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When To Be Concerned About Blood Pressure

Average Ranges Show Normal Pressure On The Arteries

TOP 10 Blood Pressure Symptoms to be CONCERNED About | Is High Blood Pressure Dangerous?

Blood pressure measures the force pressed against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood through your body.

Average blood pressure differs by sex and tends to rise with age. It’s important to know how blood pressure affects your health.

This article covers how healthcare providers differentiate between “normal” blood pressure and hypertension and includes blood pressure charts by age and gender. It will also discuss the health risks involved with hypertension, how you can monitor your blood pressure, and when you should call your healthcare provider.

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:

  • 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.

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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    When Does Low Blood Pressure Become Dangerous

    The big concern with being dizzy, feeling faint, or having blurred vision due to low blood pressure is that you could fall.

    Fracture your hip or spine, and you wont be able to move around easily or enjoy your independenceand that can harm your quality of life. If you experience lightheadedness, dizziness, or any of the symptoms above, sit down right away. Then bring your feet above heart level.

    Its all about gravity, Dr. Mehta explains. When youre standing, your head is on top, and the blood pools down to the legs. Elevating your legs brings the blood back to your core and brain.

    While youre resting, ask someone to bring you a glass of water, in case dehydration was the reason your blood pressure dropped.

    After you feel better, contact your physicians office, and let them know what happened, Dr. Mehta says.

    Important: Sometimes very low blood pressure can lead to shock, which means your body isnt getting enough oxygen and nutrients to work properly. The symptoms of shock include:

    If you have any of these symptoms, call 911 right away. Shock can be life-threatening.

    What Can I Do To Prevent Or Manage High Blood Pressure

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    Many people with high blood pressure can lower their blood pressure into a healthy range or keep their numbers in a healthy range by making lifestyle changes. Talk with your health care team about

    • Getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week
    • Not smoking
    • Managing stress

    Learn more about ways to manage and prevent high blood pressure.

    In addition to making positive lifestyle changes, some people with high blood pressure need to take medicine to manage their blood pressure. Learn more about medicines for high blood pressure.

    Talk with your health care team right away if you think you have high blood pressure or if youve been told you have high blood pressure but do not have it under control.

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    High Blood Pressure: Should You Worry

    You should be concerned if your blood pressure is going up, but remember that it’s possible to lower it with proper treatment and lifestyle changes.

    Its a common condition, and it doesnt have any symptoms: About one out of three U.S. adults has high blood pressure, or hypertension. And nearly one out of three American adults has prehypertension blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal, but not yet in the high blood pressure range which raises the risk of developing high blood pressure.

    High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease, so it’s a serious condition that we all must be more conscious of as we age. African-Americans in particular should pay careful attention to blood pressure: In one year, the overall death rate from high blood pressure was 40 percent for African-American females and 52 percent for African-American males more than for any other group.

    When Does Blood Pressure Become High Blood Pressure?

    According to guidelines followed by doctors, blood pressure is normal if it’s 120/80 or below. The range of 120/80 to 139/89, which was once classified as normal to high, is now considered to be prehypertensive.

    How Can You Lower Your High Blood Pressure?

    High blood pressure is a treatable condition. Most doctors recommend starting with these lifestyle changes to lower blood pressure:

    How Do You Handle Resistant High Blood Pressure?

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    Blood Pressure And Ageing

    With advancing years, the arteries tend to become more rigid . This may change a persons blood pressure pattern, with a higher systolic pressure and a lower diastolic pressure. The higher systolic pressure is important because it can further accelerate the rigidity of the arteries. This state is referred to as isolated systolic hypertension. Although these changes are due to ageing, this is not a normal state and may need medication to control the systolic pressures.

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    Stroke And Brain Problems

    Worried about your low blood pressure?

    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.

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    Heart Attack And Heart Disease

    High blood pressure can damage your arteries by making them less elastic, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and leads to heart disease. In addition, decreased blood flow to the heart can cause:

    • Chest pain, also called angina.
    • Heart attack, which happens when the blood supply to your heart is blocked and heart muscle begins to die without enough oxygen. The longer the blood flow is blocked, the greater the damage to the heart.
    • Heart failure, a condition that means your heart cant pump enough blood and oxygen to your other organs.

    Average Blood Pressure By Age

    As you get older, your blood vessels tend to become stiffer and plaque can build up in them, which can raise your blood pressure. If your blood pressure becomes too high, you’re at a greater risk for heart disease, strokes, and more.

    In 2015, the average blood pressure worldwide was 127/79 mm Hg in men, and 122/77 mm Hg in women, according to a study analysis published in Lancet.

    When researchers for the National Center for Health Statistics looked at average blood pressure in U.S. adults between 2001 and 2008, the average reading was 122/71 mm Hg. The breakout was 124/72 mm Hg for men, and 121/70 mm Hg in women. It rose by age and was significantly higher in Black people.

