Dont Ignore The Warning Signs
If theres one parting thought I can impress on you, its to never ignore heart palpitations.
No matter what age you are or how good of shape youre in, if you feel fluttering, skipping, or any other kind of irregular heartbeat, get it checked out by a cardiologist. The cause of your situation may well turn out to be nothing to worry about. But if thats not the case, the sooner you begin treatment, the better off youre going to be. This is definitely one of those instances when its better to be safe than sorry.
References and Resources
Why Is It Important To Know If You Have High Blood Pressure
Early detection of high blood pressure is very important. Often referred to as the silent killer because it may show no symptoms, high blood pressure puts you at an increased risk for heart disease, heart failure, and stroke, among other things. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, more than 360,000 deaths in the United States included high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause.
Target Your High Blood Pressure
Once you have been diagnosed with hypertension, remember that high blood pressure can be lowered. For most people, blood pressure readings should be lower than 140/90 mmHg when measured in the doctors office. At home, your blood pressure should generally be below 135/85 mmHg. For those people with diabetes or kidney disease, lower blood pressure is even more important and should be below 130/80 mmHg when measured in the doctors office.
Most people who lead healthy lifestyles do not suffer from high blood pressure. For those with hypertension, following the steps outlined above will lower their blood pressure.
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Living With Low Blood Pressure
Medicines and lifestyle changes can help you live safely with chronic low blood pressure. Your doctor can recommend steps you can take to manage your low blood pressure. These actions can help control the condition:
Drink more water. This can help avoid dehydration.
Medicines and lifestyle changes can help you live safely with chronic low blood pressure.
Avoid alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are dehydrating, and alcohol changes how medicines work in your body.
Slow down. Take your time when standing up. If lying down, sit up first. Then wiggle your feet and move your legs. This will increase circulation and get your heart rate up so that you dont feel lightheaded when you stand up.
If your medicine and lifestyle changes do not reduce your low blood pressure symptoms, talk with your doctor about other changes you can make.
Have Your Blood Pressure Measured Regularly
Have your blood pressure measured regularly and know what your blood pressure is. Remember that both numbers are important. If either the systolic or diastolic number is high , then your doctor will need to further check your blood pressure. A blood pressure measurement of less than 120/80 mmHg is very good unless it causes dizziness.
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What Are Types Of High Blood Pressure Conditions Before During And After Pregnancy
Your doctor or nurse should look for these conditions before, during, and after pregnancy:1,11
Chronic hypertension means having high blood pressure* before you get pregnant or before 20 weeks of pregnancy.1 Women who have chronic hypertension can also get preeclampsia in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.1
This condition happens when you only have high blood pressure* during pregnancy and do not have protein in your urine or other heart or kidney problems. It is typically diagnosed after 20 weeks of pregnancy or close to delivery. Gestational hypertension usually goes away after you give birth. However, some women with gestational hypertension have a higher risk of developing chronic hypertension in the future.1,12
Preeclampsia happens when a woman who previously had normal blood pressure suddenly develops high blood pressure* and protein in her urine or other problems after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Women who have chronic hypertension can also get preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia happens in about 1 in 25 pregnancies in the United States.1,13 Some women with preeclampsia can develop seizures. This is called eclampsia, which is a medical emergency.1,11
Symptoms of preeclampsia include:
Some women have no symptoms of preeclampsia, which is why it is important to visit your health care team regularly, especially during pregnancy.
You are more at risk for preeclampsia if:1
Tracking Your Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
In addition to keeping all of your prenatal care appointments so your doctor can track your blood pressure readings, you might want to turn to home blood pressure technology, which has become quite good and should be considered fairly reliable.
In fact, for women with high blood pressure concerns, a home monitor is a nice way of taking ownership of ones care and being an active participant. Ask your physician which device shed recommend and then get a quick lesson on how to use it at home.
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Heart Rate And Exercise
In discussions about high blood pressure, you will often see heart rate mentioned in relation to exercise. Your target heart rate is based on age and can help you monitor the intensity of your exercise.
- If you measure your heart rate before, during and after physical activity, youll notice it will increase over the course of the exercise.
- The greater the intensity of the exercise, the more your heart rate will increase.
- When you stop exercising, your heart rate does not immediately return to your normal heart rate.
