How Can You Manage Your High Blood Pressure
Treatment of high blood pressure often starts with lifestyle changes, including decreasing salt in your diet, losing weight if necessary, stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol use, and regular exercise.
In addition to lifestyle changes, medications are often used to lower blood pressure. There are several types of medications that treat high blood pressure with each type of medication having benefits and risks that should be carefully weighed by you and your health care provider. Most people take more than one medication in order to bring their blood pressure down to their treatment goal.
Your blood pressure medication should begin to work within days. However, because high blood pressure is a long-lasting medical condition that often has little or no symptoms, remembering to take your medications can be a challenge. Combination medicines, long-acting or once-a-day medications, may be used to decrease the burden of taking numerous medications and help ensure medications regularly. Once started, the medication should be used until your doctor tells you to stop.
Controlling your blood pressure should be part of a healthy living plan and lifelong task. The damage that high blood pressure causes your internal organs does not cause any symptoms until serious damage has been done.
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.
What Should I Do If I Have High Blood Pressure Before During Or After 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
- 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
- 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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Can You Prevent High Blood Pressure
Lifestyle changes do have an impact on blood pressure. One of the best ways to control your blood pressure is to exercise. Its not surprising that aerobic exercise reduces blood pressure but a number of studies show resistance exercise does too. Exercise also helps with weight control. As you probably already know, obesity is a risk factor for hypertension.
Research also shows a DASH diet helps with blood pressure control. The DASH diet is similar to the Mediterranean diet. It emphasizes whole grains, fruits, fish, seeds, nuts, vegetables, and low-fat dairy. Youll also read about the importance of reducing the amount of sodium in your diet. Not everyone has a blood pressure thats impacted by dietary sodium but its still a good idea to cut back. Reducing stress using techniques such as meditation, yoga or deep breathing can also be helpful.
Certain foods also improve the way blood vessels function by helping them expand more easily. Some of these foods include dark chocolate, nuts, and garlic. Its also a good idea to cut back on caffeine if youve had a high blood pressure reading.
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:
Don’t Be Too Concerned
High blood pressure spikes can be a concern in those with heart disease, but are generally harmless in those without. Still, you never want to deal with too much high blood pressure. Hypertension can put stress on your heart and possibly damage your blood vessels. That’s why even though there isn’t necessarily any danger to experiencing these blood pressure spikes, you should still make reducing your anxiety a priority.
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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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When To Worry About Your Blood Pressure
130/80 is the new high blood pressure threshold. What should your personal blood pressure goal be and when should you worry?
If youve been following the news, you know that theres some hype about the new blood pressure guidelines that were just released by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association . Under their new, more stringent guidelines, a significantly greater number of people will be diagnosed with hypertension than before. According to the New York Times, the number of men under age 45 who will be diagnosed will now triple and for women double.
Regular Blood Pressure Checks For Over Over 40’s
The only way to find out whether you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Ask your GP when you are next due for yours to be checked.
Blood pressure checks are usually available on request at most GP surgeries and health clinics. Some surgeries have home monitoring devices available, which you may be able to use at the time of blood pressure medication start up or change. Many also have a policy of arranging regular checks for you.
Adults who are over 40 and have not been diagnosed with high blood pressure should have their blood pressure checked at least once every five years. However, your blood pressure should ideally be checked more frequently, particularly if you have any contributory risk factors.
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What Are High Blood Pressure Complications During Pregnancy
Complications from high blood pressure for the mother and infant can include the following:
- For the mother:preeclampsiaexternal icon, eclampsiaexternal icon, stroke, the need for labor induction , and placental abruption .1,4,5
- For the baby:preterm delivery and low birth weight .1,6 The mothers high blood pressure makes it more difficult for the baby to get enough oxygen and nutrients to grow, so the mother may have to deliver the baby early.
Discuss blood pressure problems with your health care team before, during, and after pregnancy.
Anxiety Causes Low Blood Pressure
What you may not know is that some forms of anxiety can cause low blood pressure as well. During periods of anxiety attacks, a person may start to hyperventilate. Hyperventilation occurs when the body gets too much oxygen through either fast breathing or taking breaths that are too deep.
Hyperventilation is known to cause drops in blood pressure that can lead to feelings of lightheadedness and dizziness. So while high blood pressure is more common during anxiety, low blood pressure may occur as well.
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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.
What Are Possible Complications Of High Blood Pressure In Pregnancy
High blood pressure taxes the blood vessels, which in turn decreases blood flow to the liver, kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, uterus and placenta. When gestational hypertension isnt under control and the placenta isnt getting enough blood, fewer nutrients and oxygen make it to your baby, which can slow fetal growth.
And if gestational hypertension morphs into preeclampsia, premature delivery or placental abruption can occur, which is the too-early separation of the placenta from the uterus. In the worst of cases, stillbirth and eclampsia are possible. Untreated very high blood pressure can also lead to stroke.
Should You Worry About A Single High Blood Pressure Reading
Should You Worry About a Single High Blood Pressure Reading?
