Follow The Other Parts Of Your High Blood Pressure Treatment Plan
When it comes to treating high blood pressure, it’s likely that you and your doctor have talked about steps in addition to taking medication. These steps can help make your medicine work even better to control blood pressure. Here are some of the other steps that might be part of your plan:
- Eat a diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat meat and dairy foods.
- Watch how much sodium you eat in your diet. Most of the sodium you eat comes from packaged or processed foods.
- Watch how much alcohol you drink. Ask your doctor about an appropriate amount.
- Don’t use cigarettes or other tobacco products.
- Get as close as you can to a healthy weight. Your doctor can help you determine an appropriate goal.
- Get regular physical activity. Try for 150 minutes of moderate activity a week.
- Learn ways to relieve stress, such as relaxation techniques.
For each of these steps, your doctor can give you more information and get you started. Or your doctor may refer you to other health professionals who can help. Some health centers even offer free or inexpensive classes in these areas.
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
What Are The Treatments For High Blood Pressure
Treatments for high blood pressure include heart-healthy lifestyle changes and medicines.
You will work with your provider to come up with a treatment plan. It may include only the lifestyle changes. These changes, such as heart-healthy eating and exercise, can be very effective. But sometimes the changes do not control or lower your high blood pressure. Then you may need to take medicine. There are different types of blood pressure medicines. Some people need to take more than one type.
If your high blood pressure is caused by another medical condition or medicine, treating that condition or stopping the medicine may lower your blood pressure.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
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Your Odds Of Developing High Blood Pressure Are Pretty Good
To answer the question Why me? it helps to know the data. The Framingham Heart Study followed a subset of 1,300 participants ages 55 to 65 who did not have hypertension at baseline. Their remarkable finding: the lifetime risk of developing hypertension was 90%. So even if you havent developed high blood pressure by middle age, chances are nine out of ten that you will at some point. This number is most likely so high because more of us are overweight and are living longer.
So instead of being surprised if you are diagnosed with hypertension, it is actually more logical to be amazed if you never develop it. On an optimistic note, we have seen a decline in the frequency of severe hypertension. We owe this fall to better treatment. So if you learn you have high blood pressure, the most important response is to accept the diagnosis. Hypertension cant remedy itself your commitment is the first step toward great blood pressure control.
Watch this video for more commentary on getting a high blood pressure diagnosis:
How Do I Know If My Monitor Is Accurate Or If I Am Using It Correctly
Once you buy your device, have your doctor check it for accuracy. They should check your monitor once a year. On your own, periodically check the tubing for cracks and leaks. Proper care and storage are necessary. Make sure the tubing is not twisted when you store it. Keep it away from heat.
Ask your doctor or nurse to teach you how to use your blood pressure monitor correctly. This will help you achieve good results in controlling your blood pressure.
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Blood Pressure Paradigm Shift
Based on Dr. B’s recommendations, ideally, it should be taken 3 to 5 times in succession until two pressures are the same.
When the blood pressure cuff is tightened on your arm, the brain receives a signal. That signal, increase the blood pressure to compensate for the blockage. It is not until you pump up and release the blood pressure cuff 3 to 5 times that you will get an accurate reading.
The difference in the first reading to the last could increased by 10 points or more.
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
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Blood Pressure Assessment Tips
Keep learning about blood pressure assessment by reading how to mitigate NIBP and auscultating innacuracies by watching the plethysmography waveform on your pulse oximeter and noting the mean arterial pressure.
Read next: Learn how to read a MAP.
1. James PA, Oparil S, Carter BL, et al. 2014 Evidence-Based Guideline for the Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults: Report From the Panel Members Appointed to the Eighth Joint National Committee . JAMA. 2014 311:507-520.
2. Pickering TG, Hall JE, Appel LJ, et al. AHA Scientific Statement: Recommendations for blood pressure measurement in humans and experimental animals, part 1: blood pressure measurement in humans. Hypertension. 2005 45: 142-161.
3. Deakin CD, Low JL. Accuracy of the advanced trauma life support guidelines for predicting systolic blood pressure using carotid, femoral, and radial pulses: observational study. BMJ. 2000 321: 673674.