- The more fit you are, the sooner your heart rate will return to normal.
How To Control High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is generally a treatable condition. In most of the cases, the following are recommended for controlling the high blood pressure:
- Quit smoking
- Limit alcohol and caffeine intake
- Exercise regularly and follow a healthy lifestyle
- Follow a healthy diet and limit salt intake in diet
- Reduce stress
In addition to the above, certain anti-hypertensive drugs may be prescribed by the doctor based on the condition of the patient.
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Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring
Having a raised blood pressure reading in 1 test does not necessarily mean you have high blood pressure.
Blood pressure can fluctuate throughout the day. Feeling anxious or stressed when you visit your GP can also raise your blood pressure.
If you have a high reading, you may be asked to take some readings with a 24-hour monitor that checks your blood pressure throughout the day.
This will confirm whether you have consistently high blood pressure.
It’s known as 24-hour or ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.
When Are Blood Pressure Fluctuates Within Minutes Desirable
Contrary to the popular belief, blood pressure fluctuations have very little to do with the heart health, but rather with biochemical and mechanical processes that guard the blood flow. There are several feedback sensors located in the kidneys, the adrenals, arteries, as well as the brain that work continuously to ensure that blood pressure is matching the body needs. These sensors are responsible for regulating blood flow by either managing the heart rate or by changing blood vessel tone. Either way, there will be changes to BP.
The effort to regulate BP perfectly minute to minute is of great importance to the body. It takes less than 5 minutes for brain cells to die if they are deprived of oxygen. Thus, if you detect blood pressure fluctuations within minutes, unless your sensors malfunctioned, its likely that your need for oxygen changed.
Let me give you an example. Have you seen people running, playing tennis or wresting? They were all huffing and puffing. But their gasping for air wasnt due to a suddenly developed breathing disorder. It was due to the body sensors demanding more oxygen.1
Gym is the place where BP frequently gets out of control. Weight lifters may go into a temporary hypertension while increasing their systolic number by 100 mmHg or more. But such gym-induced blood pressure spike has nothing to do with risk for hypertension. It is how the body delivers oxygen.
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Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure has no symptoms or clear signs so people may be unaware that they may have high blood pressure.Regular checkup is the only way to detect it. In case of extremely high blood pressure, people might display symptoms such as irregular heartbeat, severe headache,chest pain, fatigue,dizziness and difficulty in breathing.
Taking Your Pulse Versus Checking Your Blood Pressure
While both are indications of health, blood pressure and heart rate are two separate measurements. Learn more about the difference between blood pressure and heart rate.
Systolic is less than 120 and my diastolic is less than 80
Systolic is 120 129 and my diastolic is less than 80
The good news is that you dont have high blood pressure. However, your numbers fall within the Elevated category, making you more likely to develop high blood pressure unless you take action to control it. Ready to make some small changes that have big impacts? Healthy lifestyle choices are a great place to start.
Systolic is 130 139 or my diastolic is 80 89
You are in the first stage of hypertension, but there are actions you can take to get your blood pressure under control. Your doctor will speak to you about small changes that can make a big difference and other BP Raisers. In addition, monitoring blood pressure outside of the doctors office is important for BP control.
Systolic is 140 or higher or my diastolic is 90 or higher
Systolic is higher than 180 and/or my diastolic is higher than 120
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.
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What Is High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is defined as the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. High blood pressure also known as hypertension is a disease in which blood flows through blood vessels at a higher than normal pressure.
Blood pressure is measured with two numbers. The first, or top number, is the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats, called the systolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the higher of the two numbers. The second, or bottom number, measures the force of blood in your arteries while your heart is relaxed between beats. The bottom number is the lower of the two and is called the diastolic pressure.
Normal pressure is 120/80 or lower. Your blood pressure is considered high if it reads 130/80. Stage 2 high blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. If you get a blood pressure reading of 180/110 or higher more than once, seek medical treatment right away. A reading this high is considered hypertensive crisis.
Readings between 120/80 and 129/89 are considered pre-hypertension. People with pre-hypertension do not have blood pressure as low as it should be but are not yet considered to have high blood pressure.
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.
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Which Number Is More Important
Typically, more attention is given to systolic blood pressure as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50. In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to the increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term buildup of plaque and an increased incidence of cardiac and vascular disease.
