A New Study Suggests Greater Health Benefits With A Lower
Blood pressure has long been one of the best markers of your health. It is a number you can remember and monitor. High blood pressure is linked to a greater risk of heart attacks and strokes.
About one out of three adults has high blood pressure, which is usually defined as a reading of 140/90 millimeters of mercury or higher.
The first, or upper, number represents the pressure inside the arteries when the heart beats, and the second, or lower, number is the pressure between beats when the heart rests.
Blood pressure rises with age because of increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term buildup of plaque, and the effects of other diseases involving the heart and blood vessels. Typically, more attention is given to the diastolic reading as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
“In fact, for a long time, some physicians felt that a systolic number higher than 140 could be tolerated in older people,” says Dr. Paul Huang, a cardiologist with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. “But both upper and lower numbers are equally important.”
Ups And Downs Of Lower Numbers
This study supports observational studies that have found that lower blood pressure reduces cardiovascular risk.
But what does it take to get to the lower numbers? “On average, the people in the intensive treatment group took three blood pressure medications, while those in the standard treatment group only took two,” says Dr. Huang.
Moreover, the study found that the benefits in reducing heart attacks, strokes, and death were found equally in those older or younger than age 75. “So we can no longer say that a higher blood pressure is okay just because someone’s older,” he says.
But should older men focus on going lower? Is lower than 140/90 good enough, or should you be more aggressive and get that number down as close as possible to 120/80?
“If you currently are on blood pressure medicine, and your pressure is lower than 140/90, you should discuss with your doctor whether you should aim to go even lower,” says Dr. Huang. “There may be additional benefits to further reducing your stroke and heart attack risk.”
Still, there may be some downsides to going lower. For instance, many people may not want to take any additional medication. They may be concerned about battling common side effects, such as extra urination, erection problems, weakness, dizziness, insomnia, constipation, and fatigue. They also may have enough trouble monitoring their current medication without adding more to the mix.
How Can You Manage Your High Blood Pressure
Treatment of high blood pressure often starts with lifestyle changes, including decreasing salt in your diet, losing weight if necessary, stopping smoking, cutting down on alcohol use, and regular exercise.
In addition to lifestyle changes, medications are often used to lower blood pressure. There are several types of medications that treat high blood pressure with each type of medication having benefits and risks that should be carefully weighed by you and your health care provider. Most people take more than one medication in order to bring their blood pressure down to their treatment goal.
Your blood pressure medication should begin to work within days. However, because high blood pressure is a long-lasting medical condition that often has little or no symptoms, remembering to take your medications can be a challenge. Combination medicines, long-acting or once-a-day medications, may be used to decrease the burden of taking numerous medications and help ensure medications regularly. Once started, the medication should be used until your doctor tells you to stop.
Controlling your blood pressure should be part of a healthy living plan and lifelong task. The damage that high blood pressure causes your internal organs does not cause any symptoms until serious damage has been done.
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Can A Freestanding Er Handle My Hypertensive Crisis
Most definitely. At Advance ER, you will find much of the same equipment as in a hospital-based ER, including what is needed to treat a hypertensive crisis, heart attack or stroke.Without the long wait times, you will be comfortable, diagnosed and treated in record time. Our unique Specialists NOW program also makes a cardiologist available* for additional consultation assistance, as needed, he says. Were open 24/7 every day of the year, and youll get a board-certified physician with many years of experience, so dont hesitate to come in if you are concerned about your blood pressure reading or if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms.
When Low Blood Pressure Is An Emergency
If you frequently experience symptoms of low blood pressure, such as dizziness or fainting spells, you should consult a doctor. While low blood pressure, itself, usually isnât fatal, there are serious medical situations where it is considered an emergency, and you should go to the hospital.
âThe likelihood of dying from low blood pressure is low unless it is related to another disease process,â Weinberg says.
For example, a blood infection, or , can result in low blood pressure. Sepsis occurs when the chemicals released by the body to fight an infection trigger widespread inflammation, resulting in blood clotting that reduces blood flow to vital organs, such as your heart, kidneys, and brain. This can progress to septic shock and very low blood pressure, which may be fatal, and should be treated immediately.
Low blood pressure can also be affiliated with Addisonâs disease a disorder in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol, a hormone that helps your body respond to stress. Lack of cortisol production can cause addisonian crisis, which is characterized by low blood pressure and can be fatal without proper treatment.
The treatment for low blood pressure varies depending on the cause. In severe cases, someone might need intravenous therapy to deliver fluids into the veins and raise blood pressure. In critical situations, such as septic shock, doctors may use drug therapies either orally or through an IV to quickly raise blood pressure.