4. Lehman LH, Saeed M, Talmor D, Mark R, Malhotra A. Methods of blood pressure measurement in the ICU. Crit Care Med. 2013 41:34-40.
This article, originally posted Apr. 9, 2014, has been updated.
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One sheet: Common blood pressure reading mistakes
What Is High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of your blood as it flows through the arteries in your body. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. When your heart beats, it pushes blood through your arteries. As the blood flows, it puts pressure on your artery walls. This is called blood pressure.
High blood pressure happens when your blood moves through your arteries at a higher pressure than normal. Many different things can cause high blood pressure. If your blood pressure gets too high or stays high for a long time, it can cause health problems. Uncontrolled high blood pressure puts you at a higher risk for stroke, heart disease, heart attack, and kidney failure.
There are 2 types of high blood pressure.
Primary hypertension. This is also called essential hypertension. It is called this when there is no known cause for your high blood pressure. This is the most common type of hypertension. This type of blood pressure usually takes many years to develop. It probably is a result of your lifestyle, environment, and how your body changes as you age.
Secondary hypertension. This is when a health problem or medicine is causing your high blood pressure. Things that can cause secondary hypertension include:
- Kidney problems.
- Thyroid or adrenal gland problems.
- Some medicines.
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Make A Habit Out Of Taking Your High Blood Pressure Drugs
It’s easier to take your high blood pressure drugs exactly as prescribed when you make it a part of your daily routine. Try some of these ideas to help you remember to take your medication:
- Link taking your medicine with another daily routine, such as brushing your teeth or fixing your morning coffee.
- Every time you take your medication, mark it down on a calendar or in a notebook. This also gives you a record you can show your doctor so you can both determine how well the medicine is working.
- Place reminders in key spots. Sticky notes are great — they come in a variety of colors and shapes to get your attention. Put reminder notes in places you’re likely to see them, such as on your bathroom mirror or by the kitchen sink.
- Have a family member or friend call or email you to remind you to take your medicine.
Why You Should Pay Attention To Your Blood Pressure
Hypertension can wreak havoc on the body before alarming symptoms appear. Thats why regular checkups are a must.
Sometimes, Dr. Lioudis asks patients to check their blood pressure at different times of the day. Its the only way to spot masked hypertension. People with this condition have normal blood pressure in the doctors office, but high blood pressure at home.
We cant do anything for hypertension unless we know it exists, he says. Thats why we advise everyone to have their pressures checked at least yearly. They should also talk with their family doctor about stress, heart or kidney disease, family history of high blood pressure and any other potential contributing factor. By working together, you can bring your blood pressure under control.
This article originally appeared in Cleveland Clinic Heart Advisor.
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High Blood Pressure Facts
What every adult should know about high blood pressure, or hypertension
There’s a good reason why every doctor’s appointment starts with a blood pressure check. While one in three American adults has high blood pressure, about 20% of people are unaware that they have it because it is largely symptomless.
In fact, most people find out they have high blood pressure during a routine office visit.
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries as the heart pumps blood. High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, is when that force is too high and begins harming the body. If left untreated, it willl eventually cause damage to the heart and blood vessels.
Your blood pressure is measured in two numbers: The top systolic blood pressure measures the force pushing against artery walls when the heart is contracting. The bottom diastolic blood pressure measures pressure in the arteries when the heart is resting between beats.
Normal blood pressure levels are 120 mmHg/80 mmHg or lower. At risk levels are 120-139 mmHg/80-89 mmHg. Readings of 140 mmHg/90 mmHg or higher are defined as high blood pressure.
Here are six other things you should know about high blood pressure.
Why The First Blood Pressure Reading Is Always High
It happens to me also. The first reading is often higher than the second 3. By now, youre probably wondering, why is my first blood pressure reading always high?
The first blood pressure reading is always higher for the following reasons:
I think the first reason is the most common. People are typically in a hurry or impatient. This makes it extremely difficult to sit down and have five minutes of quiet time 4.
Without having quiet time, a persons heart rate hasnt had time to slow down or the stress level is elevated more. Subsequent readings give the person a chance to relax and calm down.
