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Why Do I Have High Blood Pressure

How Common Is High Blood Pressure

Why do I have high blood pressure? MD Explains. (Video 1 of 2)

High blood pressure is a common condition, it is estimated that 18% of adult men and 13% of adult women have high blood pressure but are not getting treatment for it.

In 90-95% of cases, there is no single identifiable reason for a rise in blood pressure. But all available evidence shows that lifestyle plays a significant role in regulating your blood pressure.

Risk factors for high blood pressure include:

  • age
  • poor diet
  • being overweight
  • excessive alcohol consumption.

Also, for reasons not fully understood, people of Afro-Caribbean and South Asian origin are more likely to develop high blood pressure than other ethnic groups.

A Final Caution: Stroke Symptoms

Since high blood pressure can lead to a stroke, make sure that your family members and caregivers also know the signs of stroke. They should take immediate action if you suddenly experience:

  • Numbness or weakness on one side of the face or body
  • Confusion or difficulty speaking
  • Trouble walking, or lack of balance or coordination
  • Severe headache
  • Stay aware and seek high blood pressure treatment

Some people may have a tendency to ignore or deny hypertension symptoms because they dont want to go to the doctor or the emergency room, they dont want to admit the possibility of being ill, or they dont understand the seriousness.A key part of healthy aging is communicating health concerns to your doctor or nurse. That includes getting immediate attention to and treatment for potential symptoms of a high blood pressure crisis.Dont disregard professional medical advice, or delay seeking it, because of what you read here. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional consultation, diagnosis or treatment it is provided as is without any representations or warranties, express or implied. Always consult a healthcare provider if you have specific questions about any medical matter, and seek professional attention immediately if you think you or someone in your care may be suffering from a health condition.

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How To Prevent Sudden High Blood Pressure Problem

In 2013, more than 360,000 deaths in the United States had high blood pressure as primary or contributing cause. Each year, the government spends an estimated $46 billion for workers missed days, health care services, and high blood pressure medications. Talk to your doctor about treatment for high blood pressure medications. In the meantime, there are precautions you can take right now.

1. Avoid Stress

Become involved in hobbies such as painting, exercise, and other physical activities to have a stress outlet and keep fit.

2. Limit Caffeine Intake

Talk with your doctor about your caffeine habits and stick to a plan to limit your daily intake.

3. Quit Smoking

As one of the biggest health risks, smoking can lead to serious heart and lung conditions and death.

4. Eat Healthy Foods

Avoid saturated fats and junk food to maintain healthy blood pressure levels.

5. Reduce Sodium in Diet

Added salt and salt found in food products can lead to high blood pressure as it increases the solute content in our blood.

6. Exercise Regularly

A healthy heart, and body, requires regular exercise daily for 20 to 30 minutes.

7. Monitor Vitals

It is important to keep an eye on your blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels, especially if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

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What Should I Do If I Have High Blood Pressure

If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you and your healthcare provider will talk about your target blood pressure. Your provider may suggest that you:

  • Check your own blood pressure regularly with a home blood pressure monitor. These electronic monitors are available at most pharmacies or online.
  • Work on controlling anger and managing stress.

Hypertension: What You Need To Know As You Age

Why Do I Suddenly Have High Blood Pressure

You cant see high blood pressure, also called hypertension. And most ofthe time, you cant feel it. But if youre among the 78 million Americanswith hypertension or are one of the 70 million with prehypertension, its important to understandits effects on your healthand to take action today to bring your numbersdown to healthier levels.

Blood pressure is the force of blood against the inner walls of yourarteries. It has normal fluctuations throughout the dayfalling when yourerelaxed or asleep, rising naturally in the morning, and increasingtemporarily when youre under stress, excited or exercising. But when yourresting blood pressure level rises too high, it can scar, stiffen and/orweaken blood vessels. This effect can double your risk for aheart attack quadruple your odds for astroke raise your risk forheart failure, vision loss, kidney problems,dementiaand circulation problems such asperipheral artery disease weaken your bones and contribute toerectile dysfunctionin men.

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When And How To Measure Blood Pressure

Regular use of a home blood pressure monitor can help people better understand their blood pressure fluctuations. It can also allow people to identify episodes of morning hypertension.

The American Heart Association recommend using a cuff-style blood pressure monitor. These monitors are more reliable than monitors that attach to the finger or wrist.

The AHA also provide the following guidelines for measuring blood pressure at home:

Before measuring blood pressure:

  • Rest comfortably and quietly for 5 minutes before measuring blood pressure.
  • Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, or exercising within 30 minutes of measuring blood pressure.

