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Where Can You Get Your Blood Pressure Checked

Regular Blood Pressure Checks

In Their Own Words: Why You Should Get Your Blood Pressure Checked

All adults should have their blood pressure checked regularly.footnote 2

Your doctor can let you know how often you should get your blood pressure checked. It may depend on what your blood pressure is and your risk for heart disease. You can get your blood pressure checked during any routine medical visit.

The automated devices you find in grocery stores or drugstores may not be accurate. Having your blood pressure checked at the doctor’s office is best.

A home blood pressure monitor makes it easy to keep track of your blood pressure. It’s a good idea to bring your home monitor to the doctor’s office to check its accuracy.

How Can I Control My Blood Pressure

You can often lower your blood pressure by changing your day-to-day habits and by taking medication if needed. Treatment, especially if you have other medical conditions such as diabetes, requires ongoing evaluation and discussions with your doctor.

Lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent and lower high blood pressure:

In addition to recommending lifestyle changes, your doctor will likely prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure to a safe level. Isolated systolic hypertension, the most common form of high blood pressure in older adults, is treated in the same way as regular high blood pressure but may require more than one type of blood pressure medication. You may try several kinds or combinations of medications before finding a plan that works best for you. Medication can control your blood pressure, but it can’t cure it. If your doctor starts you on medication for high blood pressure, you may need to take it long-term.

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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About Heart And Vascular Institute

The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute has long been a leader in cardiovascular care, with a rich history in clinical research and innovation. As one of the first heart transplant centers in the country and as the developer of one of the first heart-assist devices, UPMC has contributed to advancing the field of cardiovascular medicine.


Understanding Your Blood Pressure Numbers

American Heart Assoc on Twitter: " An accurate blood ...

Blood pressure is reported with two numbers, one written over the other. The top number, systolic blood pressure, reflects the amount of pressure in your arteries when your heart squeezes to pump blood. The bottom number, diastolic blood pressure, reflects the amount of pressure in your arteries when your heart relaxes between heartbeats.

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What Is Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries every time your heart beats. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart contracts, pumping the blood through your arteries. This is called systolic pressure. Your blood pressure is lowest when your heart is at rest, between beats. This is diastolic pressure.

Your blood pressure reading uses these two numbers, the systolic and diastolic pressures. Usually they are written one above or before the other:

  • 119 /79 or lower = normal blood pressure
  • 120-139 for the top number, or 80-89 for the bottom number = pre-hypertension
  • 140/90 or higher = high blood pressure

High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, except occasional headaches. It can cause serious problems such as stroke, heart failure, heart attack and kidney failure. You can control high blood pressure through healthy lifestyle habits and medication, if needed. A diagnosis of hypertension can only be made after a number of high blood pressure readings.

Treating High Blood Pressure With Lifestyle Changes

Your doctor may suggest that you make one or more of the following changes:

  • Lose weight. If you’re overweight, losing extra kilograms may bring your blood pressure down.
  • Get more active. Regular aerobic exercise can help lower blood pressure.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking increases your risk for heart attack and stroke.
  • Cut back on drinking. Limit alcohol to 2 drinks a day and no more than 14 drinks a week for men and 9 drinks a week for women.
  • Eat less sodium. To help lower blood pressure, try to eat less than 2,000 mg a day.footnote 2
  • Follow theDASH diet. The DASH eating plan can help you lower your blood pressure.

For tips on how to do these things, see the Living With High Blood Pressure section of this topic.

One Woman’s Story:

Izzy, 60

“I could never have imagined I could get down so low by losing weight. I feel sure it was the WAY I lost weight, with DASH.”Izzy

Read more about Izzy and how she uses the DASH eating plan.

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What Do The Results Mean

The results from your screening are presented using two numbers, which appear as one over the other. These measure two types of pressure:

  • The pressure in your arteries during a heartbeat
  • The pressure when your heart is resting between beats.
  • If your blood pressure is 140/90 or more then you have high blood pressure. Normal blood pressure sits around 120/80 or lower. 90/60 is too low a blood pressure.

    Some peoples blood pressure sits between normal and high. This is also known as elevated blood pressure or prehypertension. For example, having a blood pressure of 130/85 means you have prehypertension.

    What Does Your Blood Pressure Reading Mean

    Is it Time to Have Your Blood Pressure Checked?

    If this is your first time taking your blood pressure, discuss the results with your doctor. Blood pressure is a very individualized vital sign reading, which means it can be very different for each person. Some people have naturally low blood pressure all the time, for example, while others may run on the higher side.