However, either an elevated systolic or an elevated diastolic blood pressure reading may be used to make a diagnosis of high blood pressure. According to recent studies, the risk of death from ischemic heart disease and stroke doubles with every 20 mm Hg systolic or 10 mm Hg diastolic increase among people from age 40 to 89.
Its All About Lifestyle Change
If youve been told you have high blood pressure, dont be discouraged. You and your care provider can work through it. Often lifestyle changes can make a big difference. You can follow this simple name: MAWDS
M Take your medication: Make you medication part of your routine, and dont stop taking medication just because your blood pressure is ok. It probably just means its working!
A Stay active each day: shoot for 30 minutes x 5 days = 150 minutes
W Manage a healthy weight: Make changes to your diet and activity level even a small amount will help!
D Eat a healthy diet: Start by adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
S Stop smoking and manage stress.
You have more control over high blood pressure than you think. Work with your care provider to find a nutrition, exercise, and care plan that will work for you – then reap the rewards of healthy living.
Taking care of your heart now can help prevent heart disease and high blood pressure. to guide you through the things you can do to keep your heart healthy and prevent high blood pressure.
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Should I Worry About High Blood Pressure
Surely high blood pressure is something only old people need to think about? Not according to a new study the ill-effects begin when people are in their 20s
Do you worry about high blood pressure? Of course not. Thats for old people. The whole point of being young is to drink and eat what you want and not worry. When you get to 30, then youll start being healthy. But it seems even 30 may be too late to prevent your arteries getting narrowed and damaged. A study in this months Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that young adults who continually had blood pressure at the high end of the normal range were more likely to show signs of heart problems in middle age. The researchers, from Johns Hopkins University in the US, followed 2,479 men and women whose ages ranged from 18 to 30, over 25 years. They measured their blood pressure, and used speckle tracking echocardiography to look for heart damage.
Diagnosis Of High Blood Pressure
The best way to diagnose HBP is to have it measured. A blood pressure reading, given in millimeters of mercury , has two numbers.
- Systolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls during heartbeats.
- Diastolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
Blood pressure measurements fall into four general categories. The American Heart Associations guidelines are as follow:
- Normal blood pressure: A reading of less than 120 and 80
- Elevated blood pressure: A reading ranging from 120 to 129 and below 80
- Stage 1 hypertension: A reading ranging from 130 to 139 or 80 to 89
- Stage 2 hypertension: A reading ranging from 140 or higher or 90
- Hypertensive crisis : A reading higher than 180 and/or 120
*If you have an electronic blood pressure machine and would like to measure your blood pressure at home, please follow The American Heart Associations guidelines:
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How Do I Lower My Blood Pressure
The steps to lower your blood pressure aren’t as painful as you may be thinking. If you smoke, you’ll need to stop. Otherwise, lowering your blood pressure is as easy as the “more of this, less of that” approach you’re used to hearing about, including:
- Maintaining a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, a loss of as few as 10 pounds can lower your blood pressure.
- Consuming low levels of salt. Keep your salt intake under 1,500 mg/day.
- Getting plenty of exercise. Try to exercise for at least 90 minutes every week.
- Limiting alcohol. Keep your alcohol intake to one drink per day if you’re a woman, or two drinks per day if you’re a man.
- Eating healthy. Aim for a diet low in saturated and trans fats and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
“Not only may young people be tempted to brush off their elevated or high blood pressure,” says Dr. Nasir, “but they are less likely to be diagnosed by doctors during their office visits. Apart from taking steps now to reduce risk factors down the road, its important to discuss with your doctor if your blood pressure is consistently high.”
This article was updated on June 2, 2021 to reflect how the COVID-19 pandemic impacts a person’s everyday health and wellness.
Secondary High Blood Pressure
Some cases of high blood pressure are the result of underlying factors or cause and this is known as secondary high blood pressure.
Underlying factors include:
- kidney conditions, such as a kidney infection, or kidney disease
- narrowing of the arteries
- hormonal conditions, such as Cushing’s syndrome
- conditions that affect the bodys tissue, such as lupus
- medication, such as the oral contraceptive pill, or the type of painkillers that are known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen
- recreational drugs, such as cocaine, amphetamines and crystal meth
Occasionally, a rise in blood pressure can result from taking herbal remedies, such as herbal supplements.
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