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Common Causes Of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure that develops gradually is called primary hypertension. It may not be possible to know the cause, but there are risk factors associated with it, including these lifestyle choices:
- Unhealthy diet: Too much sodium and not enough of the mineral potassium, which is found in high levels in bananas, potatoes, beans and yogurt, causes your body to retain fluid. Extra fluid in your blood vessels increases pressure within them and, with time, also makes your heart work harder to pump the blood.
- Obesity: Excess fat and weight makes your heart work harder to get blood and oxygen to your body, which can overload your cardiovascular system, leading to high blood pressure.
- Tobacco:Nicotine raises blood pressure and smoke produces carbon dioxide that lowers the oxygen in your blood. To get enough oxygen-rich blood to your body, your heart has to work harder, which also raises your blood pressure.
Excess Alcohol: Drinking raises your blood pressure. Current recommendations are no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two per day for men.
- Inactivity: A sedentary lifestyle can raise your heart rate, which taxes your heart and raises your blood pressure.
When To See A Doctor For High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is often referred to as the silent killer because it has no symptoms, but it can put your health and life at serious risk. Blood pressure measures the force of your blood pushing against your arteries as it circulates in your body. If its high, it can damage the vessels over time, causing tiny tears that trap plaque and lead to blockages. Hypertension increases your risk for heart disease, heart attack, stroke and other organ damage.
More than 100 million Americansalmost 1 in 3 have high blood pressure. If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to control it and avoid serious health consequences.
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What Is High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a medical condition that occurs when your internal blood pressure against your blood vessel walls is regularly too high and strong.
For a person to be considered having high blood pressure, their systolic pressure would need to register regularly above 130, and their diastolic pressure would need to be above 80.
When a person has consistently high blood pressure, it can have an extensive impact on their health heres how:
Outside of these serious side effects, uncontrolled or undetected blood pressure can also lead to a hypertensive crisis this can cause even more urgent problems.
Seeking Emergency Medical Attention
If a person experiences low blood pressure along with concerning symptoms such as a loss of consciousness, mental confusion, and a weak, rapid pulse and breathing pattern they should seek immediate medical attention.
In the emergency room, doctors may ask questions about a persons medical history, medications they may be taking, or any infections or accidents they may have had.
They may ask about or check for symptoms. They may also administer tests to check heart rate and blood pressure, and imaging tests to check the internal body and organs for other issues.
Even if a person is experiencing mild rather than severe symptoms along with low blood pressure, they should still seek guidance from a doctor.
Doctors may want to monitor the symptoms and test the blood pressure themselves to make any necessary diagnosis and administer treatment.
Aside from these events, a person may have low blood pressure and be in otherwise good health.
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What Levels Equal A Hypertensive Crisis
While over time blood pressure can lead to a barrage of urgent medical conditions, when blood pressure enters into a hypertensive crisis state, it can lead to an urgent need for emergency care. For blood pressure to be considered a hypertensive crisis, it needs to quickly rise to a systolic level of 180 or more and a diastolic level of 120 or more.
There are two types of hypertensive crisis, and its essential to know how to approach each one:
- Hypertensive Urgency A hypertensive crisis is considered urgent when it spikes above the 180/120 numbers and stays that way through a second check five minutes later, but there are no other symptoms involved, such as:
- Aortic dissection
When To Seek Emergency Medical Care
Hypertension can sometimes progress to a hypertensive emergency that requires immediate care in a hospital setting. A blood pressure reading higher than 180/120 is widely considered a hypertensive emergency, and it can lead to organ failure or death by skyrocketing the risk of stroke and heart failure.
Not every life-threatening case of hypertension causes noticeable symptoms, but some people may experience shortness of breath, headaches, or nosebleeds. Be sure to call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if you or someone around you is experiencing a hypertensive emergency or symptoms of cardiovascular distress, such as chest pain, trouble breathing, upper body discomfort, or sudden dizziness.
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Where To Get A Blood Pressure Test
You can ask for a blood pressure check. You do not have to wait to be offered one.
- at your GP surgery by a GP, practice nurse, healthcare assistant or self-service machine
- at some pharmacies
- at an NHS Health Check appointment offered to adults aged 40 to 74 in England
- in some workplaces
You can also test your blood pressure at home using a home testing kit.
Signs And Symptoms Of Damage To The Eyes From Dangerously High Blood Pressure
You may have blood vessels inside your eyes burst open and bleed when your blood pressure is dangerously high. You may also have a significant swelling of nerves inside your eyes.
