Things That Can Increase Your Risk Of Getting High Blood Pressure
You might be more at risk if you:
- are overweight
- eat too much salt and do not eat enough fruit and vegetables
- do not do enough exercise
- drink too much alcohol or coffee
- do not get much sleep or have disturbed sleep
- are over 65
- 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.
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.
What If Lifestyle Changes Dont Help Lower My Blood Pressure
If diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes dont work to lower your blood pressure, your healthcare provider will prescribe medications to help lower your blood pressure. Your provider will take into account other conditions you may have, such as heart or kidney disease and other drugs youre taking when prescribing medications to treat your high blood pressure. Be sure to follow your providers dosing directions exactly.
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What Do You Do About High Blood Pressure
There are a number of important changes you can make in your life to prevent or lower high blood pressure. The main part is that you have to live healthily: no smoking, plenty of exercises, eating healthy and not too much stress.
There are also medicines for high blood pressure, but if you live a healthy life you do not need them in many cases. If you are unsure whether you need medication for your high blood pressure, it is best to check with your doctor. He then looks at what kind of risk invoices apply to your situation. Medicines are usually only recommended and prescribed when you have a high risk of cardiovascular disease or if you have extremely high blood pressure.
Monitor Your Blood Pressure Regularly
The best way to prevent complications and avoid problems is to recognize hypertension early.
Keep a log of your blood pressure readings and take it to your regular doctor appointments. This can help your doctor see any possible problems before the condition advances.
People with hypertension can deliver healthy babies despite having the condition. But it can be dangerous to both the birthing parent and baby if its not monitored closely and managed during the pregnancy.
People with high blood pressure who become pregnant are more likely to develop complications . For example, pregnant women with hypertension may experience decreased kidney function. Babies born to birthing parents with hypertension may have a low birth weight or be born prematurely.
Some people may develop hypertension during their pregnancies. Several types of high blood pressure problems can develop. The condition often reverses itself once the baby is born. Developing hypertension during pregnancy may increase your risk for developing hypertension later in life.
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What Figures Mean My Blood Pressure Is High
If you’re otherwise healthy, your blood pressure is considered to be high enough to need treatment if the upper figure is above 160/100 – or if the average of many readings is above 150/95 . The aim of treatment is to get the upper figure below 140/90 . If you have other conditions like diabetes or kidney problems, the targets may be lower still .
Until very recently in the USA, hypertension was defined as 140/90 or higher. But now, high blood pressure will be diagnosed if the reading is 130/80 or higher. That takes the number of Americans in the ‘high blood pressure’ category from just over 1 in 3 to almost 1 in 2.
You Have Another Health Conditionor You Take One Of These Meds
If you do have high blood pressure, your doctor will likely take into consideration the range of other diseases and disorders that, when poorly managed, cause your blood pressure to become elevated. These include thyroid problems, renovascular disease, Cushings syndrome, and a number of others. The key to all these conditions is the correct diagnosis, says Dr. Beniaminovitz. When the proper diagnosis is made, working with your doctor to reverse and or treat these conditions often cures high blood pressure.
BP fix: Document symptoms that seem unusual.
If your doc says your BP is high, bring up any strange symptoms that could indicate an underlying cause , and always provide them with a list of your current medications and supplements.
If your meds are the issue, ideally they would be discontinued or changed to ones that have no or less effect on blood pressure, says Dr. Beniaminovitz. If a change in medication is not possible, often your doctor will prescribe optimal lifestyle and blood pressure medication to combat the effects.
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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
Optimizing Treatment Of High Blood Pressure
The authors bring several evidence-based yet progressive concepts into the guidelines, the first of which is that high blood pressure should be treated using a team approach. This makes sense, as science supports more and better patient education around self-monitoring, nutrition, and lifestyle changes, as well as stress management. Telehealth is emphasized as a cost-effective method of ongoing monitoring that is more convenient for patients than frequent office visits.
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Make Sure Your Blood Pressure Numbers Add Up To Health
If left untreated, high blood pressure puts you at higher risk of heart disease, stroke and other serious conditions. The good news is that there are many ways to lower blood pressure and it all starts with knowing your blood pressure numbers.
Staying on top of your routine preventive care specifically annual checkups with a primary care doctor is one of the best ways to catch blood pressure issues, and identify other risk factors or health conditions earlier, when theyre most treatable.
Also, dont ignore any out-of-the-ordinary symptoms you may be feeling like chest pain, shortness of breath, severe headache or nausea. While high blood pressure often comes without symptoms, other heart-related issues could be at play. So, dont hesitate to get the care you need.
High Blood Pressure And Older Adults
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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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Know Your Numbers: Blood Pressure
Knowing and understanding key heart numbers blood pressure, cholesterol and heart rate, along with your family history allow you and your health care team to determine your risk for developing heart and cardiovascular disease. Knowing your risk is critical to preventing heart disease and for taking steps to improve your overall heart health.
What Causes Hypertension
The most common form of hypertension is called primary hypertension. It is a disease in itself largely caused by advancing age and genetics. By age 80, some 90% of adults have primary hypertension due to arteries narrowed by atherosclerosis. Despite its prevalence, primary hypertension is neither desirable nor inevitable.
We used to think high blood pressure was essential as we age, says Dr. Laffin. Now we know this is not true. High blood pressure in our later years needs to be addressed.
Hypertension also can be caused by another disease, called secondary hypertension, such as narrowing of the aorta or the arteries leading to the kidneys, or by excess hormone production.
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When To Consult A Doctor
If a person monitors their blood pressure at home and does not see lower readings despite implementing lifestyle changes, they should contact a medical professional. Doctors can help to determine the underlying cause of their high blood pressure.
