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When To Go To Hospital For Blood Pressure

What Do Your Blood Pressure Numbers Mean

Taking a Blood Pressure Reading with the Welch Allyn Connex® Vital Signs Monitor

Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood against the walls of your arteries. Blood pressure readings include two numbers. The first number is the systolic pressure . This is the force of blood on the artery walls as your heart pumps. The second number is the diastolic pressure . This is the force of blood on the artery walls between heartbeats.

If the top number stays high, or the bottom number stays high, or both, that means you have high blood pressure . It’s normal for blood pressure to go up and down throughout the day. Your doctor will give you a goal for your blood pressure.

If You Need Two Medications

Many types of blood pressure drugs work best when taken together. When taking two drugs together, diuretics have been shown to lower blood pressure with a beta-blocker, ACE inhibitor and an ARB. A calcium channel blocker lowers blood pressure with the same drugs that work well with a diuretic. Other drug combinations are necessary when taking three or more blood pressure medications. There may be other reasons why your doctor may prescribe two blood pressure medications. For example, after heart attacks, doctors will prescribe a beta-blocker and an ACE inhibitor, but this is not primarily to reduce blood pressure.

High Blood Pressure May Accelerate Bone Aging

Research Highlights:

  • A new study in mice found that hypertension may be linked to significant bone loss.

  • Bone quality in young mice with high blood pressure was similar to the bones of older mice without high blood pressure, suggesting that the effects of hypertension on bone quality, which includes strength, may mimic that of aging.

  • The researchers suggest early detection and treatment of high blood pressure may help to deter loss of bone quality as people age.

Embargoed until 6 a.m. PT/8 a.m. CT/9 a.m. ET Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022

– September 07, 2022 – SAN DIEGO When high blood pressure was induced in young mice, they had bone loss and osteoporosis-related bone damage comparable to older mice, according to new research presented today at the American Heart Association’s Hypertension Scientific Sessions 2022 conference, held Sept. 7-10, 2022, in San Diego. The meeting is the premier scientific exchange focused on recent advances in basic and clinical research on high blood pressure and its relationship to cardiac and kidney disease, stroke, obesity and genetics.

High blood pressure and osteoporosis are prevalent diseases, and people may have both at the same time. In this study, researchers examined inflammation associated with high blood pressure in mice and found it may be connected to osteoporosis.

“Failure force translates into weaker bones. In the spine, bone weakness can lead to vertebral fractures later in life,” Hennen said.

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When Is Blood Pressure High Enough To Go To The Hospital

Due to the health risk of hypertension, hence, the question, when is blood pressure high enough to go to the hospital? Basically, many people usually develop high blood pressure in their lifetime. Most times people who fall victim of HBP, often are not aware until they go for check-ups.

More so, hypertension can be defined as a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg or above. It is known as the primary risk factor for heart attack and stroke. In addition, it creates an opening for other serious conditions, such as kidney failure, blood vessel damage, vision loss, and dementia.

However, these health hazards do not suddenly appear as blood pressure readings cross the 140/90 mm Hg threshold. Instead, the risks of heart disease and other complications come up as the numbers increases.

When Low Blood Pressure Is An Emergency

High Blood Pressure: When To Seek Emergency Care

If you frequently experience symptoms of low blood pressure, such as dizziness or fainting spells, you should consult a doctor. While low blood pressure, itself, usually isnât fatal, there are serious medical situations where it is considered an emergency, and you should go to the hospital.

âThe likelihood of dying from low blood pressure is low unless it is related to another disease process,â Weinberg says.

For example, a blood infection, or , can result in low blood pressure. Sepsis occurs when the chemicals released by the body to fight an infection trigger widespread inflammation, resulting in blood clotting that reduces blood flow to vital organs, such as your heart, kidneys, and brain. This can progress to septic shock and very low blood pressure, which may be fatal, and should be treated immediately.

Low blood pressure can also be affiliated with Addisonâs disease a disorder in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol, a hormone that helps your body respond to stress. Lack of cortisol production can cause addisonian crisis, which is characterized by low blood pressure and can be fatal without proper treatment.

The treatment for low blood pressure varies depending on the cause. In severe cases, someone might need intravenous therapy to deliver fluids into the veins and raise blood pressure. In critical situations, such as septic shock, doctors may use drug therapies either orally or through an IV to quickly raise blood pressure.

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Having A Blood Pressure Test

A stethoscope, arm cuff, pump and dial was normally used to measure your blood pressure, but automatic devices with sensors and digital displays are commonly used nowadays.

It’s best to sit down with your back supported and legs uncrossed for at least 5 minutes before the test.