When measuring blood pressure:

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:

  • Caffeine
  • Certain medications or combinations of medications
  • Chronic kidney disease

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How Do I Know If I Have High Blood Pressure

Theres only one way to know if you have high blood pressure: Have a doctor or other health professional measure it. Measuring your blood pressure is quick and painless.

Talk with your health care team about regularly measuring your blood pressure at home, also called self-measured blood pressure monitoring.

High blood pressure is called the silent killer because it usually has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it.

Diagnosing High Blood Pressure

Why Do I Have High Blood Pressure? || HealthspanMD

Diagnosing hypertension is as simple as taking a blood pressure reading. Most doctors offices check blood pressure as part of a routine visit. If you dont receive a blood pressure reading at your next appointment, request one.

If your blood pressure is elevated, your doctor may request you have more readings over the course of a few days or weeks. A hypertension diagnosis is rarely given after just one reading. Your doctor needs to see evidence of a sustained problem. Thats because your environment can contribute to increased blood pressure, such as the stress you may feel by being at the doctors office. Also, blood pressure levels change throughout the day.

If your blood pressure remains high, your doctor will likely conduct more tests to rule out underlying conditions. These tests can include:

These tests can help your doctor identify any secondary issues causing your elevated blood pressure. They can also look at the effects high blood pressure may have had on your organs.

During this time, your doctor may begin treating your hypertension. Early treatment may reduce your risk of lasting damage.

Two numbers create a blood pressure reading:

Five categories define blood pressure readings for adults:

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Excessive Salt Raises Blood Pressure

Too much sodium can cause water retention that puts increased pressure on your heart and blood vessels. People with high blood pressure and those at a high risk for developing hypertension, including adults over 50 and black men and women, should have no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium daily of salt.

Even people with normal levels should eat salt in moderation. Stick to no more than 2,300 mg of sodium , per day.

Most dietary sodium comes from processed foods. Rules of thumb are to choose foods with 5% or less of the daily value of sodium per serving and opt for fresh poultry, fish and lean meats, rather than canned, smoked or processed. Similarly, fresh or frozen vegetables are better than canned.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that if people cut just 1/2 teaspoon of salt per day, it could help lower the number of new cases of heart disease per year by up to 120,000.

Further, potassium found in foods like sweet potatoes, spinach, bananas, oranges, low-fat milk and halibut can counterbalance the pressure-increasing effects of sodium by helping to rid the body of excess sodium.

Drink Alcohol In Moderation

Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol will increase your blood pressure and raise the cholesterol levels in your blood.

Sticking to the recommended amounts of alcohol consumption is the best way to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure.

The recommended daily limits of alcohol consumption are:

  • 3 to 4 units of alcohol for men
  • 2 to 3 units of alcohol for women.

A unit of alcohol is equal to about half a pint of normal-strength lager, a small glass of wine or a pub measure or spirits.

More about drinking alcohol reponsibly

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Can Someone Have Both Low Bp And High Bp Know All About Fluctuating Blood Pressure

Can someone experience low BP and high BP together? It is unusual but possible. Cardiologist Dr. Gunjan Kapoor explains all about fluctuating BP.

Other Diseases

We have heard about high blood pressure and low blood pressure issues separately. Have you ever heard someone complaining that they have both low BP and high BP? Very rarely. But this doesnt mean that it cannot happen. Dr. Gunjan Kapoor, MBBS, MD, DM , Director of Cardiac Sciences Deptt. at Yatharth Super Speciality Hospitalexplains that fluctuating blood pressure isnt common but it can be caused due to common factors such as stress, alcoholism, medication, etc. Your blood pressure reading can say a lot about your health including any underlying problem. It is always suggested to consult a doctor whenever you see a sudden spike or dip in your blood pressure.

Causes And Risk Factors

I Have High Blood Pressure: What Do I Need to Know ...

You may be at an increased risk for high blood pressure if you smoke, areoverweight, eat a diet thats low on produce and fiber and/or high in fatand salt, drink alcohol to excess, live with chronic stress or dont getmuch physical activity. Some causes of hypertension cannot becontrolledincluding your genes and your race . Aging also plays a role. Even if you do not have hypertensionby age 55 to 65, your lifetime risk for developing it is a whopping 90percent.

But doctors no longer consider hypertension inevitable or untreatable withage, saysSamuel Durso, M.D.,director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at JohnsHopkins.

In one Johns Hopkins study of 975 older women and men with hypertension,healthy lifestyle steps helped 40 percent stop taking blood pressuremedications. Other research has shown that lifestyle changes can lower therisk for hypertension in African-Americans and others at an increasedgenetic risk.