Another major reason is the distractions. Many of my clients have admitted to me even though they sat down for five minutes they were still checking their phones or reading up on the news. Sitting down for five minutes is good but checking social media while doing it is not considered quiet time.
I wrote a blog post on this topic in complete detail. I even discuss how the majority of physician offices are making a huge mistake when measuring your blood pressure 5. You can read about it by clicking here, First Blood Pressure Reading Always High.
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Is High Blood Pressure Always Bad
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a risk factor for several health conditions, including cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and other metabolic issues. However, is high blood pressure always a cause for concern? New findings question that assumption.
Up to 75 million adults in the United States have high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
What is high blood pressure? Well, it is hard to accurately answer that question, as specialists are still debating what counts as normal blood pressure.
Different organizations currently offer different guidelines on high blood pressure.
For instance, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute explain that, among adults, hypertension is a consistent systolic reading of 140 mm Hg or higher.
However, the American Heart Association suggest that hypertension occurs when a person has a systolic blood pressure of 130 mm Hg or above. Meanwhile, the CDC consider people with systolic blood pressure of 120139 mm Hg as being only at risk of hypertension.
Generally speaking, doctors advise their patients especially older adults to keep monitoring their own blood pressure and keep it in check.
This is to make sure that it does not reach the threshold for hypertension, which many healthcare professionals consider to be a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, among other things.
In fact, the researchers note, some people in their 80s may even see some benefits.
How Can I Monitor My Blood Pressure At Home
Monitoring your blood pressure at home is a great way to stay on top of your blood pressure readings. This way, you can get treatment or make adjustments in your treatment early, and this can prevent complications from high blood pressure over time.
You can buy an automated home blood pressure cuff online, without a prescription, or at local stores and pharmacies. Some insurance companies may also pay for a home cuff as long as you have a prescription or order from your healthcare provider.
Some people always have high blood pressure in a providers office, but normal blood pressure at home. This is called white coat hypertension. Monitoring your blood pressure at home can help sort this out.
Home blood pressure monitoring is also recommended as part of your diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure, according to current guidelines. Its a great way to get more information about how your blood pressure changes over time. Sharing your home readings with your healthcare provider can help inform a treatment plan.
When you take your blood pressure, there are a few key points to keep in mind to get an accurate reading:
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What About Blood Pressure Thats Too Low
Low blood pressure is known as hypotension. In adults, a blood pressure reading of 90/60 mm Hg or below is often considered hypotension.
Hypotension can be dangerous because blood pressure thats too low doesnt supply your body and heart with enough oxygenated blood.
Some potential causes of hypotension can include:
- heart problems
What Should I Do If I Have High Blood Pressure
If your healthcare provider has diagnosed you with high blood pressure, they will talk with you about your recommended blood pressure target or goal. They may suggest that you:
- Check your blood pressure regularly with a home blood pressure monitor. These are automated electronic monitors and are available at most pharmacies or online.
- Quit smoking and/or using tobacco products.
- Work on controlling anger and managing stress.
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Whats Considered Elevated Blood Pressure
Blood pressure numbers that are higher than 120/80 mm Hg are a warning sign. It means you need to pay attention to your blood pressure and focus on heart-healthy habits.
Although these numbers arent technically considered high blood pressure, youve moved out of the normal range. Elevated blood pressure may turn into high blood pressure, which puts you at an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Elevated blood pressure
When your systolic pressure is between 120 and 129mm Hgand your diastolic pressure is less than 80mm Hg, it means you have elevated blood pressure.
No medications are necessary for elevated blood pressure. But your doctor may talk with you about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, such as getting regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and managing your weight.
You may receive a diagnosis of stage 1 hypertension if:
- your systolic blood pressure is between 130 and 139 mm Hg, or
- your diastolic blood pressure is between 80 and 89 mm Hg
However, the AHA notes that if you get only one reading this high, you may not truly have stage 1 hypertension. What determines the diagnosis of hypertension at any stage is the average of your blood pressure numbers over a period of time.
Your doctor can help you measure and track your blood pressure to confirm whether its too high.
Stage 1 hypertension
If your systolic blood pressure is 130 to 139 mm Hgor your diastolic blood pressure is 80 to 89 mm Hg, its considered stage 1 hypertension.