What are the two things they almost always do when you visit your family doctor? They weigh you and check your blood pressure. You may not want to know what your weight is, especially if you ate too much the night before, but youre probably eager to know what your blood pressure is. After all, thats not something you check on a routine basis. Of course, youll be relieved if they tell you its normal but what if they tell you its high? Should you worry about a single, high blood pressure reading?
When Should You Call Your Doctor
One high or low blood pressure reading by itself may not mean you need to call for help. If you take your blood pressure and it is out of the normal range, wait a few minutes and take it again. If it’s still high or low, use the following guidance.
anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
- You passed out .
or seek immediate medical care if:
- Your blood pressure is much higher than normal .
- You think high blood pressure is causing symptoms such as:
- Severe headache.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
- Your blood pressure measures higher than your doctor recommends at least 2 times. That means the top number is higher or the bottom number is higher, or both.
- You think you may be having side effects from your blood pressure medicine.
What Is High Blood Pressure And Who Should Care
High blood pressure is common in the United States. In 2019, the American Heart Association reported that nearly half of all American adults have high blood pressure.
But what is high blood pressure? And who needs to be aware of it? High blood pressure is when the pressure in your blood vessels is frequently higher than normal. It tends to run in families. Depending on the cause it can affect people of any age, but its more common in older folks. Its also more common in people:
Who are black
Here well explain some symptoms of HBP, when to get medical help, and what you can do to monitor your own blood pressure and stay healthy.
Can Stress Cause Subconjunctival Hemorrhage
The straining associated with vomiting, coughing, or sneezing can also sometimes lead to subconjunctival hemorrhage. Stress is not a recognized cause of subconjunctival hemorrhage. The good news is, if you had a conjunctival hemorrhage, these are only cosmetically annoying but go away and do not endanger the vision.
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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.
Treatment Of High Blood Pressure
Treatment for HBP depends on its severity and associated risks of developing other diseases. Treatment options include:
- Make and keep appointments to see your doctor for routine check-ups and follow-up tests.
- ACE inhibitors will help blood vessels relax and open up, leading to a lower blood pressure.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers will help blood vessels open up, leading to a lower blood pressure.
- Beta blockers will help reduce your blood pressure.
- Alpha blockers will help reduce the arteries resistance, relaxing the muscle tone of the vascular walls.
- Alpha-2 receptor agonists will help reduce blood pressure by decreasing the activity of the sympathetic portion of the involuntary nervous system.
- Calcium channel blockers will help relax and open up narrowed blood vessels, reduce heart rate and lower blood pressure.
- Combined alpha and beta blockers are used as an IV drip for those patients experiencing a hypertensive crisis.
- Central agonists will help decrease the blood vessels ability to tense up or contract.
- Diuretics water pills will help reduce the amount of fluid retention in your body.
- Peripheral adrenergic inhibitors will help reduce blood pressure by blocking neurotransmitters in the brain.
- Vasodilators will help the muscle in the walls of the blood vessels to relax, allowing the vessel to dilate.
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How Does Blood Pressure Work
Blood pressure is the force against blood vessel walls as the heart pumps blood. When the heart squeezes and pushes blood into the vessels, blood pressure goes up. It comes down when the heart relaxes.
Blood pressure changes from minute to minute. It’s affected by activity and rest, body temperature, diet, emotions, posture, and medicines.
Risks Of High Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes.
Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, such as:
- have a relative with high blood pressure
- are of black African or black Caribbean descent
- live in a deprived area
Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high.
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Primary High Blood Pressure
While the specific cause of primary high blood pressure remains unknown, there is compelling evidence to suggest that a number of risk factors increase your chances of developing the condition.
These risk factors include:
- age – the risk of developing high blood pressure increases as you get older
- a family history of high blood pressure – the condition seems to run in families
- being of Afro-Caribbean or South Asian origin
- high-fat diet
- high amount of salt in your diet
- lack of exercise
- excessive alcohol consumption
A number of health conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease, have also been linked to an increase risk of developing primary high blood pressure.
How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed
High blood pressure is diagnosed with a blood pressure monitor. This is a common test for all doctor visits. A nurse will place a band around your arm. The band is attached to a small pump and a meter. He or she will squeeze the pump. It will feel tight around your arm. Then he or she will stop and watch the meter. This provides the nurse with 2 numbers that make up your blood pressure. The top number is your systolic reading . The bottom number is your diastolic reading . You may also hear the doctor or nurse say a blood pressure is 120 over 80.
- Normal blood pressure is less than 120 on top and less than 80 on the bottom.
- Prehypertension levels are 120-139 on top and 80-89 on the bottom.
- High blood pressure, stage 1 is 140-159 on top and 90-99 on the bottom.
- High blood pressure, stage 2 is 160 or higher on top and 100 and over on the bottom.
The higher your blood pressure is, the more often you need to have it checked. After age 18, have your blood pressure checked at least once every two years. Do it more often if you have had high blood pressure in the past.