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In Most Cases High Blood Pressure Does Not Cause Headaches Or Nosebleeds

  • The best evidence indicates that high blood pressure does not cause headaches or nosebleeds, except in the case of hypertensive crisis, a medical emergency when blood pressure is 180/120 mm Hg or higher. If your blood pressure is unusually high AND you have headache or nosebleed and are feeling unwell, wait five minutes and retest. If your reading remains at 180/120 mm Hg or higher, call 911.
  • If you are experiencing severe headaches or nosebleeds and are otherwise unwell, contact your doctor as they could be symptoms of other health conditions.

Blood Pressure Is Linked To Other Medical Issues

High blood pressure can be the first indication of a serious underlying condition. When a patient comes in with high blood pressure, doctors will check their urine and kidney function do an electrocardiogram to check the size of the heart and look for lung changes.

Stress on the blood vessels makes people with hypertension more prone to heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and aneurysms. Correspondingly, chronic conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, sleep apnea and high cholesterol increase the risk for developing high blood pressure.

In some women, pregnancy can contribute to high blood pressure, leading to preeclampsia. Postpartum blood pressure typically goes back to normal levels within six weeks. However, some women who have high blood pressure during more than one pregnancy may be more likely to develop high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases as they age.

Some of these medical issues can also cause spikes in high blood pressure .

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Whats The Difference Between Blood Pressure And Pulse

Blood pressure and pulse are two measurements that a doctor may use to monitor your heart and overall health. While theyre similar, they can each say very different things about whats happening in your body.

Pulse, also called heart rate, refers to the number of times your heart beats in one minute. Typical pulse measurements range from 60 to 100 beats per minute.

Blood pressure is an estimate of the force your blood is exerting on your blood vessels. A typical value for blood pressure is 120/80. Doctors consider blood pressure to be elevated when its between 130 and 139 systolic over 80 to 89 diastolic .

If you have high blood pressure with a low pulse, it means your blood is putting increased pressure on your blood vessels, but your hearts beating fewer than 60 times per minute. Read on to learn more about what this combination means for your health.

What Do The Diastolic And Systolic Numbers Mean

2 Reasons Why You Have High Blood Pressure

How is blood pressure measured?

Blood pressure is measured with a blood pressure cuff and recorded as two numbers, for example, 120/80 mm Hg . Blood pressure measurements are usually taken at the upper arm over the brachial artery.

  • The top, the larger number is called the systolic pressure. This measures the pressure generated when the heart contracts . It reflects the pressure of the blood against arterial walls.
  • At the bottom, the smaller number is called the diastolic pressure. This reflects the pressure in the arteries while the heart is filling and resting between heartbeats.

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High Blood Pressure Treatment

The best way to lower blood pressure begins with changes you can make to your lifestyle to help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. Additionally, your doctor may prescribe medicine to lower your blood pressure. These are called antihypertensive medicines.

The goal of treatment is to reduce your blood pressure to normal levels. Your doctor may prescribe medicine thats easy to take and has few, if any, side effects. This treatment is highly successful. If your blood pressure can only be controlled with medicine, youll need to take the medicine for the rest of your life. It is common to need more than one medicine to help control your blood pressure. Dont stop taking the medicine without talking with your doctor. Otherwise, you may increase your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

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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Regular Blood Pressure Checks If Diagnosed With High Blood Pressure

If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, your blood pressure will need to be closely monitored until it is brought under control.

After your blood pressure has been controlled, your GP or practice nurse will measure your blood pressure at agreed regular intervals .

It is important you attend these appointments to ensure your blood pressure is being maintained within an acceptable range.

You Rely Too Heavily On Convenient Processed Foods

Why Do I Have Low Blood Pressure

Excessive sodium intake has a direct impact on blood pressure. More salt equals more sodium in the blood, which then pulls water from the surrounding tissues into your vessels and increases blood volume, says Dr. Beniaminovitz. More blood volume leads to higher blood pressure.

But if youre thinking, I dont even use that much salt, its probably still hiding elsewhere in your diet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , Americans are consuming an average of 3,400 mg of sodium per day, which is well beyond the recommended cap of 2,300 mg per day. And of that, more than 70% of a persons sodium intake is coming from processed and restaurant foods, including things like bread, breakfast cereal, chips, cookies, pizza, canned beans and veggies, canned soups, and pasta saucenot the salt shaker itself.

Additionally, a diet heavy in processed foods can cause weight gain, and when people are overweight, the body has to pump blood to more tissue, which can increase blood pressure, says Dr. Philips. We see an extremely large amount of high blood pressure in obese patients.

BP fix: Cut way back on packaged foods.

If you want to follow a specific dietary plan thats been proven to lower blood pressure, Dr. Beniaminovitz recommends either the DASH diet or a well-formulated Mediterranean Diet.

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