You’ll usually need to roll up your sleeves or remove any long-sleeved clothing so the cuff can be placed around your upper arm.

Try to relax and avoid talking while the test is carried out.

During the test:

  • you hold out one of your arms so it’s at the same level as your heart, and the cuff is placed around it your arm should be supported in this position with a cushion or the arm of a chair, for example
  • the cuff is pumped up to restrict the blood flow in your arm this squeezing may feel a bit uncomfortable, but only lasts a few seconds
  • the pressure in the cuff is slowly released and detectors sense vibrations in your arteries a doctor will use a stethoscope to detect these if your blood pressure is measured manually
  • the pressure in the cuff is recorded at 2 points as the blood flow starts to return to your arm these measurements are used to give your blood pressure reading

You can usually find out your result straight away, either from the healthcare professional carrying out the test or on the digital display.

Understanding Your Blood Pressure Reading

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury and is given as 2 figures:

  • systolic pressure the pressure when your heart pushes blood out
  • diastolic pressure the pressure when your heart rests between beats

For example, if your blood pressure is “140 over 90”, or 140/90mmHg, it means you have a systolic pressure of 140mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 90mmHg.

As a general guide:

  • high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80
  • ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg, while the target for over-80s is below 150/90mmHg

Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.

Page last reviewed: 23 October 2019 Next review due: 23 October 2022

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Where To Get A Blood Pressure Test

You can ask for a blood pressure check. You do not have to wait to be offered one.

  • at your GP surgery by a GP, practice nurse, healthcare assistant or self-service machine
  • at some pharmacies
  • at an NHS Health Check appointment offered to adults aged 40 to 74 in England
  • in some workplaces

You can also test your blood pressure at home using a home testing kit.

What Should I Do If I Have High Blood Pressure Before During Or After Pregnancy

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) and It’s Management

Before Pregnancy

  • Make a plan for pregnancy and talk with your doctor or health care team about the following:
  • Any health problems you have or had and any medicines you are taking. If you are planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor.7 Your doctor or health care team can help you find medicines that are safe to take during pregnancy.
  • Ways to keep a healthy weight through healthy eating and regular physical activity.1,7

During Pregnancy

  • Get early and regular prenatal careexternal icon. Go to every appointment with your doctor or health care professional.
  • Talk to your doctor about any medicines you take and which ones are safe. Do not stop or start taking any type of medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, without first talking with your doctor.7
  • Keep track of your blood pressure at home with a home blood pressure monitorexternal icon. Contact your doctor if your blood pressure is higher than usual or if you have symptoms of preeclampsia. Talk to your doctor or insurance company about getting a home monitor.
  • Continue to choose healthy foods and keep a healthy weight.8

After Pregnancy

  • Pay attention to how you feel after you give birth. If you had high blood pressure during pregnancy, you have a higher risk for stroke and other problems after delivery. Tell your doctor or call 9-1-1 right away if you have symptoms of preeclampsia after delivery. You might need emergency medical care.9,10

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High Blood Pressure Medical Emergencies For Children

Children have a different normal blood pressure range than adults. For children, normal blood pressure depends on their age, weight, and height. However, a blood pressure reading of 180/120mm Hg in children is also a medical emergency.

Factors like obesity, inactivity, and poor nutrition cause high blood pressure in children. Implementing lifestyle changes like enhanced physical activity and a diet low in sodium can help prevent blood pressure issues.

Diagnosing hypertension emergencies in children

The oscillometer is a device that is ideal for recording blood pressure readings after short intervals. Most doctors use this device to diagnose high blood pressure in children.

The doctor can also conduct intra-arterial blood pressure monitoring for more accurate results. They will also assess the medical history by asking vital questions such as:

  • Whether the child is taking any drugs

  • The existing symptoms

  • Whether the child has any underlying medical conditions

In addition, they’ll do a comprehensive physical examination, including blood and urine tests for a conclusive diagnosis. These tests are mainly to evaluate the possibility of organ damage.

Some advanced tests your doctor may perform on your child to detect organ damage include:

  • Computed tomography

High Blood Pressure And Daily Activity

Check with your doctor before starting a new activity or increasing your level or intensity. Be active safely. Build up your levels of activity gradually.

Try to do at least 30 to 45 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. This can be done in bouts of 10 minutes or longer, if that is more convenient.

Physical activity is any form of bodily movement performed by our large muscle groups. Moderate-intensity physical activity , such as brisk walking or cycling, is enough to provide health benefits.

Walking is a great activity for all ages. You may like to join one of the Heart Foundations community walking groups.

Some types of exercises, such as body presses and lifting heavy weights, can raise your blood pressure. Avoid these if you have high blood pressure.

