Common Causes Of High Blood Pressure Spikes
Some people with high blood pressure will experience sharp rises in their blood pressure. These spikes, which typically last only a short period of time, are also known as sudden high blood pressure. These are some possible causes:
- Certain medications or combinations of medications
- Chronic kidney disease
When The Problem Is Autonomic Dysfunction
In labile hypertension, blood pressure tends to spike upwards. Blood pressure that swings in both directions may be a sign of a different problem called autonomic dysfunction.
People with this problem have difficulty regulating involuntary functions such as heart rate, breathing and body temperature, in addition to blood pressure. We usually send these patients to cardiology for testing, says Dr. Lioudis.
Ask The Doctor: Why Does My Blood Pressure Rise In The Afternoon
Q. I am a 50-year-old woman with newly diagnosed high blood pressure. As diets go, mine is definitely on the healthy side. I do not exercise at a health club, but I do a lot of housecleaning and gardening, and I do walk a fair amount, which I feel is equal to what I would accomplish at a health club. I weigh 150 pounds and my height is 5 feet, 6 inches. I take Toprol-XL. My blood pressure seems to be normal in the morning, averaging 121/74, but in the afternoon the upper number is often in the 140s to 150s. Is it normal for blood pressure to rise like this as the day goes on, especially while on a medication?
A. It’s great that you are paying close attention to your blood pressure readings. Beta blockers like metoprolol are not great medications for lowering blood pressure when used all by themselves. So, as the day goes on, and you eat and exert yourself physically, my guess is that the metoprolol is just not strong enough to control your blood pressure. One option is to switch to another medication, such as a diuretic or an ACE inhibitor. If your doctor thinks you need the beta blocker for some other cardiac condition, adding a diuretic or ACE inhibitor to the beta blocker makes sense. In fact, combining low doses of medications that fight high blood pressure in different ways is probably a more effective way to do it than with a high dose of a single medication.
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Reasons Your Blood Pressure Fluctuates
If you are seeing regular fluctuations in your blood pressure readings, youre not alone. Some variation in your blood pressure throughout the day is normal. In fact, there are a number of reasons for this including small changes in daily life, such as stress, exercise or even how well you slept the night before.
According to the American Heart Association , there are more than 116 million adults in the U.S. with high blood pressure. Recently, the U.S. Surgeon General, VADM Jerome Adams, released a for hypertension control to make it a national public health priority. Experts have called for monitoring your blood pressure at home because it is a great way to gain a better understanding of your numbers.
Knowing and regularly measuring your can help you see irregularities that you want to call to your doctors attention. Keeping track of your numbers may help your doctor determine a course of action or treatment. If variances in your blood pressure readings exist, it is important to know that there are some factors you can controlbut some you cant. Lets look at some of the reasons that may cause your blood pressure to fluctuate.
Symptoms Of Sudden High Blood Pressure
Unlike traditional high blood pressure, where there are no visual symptoms until major damage has occurred, sudden high blood pressure alerts you immediately.
- Weakness or numbness in arms, legs, face
- Mentality changes such as anxiety, fatigue, confusion, restlessness
In extreme cases of sudden high blood pressure, there may be bleeding from damaged blood vessels, blindness from ruptured retina nerves or vessels, and possibly seizures.
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What Is High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when the force of the blood pushing on the blood vessel walls is too high. When someone has high blood pressure:
- The heart has to pump harder.
- The arteries are under greater strain as they carry blood.
Enlarged Heart And Cardiovascular Health
Question: I am 23 years old and in pretty good health. I have three children, and towards the end of each pregnancy, I have developed high blood pressure. Last week I went to a family doctor for a physical, and my blood pressure was 118/100. The doctor performed an electrocardiogram , and the results were abnormal she said that the left side of my heart is enlarged. She referred me to a cardiologist, and I have an appointment next week. I am very concerned. Does this mean that I will die young? Can I live a long life with an enlarged heart? I would appreciate your advice.
Answer: I agree with your doctor that aggressive management of your blood pressure is warranted. Your history of high blood pressure associated with pregnancy is not uncommon, and can be a harbinger of sustained hypertension such as what you seem to have developed. Although your top number, or systolic pressure, is not alarming, the bottom number, or diastolic pressure, is distinctly abnormal at 100 mm Hg. The criteria for assessing the enlargement of the left-sided heart in people your age are not definitive, and can depend on ethnicity and degree of physical training. Often, a trained observer can detect enlargement of the left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of the heart, on physical examination.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Resistant Hypertension
You can have hypertension without having any symptoms. The best way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure checked by a health care provider.
