these mistakes can save you many headaches and frustrations.