    The researchers found the following breakdown by age, sex, and race or ethnicity:

    Blood Pressure by Age

    As the population ages and life expectancy increases, high blood pressure is becoming more common.

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    The Definition For What Is Considered High Blood Pressure Has Been Tightened Heres What You Need To Know

    If you didnt have high blood pressure before, theres a good chance you do now.

    In 2017, new guidelines from the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and nine other health organizations lowered the numbers for the diagnosis of hypertension to 130/80 millimeters of mercury and higher for all adults. The previous guidelines set the threshold at 140/90 mm Hg for people younger than age 65 and 150/80 mm Hg for those ages 65 and older.

    This means 70% to 79% of men ages 55 and older are now classified as having hypertension. That includes many men whose blood pressure had previously been considered healthy. Why the change?

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    When To Call Your Doctor

    Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension): When To Be Concerned

    The risks of both high and low blood pressure make monitoring your blood pressure at home essential to your overall health and well-being. Both Dr. Wong and Dr. Desai recommend calling your healthcare provider if your self-monitored blood pressure readings are greater than 180/120 mmHgeven if you have no other symptoms.

    You should call 911 if these blood pressure readings are associated with symptoms of organ damage, such as headache, vision changes, weakness, numbness, chest pain or shortness of breath, says Dr. Wong.

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    Causes And Risk Factors

    You may be at an increased risk for high blood pressure if you smoke, areoverweight, eat a diet thats low on produce and fiber and/or high in fatand salt, drink alcohol to excess, live with chronic stress or dont getmuch physical activity. Some causes of hypertension cannot becontrolledincluding your genes and your race . Aging also plays a role. Even if you do not have hypertensionby age 55 to 65, your lifetime risk for developing it is a whopping 90percent.

    But doctors no longer consider hypertension inevitable or untreatable withage, saysSamuel Durso, M.D., director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at JohnsHopkins.

    In one Johns Hopkins study of 975 older women and men with hypertension,healthy lifestyle steps helped 40 percent stop taking blood pressuremedications. Other research has shown that lifestyle changes can lower therisk for hypertension in African-Americans and others at an increasedgenetic risk.

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    Symptoms And Causes Of Low Blood Pressure

    Many different conditions and situations can cause low blood pressure, from standing up too fast to being pregnant. Sometimes, low blood pressure is linked to an underlying problem. Thats why its important to see your doctor right away if you experience the signs of low blood pressure.

    Symptoms of low blood pressure can include:

    • Depression

    Low blood pressure can be a sign of serious heart, endocrine or neurological conditions. If left untreated, the brain and other vital organs do not get the oxygen and nutrients they need. In extreme cases, this can cause shock, a life-threatening condition.

    If you show signs of low blood pressure, your doctor will conduct an exam and may perform tests to determine whats causing the condition. Low blood pressure can occur with many other conditions.

    Some causes of low blood pressure are:

    What Can Cause Blood Pressure To Go Up Or Down

    Should I be Concerned About Systolic Hypertension?

    Its 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.

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    When To Call Your Healthcare Provider

    A hypertensive crisisdefined as blood pressure above 180/120 mm Hgrequires immediate medical attention. Call 911 if you are also experiencing symptoms such as chest pain, back pain, shortness of breath, difficulty speaking, a change in vision, weakness, or numbness.

    Hypertensive Crisis: When You Should Call 911 For High Blood Pressure

    A hypertensive crisis is when blood pressure rises quickly and severely with readings of 180/120 or greater.

    The consequences of uncontrolled blood pressure in this range can be severe and include:

    • Pulmonary edema

    An elevated reading may or may not be accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms:

    • Severe headache
    • Severe anxiety

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    How Blood Pressure Is Measured

    Blood pressure testing stations can be found in pharmacies, workplaces, and medical clinics. You can also buy a blood pressure monitor online or at your local pharmacy.

    To measure blood pressure, a cuff attached to a monitor is placed on your arm. The cuff is then inflated with an air pump until its pressure stops blood flow from your brachial arterythe major artery found in your upper arm.

    As the cuff deflates, the device measures the pressure when blood starts flowing again . Once the cuff is completely deflated, the device gauges the lowest pressure between beats .

    Typically, more attention is given to the systolic pressure reading, as systolic blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease in people over the age of 50. Still, both readings are used to make a diagnosis.

    What Will The Er Do For High Blood Pressure

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    When you arrive at the ER with high blood pressure, the first thing your physicians will do is try to bring your blood pressure down. Typically, this is done with either oral or intravenous medications. Your doctor will also assess your heart and other organs for potential damage and begin treating any complications that might have arisen. Depending on the severity of your hypertensive crisis, these damages may range from minimal to severe.

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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.

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