However, symptoms may be felt when blood pressure first rises or during a hypertensive crisis, when levels are extremely high. These symptoms may include headaches, shortness of breath, chest pain and nosebleeds.
Dizziness is usually not a symptom of high blood pressure. In fact, dizziness can sometimes be a symptom of low blood pressure. Frequent or unexplained dizziness may be a warning sign of a serious condition and should be addressed by your physician.
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What Is The Relationship Between Sleep Apnea And Blood Pressure
Of the two types of sleep apnea, only OSA is linked to high blood pressure. CSA isnt a known cause of hypertension, but it develops in 30 to 50% of people with heart failure.
The prevalence of OSA is estimated to be between 4 and 7% of the general population, but it affects 30 to 40% of people with hypertension. Of people diagnosed with OSA, it is estimated that around half also have high blood pressure.
In healthy individuals, blood pressure naturally lowers by between 10 and 20% at night, a phenomenon that is sometimes referred to as blood pressure dipping. People with severe OSA experience blood pressure dips of less than 10%, which indicates a nondipping blood pressure pattern.
People who have nondipping blood pressure at night face an increased risk for cardiovascular issues. Additionally, many patients with OSA experience a sudden and pronounced elevation of their blood pressure when they wake up in the morning. This morning surge is another factor that may increase risk for cardiovascular disease. Moderate to severe OSA increases all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.
OSA doesnt only affect blood pressure at night. Studies show that daytime blood pressure levels also increase with sleep apnea severity.
High Blood Pressure During Sleep
Question: What would cause blood pressure to spike extremely high while sleeping? Should one be able to see and feel it when it does this?
Answer: My number one concern from your query is whether we are dealing with obstructive sleep apnea. This common condition, associated with obesity, can cause many problems, including high blood pressure. Normal individuals have a dip in blood pressure during the night. Other individuals have a paradoxical nocturnal rise in blood pressure. Obstructive sleep apnea typically associates with snoring and episodes of disturbed breathing during the night. In addition to a personal history and physical examination, interviewing the patients sleep partner is a first step in diagnosing the condition. A formal sleep study can clinch the diagnosis. Treatment involves weight loss and a breathing device to be worn at night. Treatment of obstructive sleep apnea can help control high blood pressure and can increase alertness during the day, in addition to other health benefits.
Most often, increases in blood pressure do not cause symptoms. This is one of the reasons that this risk factor is so pernicious. An individual can feel perfectly well, yet have high blood pressure that predisposes to cardiovascular events.
Monitoring And Treatment Of Resistant Hypertension
Reining in blood pressure levels begins with the basics, such as understanding your pressure patterns. Sometimes that means wearing a pager-sized automatic blood pressure recorder for 24 hours or checking pressure with an at-home monitor several times a day. Treatment also usually involves a change or addition of medications and investigation of secondary causes along with key lifestyle changes, including:
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What Causes A Sudden Spike In Blood Pressure & When Should Someone Go To Hospital For High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force exerted by blood against the inner walls of the blood vessels. The normal blood pressure is under 140 mm Hg of systolic pressure and under 90 mm HG of diastolic pressure. High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition when the force exerted by blood is above normal acceptable limits. This, if left untreated, can lead to harmful effects to other organs especially the heart.
Sudden spike in blood pressure can be alarming as it may indicate a condition called as hypertensive crisis. Not all sudden high blood pressure causes this but if it is caused it is considered as an emergency situation that needs immediate medical help. Hypertensive crisis is a serious medical condition characterised by sudden spike in blood pressure often leading to stroke. Sudden high blood pressure can lead to inflammation and breakage of blood vessels which causes leakage of blood because the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently. This occurs usually when the blood pressure is above 180 mm Hg of systolic pressure and above 120 mm Hg of diastolic pressure .
Treating High Blood Pressure
Lifestyle changes are recommended as the first step in treating any stage of high blood pressure. These changes may include:
- eliminating unhealthy foods, such as excess sugars and saturated fats, from your diet
- eating more heart-healthy foods such as lean meats, fish, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains
- cutting back on sodium in your diet
- drinking more water
- quitting smoking
- maintaining a healthy weight
- reducing alcohol consumption
- managing stress
- monitoring your blood pressure regularly
In addition to these steps, consider whether youre taking medications that could be increasing your blood pressure, such as cold medicines, diet pills, or medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder . If you are, your doctor might recommend stopping that drug, changing medications, or adjusting your dosage.
However, lifestyle changes and medication adjustments may not be enough to bring your blood pressure numbers down. If thats the case, or if you have stage 2 hypertension or have experienced hypertensive crisis, your doctor will likely prescribe one or more blood pressure medications.