    In general, a normal blood pressure is considered anything less than 120/80. Your own personal blood pressure will depend on your gender, age, weight, and any medical conditions you have. If you do register a blood pressure reading of 120/80 or over, wait two to five minutes and recheck.

    If its still high, talk to your doctor to rule out hypertension. If your blood pressure ever goes over 180 systolic or over 120 diastolic after a repeat reading, seek emergency medical care right away.

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    How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed

    To figure out your blood pressure rate, your health care provider takes blood pressure readings at different times. You need more than 1 reading because blood pressure changes depending on what you are doing and varies during the day. For example, your blood pressure can increase when you are nervous or in a hurry.

    If your blood pressure is high while with your health care provider but normal otherwise, you may just be nervous. This effect is common. Even people already being treated for high blood pressure go through this.

    What matters is what happens to your blood pressure outside your health care providers office. If you have high blood pressure, you should use a home blood pressure monitor. Ask your health care provider how to use the monitor correctly.

    Home Blood Pressure Monitoring

    Blood pressure tests can also be carried out at home using your own digital blood pressure monitor.

    This can give a better reflection of your blood pressure, as being tested in somewhere like a GP surgery can make you feel anxious and can affect the result. It can also allow you to monitor your condition more easily in the long term.

    You can buy a variety of low-cost monitors so you can test your blood pressure at home or while you’re out and about.

    It’s important to make sure you use equipment that has been properly tested. The British Hypertension Society has information about validated blood pressure monitors you can buy.

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    How To Check Your Blood Pressure Accurately At Home

    • For the most accurate reading, take your blood pressure in the morning and in the evening.
    • Take five minutes to get relaxed before you take your blood pressure.
    • Make sure to place the cuff just above your elbow and follow the instructions on your device.
    • Visit Insider’s Health Reference library for more advice.

    About one in three US adults have high blood pressure, or hypertension. For these individuals, it’s important to monitor blood pressure closely. Fortunately, it’s easy to take blood pressure without going to the doctor each time.

    Regularly checking your blood pressure at home whether you have high blood pressure or are at a high risk for developing hypertensiuon can help catch any major changes before they become serious. Here’s how to do it.

    Do I Have High Blood Pressure

    Heart Disease &  Stroke  Chronic Disease Prevention ...

    Anyone can have high blood pressure. Some medical conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, kidney disease, and thyroid problems, can cause high blood pressure. Some people have a greater chance of having it because of things they can’t change. These are:

    • Age. The chance of having high blood pressure increases as you get older, especially isolated systolic hypertension.
    • Gender. Before age 55, men have a greater chance of having high blood pressure. Women are more likely to have high blood pressure after menopause.
    • Family history. High blood pressure tends to run in some families.
    • Race. African Americans are at increased risk for high blood pressure.

    High blood pressure often has no signs or symptoms, but routine checks of your blood pressure will help detect increasing levels. If your blood pressure reading is high at two or more check-ups, the doctor may also ask you to measure your blood pressure at home.

    There are important considerations for older adults in deciding whether to start treatment for high blood pressure if it is above 130/80, including other health conditions and overall fitness. Your doctor may work with you to find a blood pressure target that is best for your well-being and may suggest exercise, changes in your diet, and medications.

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    Ways To Improve Your Heart’s Health

    Here are some simple things you can do that may help lower your blood pressure naturally:

    • Eat more fruits and vegetables, and a small amount of dark chocolate, every day
    • Drink two to three cups of hibiscus tea every day
    • Avoid foods and drinks with caffeine
    • Take short walking breaks throughout the day at work
    • Practice a breathing technique to reduce tension
    • Keep a journal or diary to identify your major concerns and possible solutions:
      • Changing your diet to heart-healthy foods
      • Increasing how often you exercise
      • Losing and maintaining a healthy weight
      • Limiting drinking alcohol
      • Quitting smoking
      • Getting more sleep

    Managing your blood pressure is just one factor to improved heart health. Stop by Sutter Walk-In Care to have your cholesterol checked and get a physical exam, and start taking steps to a healthier heart.

    Were open 8:00 am 8:00 pm seven days a week and accept walk-ins all day. You can also call ahead to reserve a spot at 972-5547.

    What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean

    A blood pressure test measures how hard your hearts working to pump blood through your body.

    Blood pressure is measured with 2 numbers. The first number is the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The second number is the pressure in your arteries when your heart relaxes between beats.