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Measuring Ambulatory Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can also be diagnosed through a special device called an ambulatory blood pressure monitor. A doctor, nurse or pharmacist will get you to wear the device for a full day. The device measures blood pressure every 20 to 30 minutes and gives the doctor an average of your blood pressures during the day and while you are sleeping. These devices are not available everywhere and can be uncomfortable to wear.

When To Call Your Doctor About High Blood Pressure

Measuring Blood Pressure In The Hospital. Stock Image

Hypertension symptoms? Often there aren’t any. High blood pressure is often called the “silent” disease, because it may have no noticeable symptoms.

If undetected and untreated, hypertension can cause heart disease , stroke, and kidney disease. That’s why it is important to have regular physical examinations to make sure your blood pressure is within the normal range. This is especially important if your blood pressure has ever been high, if you have a family history of hypertension, or if you are gaining weight.

If you are being treated for high blood pressure, your doctor can answer any questions or concerns you may have during your regular visits. However, there may be situations that warrant a call to your doctor. For example:

  • If you aren’t responding to the treatment your doctor prescribed and your blood pressure is still high
  • If you have certain symptoms, including fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, headache, excessive sweating, palpitations or irregular heart beats, problems with your vision, or confusion these may be serious and should warrant prompt medical attention. They could be from uncontrolled high blood pressure or from medication side effects.

If you have any concerns about your condition, don’t hesitate to call your doctor.

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What Causes Spikes In Blood Pressure

A hypertensive crisis could be triggered by many different things. Some of the more common catalysts are: missing a blood pressure medication dosage, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure or artery rupture. You can tell from this list that some issues will be much more critical as far as organ damage, so it is imperative to get to the ER for help, he says.

Why Do Care So Much About Blood Pressure

At the end of the day, our blood vessels are the critical plumbing system of the body that keeps blood flowing to all our organs. We will spare you a trip back to physics class, but some of you may remember how the resistance in a pipe affects how effectively fluid can flow through those pipes. A blood pressure that is too high or too low will affect how well our vessels can deliver blood to the rest of our body.

Most patients are familiar with the way chronically elevated blood pressure can be detrimental to our health. Our critical organs are all affected when our blood pressure is persistently elevated over time. This can lead to a spectrum of diseases coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, stroke, kidney disease the list goes on. This is why doctors want to pay close attention to helping their patients maintain a healthy range of blood pressures.

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Learning To Cope With Stress Can Help

Stress and hypertension have often been linked, but researchers are still looking into a direct relationship between the two. Still, the best advice to hypertensive patients: Try to relax.

When you are stressed, your body sends stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream. These hormones create a temporary spike in blood pressure, causing your heart to beat faster and blood vessels to narrow. When the stressful situation is over, blood pressure goes back to its normal level.

Chronic stress, however, may cause your body to stay in this highly-charged state longer than natural.

While stress itself may or may not affect blood pressure, how you cope with stress does. For instance, overeating, smoking and drinking alcohol in response to stressful situations are direct causes of sustained high blood pressure. On the flip side, healthier coping mechanisms like exercising, practicing yoga and meditating can all help lower blood pressure.

So What Causes Our Blood Pressure To Be Elevated

Blood Pressure – Boys Town National Research Hospital

Our blood pressure can rise transiently in response to a specific situation, or can be elevated more chronically secondary to certain diseases, diet, lifestyle, even aging. The latter is more important for long term health.

Temporary elevations in blood pressure can result from stressful life circumstances such as pain, an argument with a friend, pressure on the job, grief or depression, waiting for your coffee at Starbucks. You get the picture. This is normal, expected, and a part of life.

More sustained elevations in blood pressure can result from chronic conditions such as aging , a diet high in salt , a diet high in cholesterol , hormonal changes, diseases of the brain or kidney the list goes on. It is this long term hypertension, however, that can lead to disease.

The take-home point for our patients here is that, while we cant always control the day to day circumstances that lead to fluctuations in our blood pressure, the main goal is a relatively well-controlled blood pressure over time. It is also important to point out that as we age, and our blood vessels naturally get stiffer, it is normal to have a gradually increasing baseline pressure over time. In other words, healthy blood pressure for a 20-year-old is not the same number as healthy blood pressure for a 70-year-old, and so a healthy range is relative to the patient and their chronic medical conditions.

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What Kind Of Organ Damage Might Occur From A Hypertensive Crisis

The heart can be damaged, the kidneys may fail, the aorta may be compromised, the eyes could be damaged, there could be fluid in the lungs and even memory loss, says Dr. Meier. Thats why its so important to get fast medical intervention to try to minimize the damage of the hypertensive crisis.


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