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
High Blood Pressure In Adults
Blood pressure is a measurement of the force exerted against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood to your body. Hypertension is the term used to describe high blood pressure.
Untreated high blood pressure can lead to many medical problems. These include heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, eye problems, and other health issues.
Blood pressure readings are given as two numbers. The top number is called systolic blood pressure. The bottom number is called diastolic blood pressure. For example, 120 over 80 .
One or both of these numbers can be too high.
- Normal blood pressure is when your blood pressure is lower than 120/80 mm Hg most of the time.
- High blood pressure is when one or both of your blood pressure readings are higher than 130/80 mm Hg most of the time.
- If the top blood pressure number is between 120 and 130 mm Hg, and the bottom blood pressure number is less than 80 mm Hg, it is called elevated blood pressure.
If you have heart or kidney problems, or you had a stroke, your doctor may want your blood pressure to be even lower than that of people who do not have these conditions.
Causes Of High Blood Pressure
Although the exact cause is unknown, certain conditions, traits or habits may raise your risk for the condition. These are known as risk factors and include:
Non-modifiable risk factors: These factors are irreversible and cannot be changed. The more of these risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing HBP.
- Starting at age 18, ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading at least every two years. If you’re age 40 or older, or you’re 18 to 39 with a high risk of high blood pressure, ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading every year.
- Family history/Genetics
- African Americans and non-white Hispanic Americans are at higher risk for developing high blood pressure than any other group in the U.S.
Modifiable risk factors: These factors can be modified, treated or controlled through medications or lifestyle changes.
- Excessive alcohol consumption over many years.
- Little to no physical activity
- Excessive amounts of salt in diet that excess the recommended amounts of 1,500 to 2,300 mg of sodium per day.
- Long history of smoking and/or drug abuse
- Extreme emotional stress
Other conditions that contribute to developing high blood pressure
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How Is Resistant Hypertension Treated
Treatment options for resistant hypertension or pseudo-resistant hypertension depend on your underlying conditions and how well you tolerate various medications. Treatments include:
- Addressing any conditions that may have caused the hypertension.
- Making lifestyle changes
- Adjusting medications to find your optimal type and dosage
Can High Blood Pressure Be Prevented Or Avoided
If your high blood pressure is caused by lifestyle factors, you can take steps to reduce your risk:
- Reduce your alcohol consumption.
- Learn relaxation methods.
If your high blood pressure is caused by disease or the medicine you take, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to prescribe a different medicine. Additionally, treating any underlying disease can help reduce your high blood pressure.
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Medications For High Blood Pressure
There is a large variety of medicines available to lower and manage high blood pressure. Your doctor may call them antihypertensives, .
These medications do not cure high blood pressure, but they do help manage it. Once you start to take medicines to manage your blood pressure, you may need to take them for the rest of your life. However, the dose of these medicines may change over time.
If you need to take medication, your doctor will advise you on the correct type and dose. Two or more different medications are often needed to manage blood pressure.
Make sure you take your medicines regularly. Some things that may help you remember to take them include:
- Building them into your daily routine by taking them at the same time each day.
- Keeping them somewhere that will remind you such as next to your alarm, or with your coffee or tea.
- Using a weekly pill box.
- Asking a family member or friend to remind you.
- Always carrying a list of your medicines and their doses with you.
- Entering a daily alarm in your mobile phone or download an app to remind you.
Take any blood pressure medicine exactly as prescribed. Dont stop or change your medicine, unless your doctor advises you to.
The Highlight Is Know Your Numbers Week Which Takes Place Every September
1.5 million1.5 million people have had a free blood pressure check during our annual , the UKs biggest blood pressure testing and awareness event.
120/80An ideal blood pressure is under 120/80mmHg. Do you Know Your Numbers? .
6 million6 million people in the UK have high blood pressure and dont know it. Could you
350Every day in the UK, 350 people have a stroke or heart attack that could have been prevented. .
We believe every adult in the UK should know their blood pressure numbers in the same way they know their height and weight. When you Know Your Numbers! you can take steps to look after your blood pressure and lead a long and healthy life.
Wrong Medication Or Wrong Dose
For each person theres an ideal combination of medications and dosages that would best control their hypertension. Some people havent yet received that ideal combination. Its important to work with a doctor who is familiar with the range of medications and who knows what works best for each individual.
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.
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High Blood Pressure And Daily Activity
Check with your doctor before starting a new activity or increasing your level or intensity. Be active safely. Build up your levels of activity gradually.
Try to do at least 30 to 45 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. This can be done in bouts of 10 minutes or longer, if that is more convenient.
Physical activity is any form of bodily movement performed by our large muscle groups. Moderate-intensity physical activity , such as brisk walking or cycling, is enough to provide health benefits.
Walking is a great activity for all ages. You may like to join one of the Heart Foundations community walking groups.
Some types of exercises, such as body presses and lifting heavy weights, can raise your blood pressure. Avoid these if you have high blood pressure.
High Blood Pressure Support
I’m new to this group. I’ve always had normal blood pressure until recently. I just turned 50 and am a female. I also was just diagnosed with IGA Nephropathy which is a chronic kidney disease. I also suffer from hormonal episodes of severe anxiety.
Note: I am making an appointment with my nephrologist next week so I will be seeing a doctor, but I’ve searched the internet with not much explanation on this so hoping someone else might have ideas.
I have a home blood pressure monitor. I have been wavering in the 120sto 130s / 80- 90’s. However, my blood pressure occasionally goes up in the 140’s \ 90s. For some reason I got in the habit of taking it 3 times in a row. It always starts high then usually drops by 10 to 15 points, so by the third reading it’s usually in the teens over low 80s.