A person should seek immediate medical attention if they have two readings of 180/120 mm Hg or higher within 5 minutes, especially if they are experiencing a headache or nosebleed.
Doctors do not associate increased diastolic blood pressure with cardiovascular events in younger individuals.
However, increases in diastolic pressure in those aged
- Bae, E. H., et al. . Chronic kidney disease risk of isolated systolic or diastolic hypertension in young adults: A nationwide sample based-cohort Study.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Being overweight is a risk factor for having high blood pressure, and your risk increases further if you are obese.
There are two ways to check if you are overweight:
- Body Mass Index – This is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in metres squared. In the UK, people with a BMI of between 25 to 30 are overweight, and those with an index above 30 are classed as obese. People with a BMI of 40 or more are morbidly obese.
- Waist size – Using a measuring tape place the tape round your waist between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hip bone. The table below indicates how much your health might be at risk, your ethnicity should also be taken into account.
|Over 80 cm|
The best way to tackle obesity is by reducing the amount of calories that you eat, and taking regular exercise. Your GP can provide you with further information and advice on how you can do this.
More about having a healthy weight
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How Blood Pressure Changes
Your body controls the pressure in your arteries using a complex system of regulators including your heart, kidneys, enzymes, hormones and your nervous system.
Blood pressure is always changing based on your activity level, stress level, time of day, and even the position of your body. Lifestyle factors such as alcohol, caffeine, food, tobacco , and stress can all change your blood pressure.
There are several categories of high blood pressure: normal, pre-high blood pressure, stage 1 high blood pressure, and stage 2 high blood pressure. If either of the numbers in your blood pressure measurement is higher than normal, you should work on reducing your blood pressure through lifestyle changes and should seek the care of a physician.
How Low Can You Go
With all the focus on hypertension, it can be hard to remember that low blood pressure can be a problem, too. As a rule, the fitter you are, the lower your blood pressure. As long as you feel fine, a blood pressure as low as 100 over 60 is OK.
However, seriously low blood pressure can cause:
- Light-headedness .
Some medical conditions that make your heart go too fast or too slowly can cause low blood pressure, as can some hormone disorders and, in the short term, so can blood loss or being very dehydrated. Fortunately, low blood pressure itself rarely causes serious problems.
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Is High Blood Pressure Preventable
In the majority of the cases with primary hypertension , the answer is yes. Food and lifestyle are the most important factors contributing to the development of the disease. Some people may be more predisposed to having high blood pressure if it runs in their family. However, even with a family history of hypertension, there are steps you can take to prevent it. You can:
Regularly monitor your blood pressure
While monitoring alone wont prevent high blood pressure, it can help in the early detection of management of the condition. By detecting it early, you can start to take steps to change your lifestyle before you receive a hypertension diagnosis.
Maintain a healthy diet
Your diet has a big impact on your cardiovascular health. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, low in fat and sugar, and high in fiber is best. You should also work to limit your salt intake. Too much salt in your diet is one of the main risk factors for hypertension.²
Exercise can help improve the function of your heart, making it more efficient, which reduces the strain it’s under as it works to pump your blood. Exercise also reduces your bad cholesterol, preventing plaque accumulation in your arteries. It also helps dilate your arteries for longer periods in order to provide enough blood to the muscles, which reduces the pressure in your arteries, and in turn, reduces your blood pressure. Getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day is best.
Limit your intake of alcohol
How Is Blood Pressure Measured
Blood pressure is defined as the amount of pressure that is exerted on the artery walls as blood moves through them. It is measured in millimetres of mercury, or mmHg.
A more detailed explanation is provided below.
Two measurements are used to measure blood pressure:
- Systolic pressure – the measure of blood pressure exerted when your heart beats and forces blood around your body.
- Diastolic pressure – the measure of blood pressure when your heart is resting in between beats.
Both the systolic and diastolic pressures are measured in millimetres of mercury .
The figures are usually represented with the systolic pressure first, followed by the diastolic pressure. Therefore, if your GP says that your blood pressure is ‘120 over 80’, or 120/80mmHg, they mean that you have a systolic pressure of 120mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 80mmHg.
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What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers:
The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.
If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say, 120 over 80, or write, 120/80 mmHg.
High Blood Pressure Risks
Growing data shows a higher risk of COVID-19 infections and complications in people with high blood pressure.
Analysis of early data from both China and the U.S. shows that high blood pressure is the most commonly shared pre-existing condition among those hospitalized, affecting between 30% to 50% of the patients. Other health conditions included cancer, diabetes, or lung disease. In Italy, a report said that more than 99% of people who had died from the virus had one of these conditions and 76% of them had high blood pressure.
Other research shows that people with high blood pressure are also slightly more likely to die from coronavirus. Their risk is about twice as high as that of the overall population.
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What A Sudden Drop In Blood Pressure Means
A sudden drop in blood pressure, also called hypotension, can occur for any number of reasons. Some may be of no real concern, while others may be a sign of a potentially life-threatening condition.
This article will cover the various causes of low blood pressure, possible symptoms, and treatment options.
What Does The Future Hold
Sometimes medications for hypertension don’t work well enough to bring people’s blood pressure down to their target numbers – although that’s often due to not taking the medicines as prescribed. Scientists are currently looking into alternatives.
One potential treatment is a procedure called renal denervation. It aims to reduce activity in the nerves around the arteries leading to the kidneys. A catheter is used to treat tissue around the artery with ultrasound, calming the nerves and potentially reducing blood pressure. Some trials have been very promising, although follow-up studies suggest the procedure might not be as effective as doctors initially hoped.
Researchers are also investigating a small implant called the MobiusHD which is implanted inside an artery in the neck. The device releases signals which tell the blood vessels in your arms and legs to dilate, which reduces your blood pressure.
How Common Is High Blood Pressure
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:
- 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.