    Compare your blood pressure to these numbers:

    • Normal blood pressure is lower than 120/80
    • High blood pressure is 130/80 or higher
    • Blood pressure thats between normal and high is called elevated blood pressure or prehypertension

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    Treating High Blood Pressure

    Fortunately, treating high blood pressure is relatively easy. And the earlier to catch it the more likely you are to reverse the effects of it.

    The type of treatment your doctor prescribes depends on a couple of things including how high your blood pressure is and what is causing it.

    For example, if your diet and lifestyle are causing your high blood pressure you may be able to remedy this by making changes to these. If you have a family history of high blood pressure a doctor may prescribe medication to help lower this.

    In some cases, your doctor will prescribe a combination of treatments to lower your blood pressure.

    High Blood Pressure And Older Adults

    Blood Pressure Measurement: How to Check Blood Pressure Manually

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    High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major health problem that is common in older adults. Your bodys network of blood vessels, known as the vascular system, changes with age. Arteries get stiffer, causing blood pressure to go up. This can be true even for people who have heart-healthy habits and feel just fine. High blood pressure, sometimes called “the silent killer,” often does not cause signs of illness that you can see or feel. Though it affects nearly half of all adults, many may not even be aware they have it.

    If high blood pressure isn’t controlled with lifestyle changes and medication, it can lead to serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease such as heart disease and stroke, vascular dementia, eye problems, and kidney disease. The good news is that blood pressure can be controlled in most people.

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    Apps To Track Blood Pressure

    Although there are apps that promise to check your blood pressure without using equipment, this isnt an accurate or reliable method.

    However, there are apps available that can help you track your blood pressure results. This can be helpful in identifying patterns in your blood pressure. Your doctor may use this information to determine if you require blood pressure medications.

    Some examples of free blood pressure-monitoring apps include:

    • Blood Pressure Monitor Family Litefor iPhone. You can enter your blood pressure, weight, and height, as well as track the medications you take.
    • Blood Pressure for Android. This app tracks your blood pressure and features several statistical and graphical analysis tools.
    • Blood Pressure Companion for iPhone. This app allows you to track your blood pressure as well as view graphs and trends on your blood pressure readings across several days or weeks.

    These apps can help you quickly and easily track your blood pressure readings. Measuring your blood pressure regularly on the same arm can help you most accurately track your blood pressure readings.

    Why Does My Blood Pressure Vary Throughout The Day

    You may have heard the term circadian rhythm. If so, you know this is not a beat to keep on the dance floor. It is a biological cycle your body follows. As defined by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, âCircadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a roughly 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment.â As your body cycles through this rhythm each day, responding to both internal and external stimuli, your blood pressure is affected.

    The study of these important rhythms, known as chronobiology, was founded by Franz Halberg. His work in this field has helped identify abnormal rhythms in day-night blood pressure readings.Keeping the Beat of Blood PressureFollowing this chronobiological rhythm, your blood pressure is normally higher during the daytime and lower at night, during sleeping hours. Hereâs the problem. People with high blood pressure often donât experience this night time dip. This lack of a lowering of blood pressure at night is referred to as non-dipping.Whatâs the big deal? Heart attack and stroke have been found to be associated with non-dipping. Your blood pressure stays elevated, and your body is not in the relaxed state it should be during rest.

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    You Have An Irregular Heartbeat

    If you have ever experienced irregular heartbeats, it’s important to monitor your blood pressure regularly. This is because high blood pressure can cause issues with the heartbeat and increase one’s risk for major medical emergencies such as stroke or cardiac arrest. You should also be sure that any doctor or medical professional who treats you for high blood pressure is aware of your history so that they can help monitor you for any signs of potential issues.

    Variations In Blood Pressure

    Doctors: Home blood pressure monitors can help

    Your blood pressure changes to meet your bodys needs. If a reading is high, your doctor may measure your blood pressure again on several separate occasions to confirm the level.

    Your doctor may also recommend that you measure your blood pressure at home or have a 24-hour recording with a monitoring device.

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    Lower Blood Pressure Is A Boon For The Brain

    Better brain health is another potential benefit of managing high blood pressure. Researchers on the SPRINT MIND study found that participants who had their systolic blood pressure controlled to 120 mm Hg had a lower incidence of mild cognitive impairment a precursor for dementia compared with participants in the standard group.

    “With all that in mind the lower rate of major adverse vascular events, the reduction in stroke, the reduction of mortality, the trend for better brain health all of this is in favor that we should be doing a better job of treating older adults with high blood pressure, Michos says.


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