The last few days I had a migraine and my blood pressure skyrocketed to 160/97 and later in the day was 117/90. I seem to be very inconsistent.
I’ve heard this can mean signs of heart attack. I just recently had an heart ultrasound and several EKG and my heart looked great. At the time it was eating 150/100. The doctors at the hospital didn’t seem too concerned.
Anyone else have such extreme fluctuations in their reading?
Thank you for taking the time to read this!
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Things That Can Increase Your Risk Of Getting High Blood Pressure
You might be more at risk if you:
- 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
- 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.
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:
- 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.
Good Sleep Can Prevent And Manage High Blood Pressure
Most people experience a dip in blood pressure during the deepest stage of sleep , which is the body’s normal and healthy reaction to sleep. Not having that nighttime dip is a risk factor for heart disease and may increase daytime blood pressure.
Typically people spend 90 minutes to two hours in slow wave sleep per night. A recent study published in Hypertension found that men who got less slow wave sleep each night were a higher risk for hypertension than men who got more deep sleep.
While sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, and age can both affect the amount of deep sleep you get, there are steps you can take to ensure a good night’s sleep. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule and being more active during the day can help improve the quality of your sleep.
What Can I Do To Prevent Or Manage High Blood Pressure
Many people with high blood pressure can lower their blood pressure into a healthy range or keep their numbers in a healthy range by making lifestyle changes. Talk with your health care team about
- Getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week
- Managing stress
In addition to making positive lifestyle changes, some people with high blood pressure need to take medicine to manage their blood pressure. Learn more about medicines for high blood pressure.
Talk with your health care team right away if you think you have high blood pressure or if youve been told you have high blood pressure but do not have it under control.
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Stiffening Of The Arteries
Some physicians consider the most authentic form of pseudo-resistant hypertension to be caused by stiffened brachial arteries that prevent the blood pressure cuff from obtaining a true reading. If your doctor suspects this form of pseudo-resistant hypertension, they might consider other ways to measure your blood pressure.
How Is Fluctuating Blood Pressure Treated
First, a doctor will determine the underlying cause. They will ask about a persons history and discuss their lifestyle and current medications. The doctor may also order or conduct tests.
Medications can lower blood pressure and prevent dangerous fluctuations. A person may also be able to achieve this goal by making changes to their lifestyle.
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Salt Intake And High Blood Pressure
Reducing the amount of salt you eat can also help to manage or even avoid high blood pressure. To help reduce your salt intake:
- Ensure your diet consists of wholefoods including vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, lean meat and poultry, fish and seafood, legumes, unsalted nuts and seeds.
- Avoid packaged and processed foods that are high in salt. You cant see the salt in these foods, so you dont know how much salt you are having. Get into the habit of checking food labels.
- Choose low-salt food where possible. If you cant find low-salt products, those with moderate amounts of salt are ok too. Another simple alternative is to look for labels with low salt, salt reduced or no added salt.
- Avoid adding salt to cooking or at the table flavour meals with herbs and spices instead.
Diagnosis Of High Blood Pressure
The best way to diagnose HBP is to have it measured. A blood pressure reading, given in millimeters of mercury , has two numbers.
- Systolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls during heartbeats.
- Diastolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
Blood pressure measurements fall into four general categories. The American Heart Associations guidelines are as follow:
- Normal blood pressure: A reading of less than 120 and 80
- Elevated blood pressure: A reading ranging from 120 to 129 and below 80
- Stage 1 hypertension: A reading ranging from 130 to 139 or 80 to 89
- Stage 2 hypertension: A reading ranging from 140 or higher or 90
- Hypertensive crisis : A reading higher than 180 and/or 120
*If you have an electronic blood pressure machine and would like to measure your blood pressure at home, please follow The American Heart Associations guidelines:
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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.
Buying A Blood Pressure Instrument To Measure Your Blood Pressure At Home
Blood pressure instruments can be purchased in most pharmacies. Buy a blood pressure instrument that has been approved by the Association for the Advancement in Medical Instrumentation , the British Hypertension Society or the International Protocol . These labels will be marked clearly on the box. If you are unsure whether an instrument is approved, ask your pharmacist for help. Once you have bought the instrument, ask your doctor or pharmacist to check it to make sure the instrument measures your blood pressure accurately.
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Is It Normal For Blood Pressure To Fluctuate
It’s normal for blood pressure to vary somewhat throughout the day. Stress, exercise, and sleep can all make a difference. But if your blood pressure often changes significantly from one healthcare visit to another, there may a problem.
Studies have found that visit-to-visit changes in blood pressure are sometimes linked to a higher risk of heart disease and early death.
This article explains why your blood pressure numbers may be high sometimes and normal other times. It also offers advice about when to see a healthcare provider.
Verywell / Cindy Chung
Heart Attack And Heart Disease
High blood pressure can damage your arteries by making them less elastic, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and leads to heart disease. In addition, decreased blood flow to the heart can cause:
- Chest pain, also called angina.
- Heart attack, which happens when the blood supply to your heart is blocked and heart muscle begins to die without enough oxygen. The longer the blood flow is blocked, the greater the damage to the heart.
- Heart failure, a condition that means your heart cant pump enough blood and oxygen to your other organs.
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Treating High Blood Pressure
Treatment for high blood pressure will depend on your blood pressure levels and your associated risk of developing a cardiovascular disease, such as a heart attack or stroke.
There are seven main risk factors for developing a cardiovascular disease. These are:
- having a high level of cholesterol in your blood
- having a family history of cardiovascular disease .