Commonly prescribed medications include:
This medication will be prescribed in addition to continued lifestyle changes.
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Latest High Blood Pressure News
FRIDAY, April 17, 2020 Nighttime high blood pressure could harm the brain, a new study says.
Most peoples blood pressure goes down during the night, which is called dipping. But in some people, it stays the same or even rises called reverse dipping.
Folks with high blood pressure and reverse dipping may be at increased risk for vascular damage in the brain and associated memory problems, according to the study published online April 15 in the journal Neurology.
It appears that reverse dipping may amplify the effects of high blood pressure on peoples cerebrovascular health and associated cognitive abilities, said study author Adam Brickman, professor of neuropsychology at Columbia University.
These results add to the mounting evidence that shows the importance of vascular risk factors in contributing to memory problems, he said in a journal news release.
The study involved 435 people, average age 59. Their blood pressure was monitored for 24 hours at home with a device that took readings every 15 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes at night.
The participants also underwent brain scans and tests of their memory and other thinking skills.
Osa And Resistant Hypertension
OSA is common in patients with resistant hypertension, which is defined as BP that remains uncontrolled with three or more medications. In a prospective evaluation of 41 patients with resistant hypertension, Logan et al found that 96% of the men and 65% of the women had significant OSA . In 71 consecutive subjects referred to the hypertension clinic at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for resistant hypertension, we found that 90% of the men and 77% of the women had OSA . As OSA severity increases, there is an increased need for additional BP medications that is, the more severe the OSA, the less likely BP is controlled with pharmacologic therapy.- A prospective, but uncontrolled CPAP trial demonstrated that CPAP use can have substantial antihypertensive benefit in patients with resistant hypertension. Logan et al reported that CPAP use after 2-month follow-up in 11 patients with resistant hypertension lowered nighttime systolic BP by 14.4±4.4 mm Hg and diastolic BP by 7.8±3.0 mm Hg.
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What Are The Risks Of Resistant Hypertension
Over time, uncontrolled hypertension damages the arteries, contributing to their stiffening. As the arteries become narrower and less flexible, the heart has to work harder to move blood through the body. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure and other heart conditions cause damage to your kidneys, memory and vision and contribute to erectile dysfunction.
Can Anxiety Cause High Blood Pressure
While periods of high anxiety or panic attacks can cause temporary rises in blood pressure and heart rate, there is not enough evidence to confirm that anxiety disorders cause long term hypertension though it has been suggested in certain studies.
When you become anxious or stressed, your body responds with surges in certain hormones, which can raise your heart rate and blood pressure. In isolation, occasional spikes in blood pressure do not lead to hypertension. But, if stress-induced spikes in blood pressure happen often enough, like every day, this can cause blood vessel damage and put stress on the heart and kidneys. These harmful effects are similar to what happens in people with hypertension.
Another way that anxiety can contribute to high blood pressure is that people often respond to stress with unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. Here are some behaviors that can cause hypertension:
Smoking or vaping
Eating too much and/or eating unhealthy food
Not exercising or maintaining a healthy weight
Not getting enough sleep
Not taking their prescribed medications for high blood pressure
Rarely, medications to treat anxiety, such asserotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors can cause an increase in blood pressure. Your health care provider may have to adjust your medications if you develop high blood pressure as a side effect.
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How Is Blood Pressure Measured
Health care providers measure blood pressure with a cuff that wraps around the upper arm or the leg in babies. When the cuff inflates, it squeezes a large artery, stopping the blood flow for a moment. Blood pressure is measured as air is slowly let out of the cuff, which lets blood flow through the artery again.
Blood pressure is measured in two numbers:
You hear blood pressure reported as the first number “over” the second number, like 120 over 80 or 120/80.
Risk Factors For High Blood Pressure
Your gender affects your risk of high blood pressure. The American Heart Association states that men are at a higher risk of high blood pressure than women are until age 64. But at 65 years and older, women are at higher risk than men. Your risk is also higher if:
- you have a close relative with high blood pressure
- youre African-American
Your lifestyle also affects your risk level. Your risk is higher if:
- you dont get much physical activity
- you experience chronic stress
- you drink too much alcohol
- you smoke
- your diet is high in salt, sugar, and fat
Sleep apnea is a risk factor for high blood pressure thats often overlooked. Its a condition that causes you to stop breathing or have ineffective breathing one or more times during sleep.
When your breathing is inadequate, your oxygen levels fall and your blood vessels constrict. This increases your blood pressure. When sleep apnea is persistent, this increased blood pressure may continue during the day when breathing is normal. Properly treating sleep apnea will help lower blood pressure.
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