If you have any of the symptoms along with dangerously high blood pressure, you will need hospitalization to prevent further damage to your eyes:
- Sudden onset blurry vision
- Fainting or feeling like you are fainting
- Blood test suggesting damage to the heart muscles
- EKG findings that suggest heart ischemia
- Chest x-ray suggesting new swelling and fluid accumulation in the lungs
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Target Your High Blood Pressure
Once you have been diagnosed with hypertension, remember that high blood pressure can be lowered. For most people, blood pressure readings should be lower than 140/90 mmHg when measured in the doctors office. At home, your blood pressure should generally be below 135/85 mmHg. For those people with diabetes or kidney disease, lower blood pressure is even more important and should be below 130/80 mmHg when measured in the doctors office.
Most people who lead healthy lifestyles do not suffer from high blood pressure. For those with hypertension, following the steps outlined above will lower their blood pressure.
What Are The Symptoms Of Severe Covid
It can be hard to know when your symptoms are a sign of more severe COVID-19 complications. The infection can make some people feel really sick, even when theyâre OK and not in any real danger. And other times, someone may have mild symptoms and not realize their oxygen level is dangerously low.
In fact, low oxygen level is one of the biggest problems with COVID-19. And when this happens, you need medical attention . Your oxygen level might be low if you:
Feel like you are working really hard to breathe
Experience severe chest pain or tightness
Have a bluish or dusky discoloration of your skin, lips, or nail beds
Seem confused or disoriented
Are having difficulty staying awake
But COVID-19 can sometimes worsen without the person having a significant change in their symptoms. This can especially be true for older individuals, or those who are used to feeling short of breath, such as people with asthma or COPD. So people with risk factors for severe disease may need to be a little more vigilant.
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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.
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Treatment Of High Blood Pressure
Treatment for HBP depends on its severity and associated risks of developing other diseases. Treatment options include:
- Make and keep appointments to see your doctor for routine check-ups and follow-up tests.
- ACE inhibitors will help blood vessels relax and open up, leading to a lower blood pressure.
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers will help blood vessels open up, leading to a lower blood pressure.
- Beta blockers will help reduce your blood pressure.
- Alpha blockers will help reduce the arteries resistance, relaxing the muscle tone of the vascular walls.
- Alpha-2 receptor agonists will help reduce blood pressure by decreasing the activity of the sympathetic portion of the involuntary nervous system.
- Calcium channel blockers will help relax and open up narrowed blood vessels, reduce heart rate and lower blood pressure.
- Combined alpha and beta blockers are used as an IV drip for those patients experiencing a hypertensive crisis.
- Central agonists will help decrease the blood vessels ability to tense up or contract.
- Diuretics water pills will help reduce the amount of fluid retention in your body.
- Peripheral adrenergic inhibitors will help reduce blood pressure by blocking neurotransmitters in the brain.
- Vasodilators will help the muscle in the walls of the blood vessels to relax, allowing the vessel to dilate.
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So You Have High Blood Pressure What Else Could Be Wrong
If you have high blood pressure, get checked for diabetes and high cholesterol. Most people who have high blood pressure also have some of the other risks for heart disease and stroke, such as not getting enough physical activity, having unhealthy eating habits, smoking, being overweight or drinking too much alcohol. Ask your doctor to test your kidney function through a blood and urine test, and through the electrolytes in your blood kidney problems can cause high blood pressure.
Having A Blood Pressure Test
A stethoscope, arm cuff, pump and dial was normally used to measure your blood pressure, but automatic devices with sensors and digital displays are commonly used nowadays.
It’s best to sit down with your back supported and legs uncrossed for at least 5 minutes before the test.
You’ll usually need to roll up your sleeves or remove any long-sleeved clothing so the cuff can be placed around your upper arm.
Try to relax and avoid talking while the test is carried out.
During the test:
- you hold out one of your arms so it’s at the same level as your heart, and the cuff is placed around it your arm should be supported in this position with a cushion or the arm of a chair, for example
- the cuff is pumped up to restrict the blood flow in your arm this squeezing may feel a bit uncomfortable, but only lasts a few seconds
- the pressure in the cuff is slowly released and detectors sense vibrations in your arteries a doctor will use a stethoscope to detect these if your blood pressure is measured manually
- the pressure in the cuff is recorded at 2 points as the blood flow starts to return to your arm these measurements are used to give your blood pressure reading
You can usually find out your result straight away, either from the healthcare professional carrying out the test or on the digital display.
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