Blood pressure myths have become so common as the disease is progressing in the American population. While some myths might be close to reality, not everything we read on the internet is credible. There are many things that you should know about BP and its treatment.
Blood pressure is known as a “silent killer” which goes unnoticed years until it starts developing other complications. We need to know the facts well to protect ourselves and take measures to improve the problem and avoid the risk factors that may cause it.
This article will help you to know some of the important facts related to blood pressure and some tips on how to control and manage it.
Blood Pressure Rises As We Age
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is defined as BP that is 140/90 or higher. Usually, the upper number or systolic pressure increases as we age.
About 7% of American adults aged 18 to 39 have hypertension; 32% for those ages 40 to 59, and 65% for those over 60. Part of the reason is that the artery walls become less elastic as we age.
High Blood Pressure Often Has No Symptoms
Your BP can be very high with no symptoms in some cases. The only way you would know is by getting it checked. Your goal is to get a reliable reading.
Blood pressure numbers can vary 30 to 40 points throughout the day. BP should be a 24-hour test that measures the pressure three or four times an hour and every 30 minutes at night.
The Top Number In Your Blood Pressure (systolic) Is The One To Watch
Your blood pressure readings are based on two numbers. The systolic pressure, which is the top number, measures the force of the blood when the heartbeats pump it throughout your body. The diastolic pressure, the bottom number, measures pressure between the beats.
The maximum number is to watch because systolic blood pressure is the peak force that your arteries and other organs experience with each heartbeat.
Doctors Disagree On What The Ideal Systolic Blood Pressure Should Be
Doctors are still debating the normal blood pressure for people over 50. Until recently, a moderate systolic pressure was below 140 millimeters mercury.
Studies showed that people with a systolic pressure of 120 were one-third less likely to have risk of heart disease like heart failure, a nonfatal heart attack, or stroke. These findings encompassed five-year clinical trials.
The Best Blood Pressure Target Is Different For Each Person
Every patient is different. For people with low cardiovascular risk, a higher systolic pressure may be acceptable, or a patient taking three or four BP medicines may not be able to tolerate an additional medication. The best advice is to ask your doctor about what’s right for you.
Healthy Lifestyle Changes Can Help A Lot
Cutting back on salt, eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and following a healthy diet can drop high blood pressure by at least five points. Maintaining a healthy weight also helps. Dropping ten or more pounds from body weight can shave off more than four points from your systolic blood pressure.
Also, researchers found that physical activity like brisk walking and cardio training can reduce systolic pressure by an average of 11 points in people with hypertension. So you see, if you have even moderately elevated BP, healthy changes can mean you won’t need medication. And this would be a worthy goal to attain.
Coffee Can Make Blood Pressure Rise
Researchers have also found that a cup of coffee increases BP by 200 to 300 mg of caffeine. That means that two or three 8-ounce cups of coffee can increase systolic blood pressure by eight points. This increase in pressure can last about three hours, but there are no long-term effects.
Deep Breathing Can Bring Your Blood Pressure Down
Slowing your Breathing to six breasts in 30 seconds has shown that about three points bring down the systolic blood pressure. This may be temporary.
Watching Your Salt Is Essential, Especially As We Age
Salt intake in food can raise blood pressure. Salt reduction has long been controversial because not everyone is salt sensitive. But people tend to pile on more salt, possibly because the sense of taste fades as we age. The federal guideline recommendation for salt is less than 1500 mg of sodium intake in a day for people over 50. This is far less than most Americans typically consume.
Be aware that salt is hidden in processed foods, so check labels and choose low-sodium items. When adding salt, keep in mind that one-quarter of a teaspoon contains 575 milligrams of sodium.
Handgrip Exercises Can Help
Regarding alternative ways to lower blood pressure, researchers confirmed that handgrip exercises could reduce your BP by about 10%. Squeeze the gripper for two minutes for 12 to 15 minutes. It would help if you did this three times a week.
New Meds Are Not Necessarily Better Than The Old Ones
Doctors initially treated high blood pressure with diuretics or what we know as water pills. This is one of the oldest hypertension medications around. They worked by removing the excess sodium and water from the body. Newer medications in the class of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, or ACE, prevent the body from producing hormones that raise BP.
However, researchers show that the newer meds may be no more effective than the diuretics, though they have fewer side effects.
For Some People, One Medication Is Not Enough
If your blood pressure is only moderately elevated, you may need only one remedy to bring it down. However, many people end up taking several drugs. The individual medication will typically lower BP by only a few points. The body gets used to it, so doctors will combine several classes of drugs to reach the optimal effect.
Some Over-the-Counter Meds Can Raise Your Blood Pressure
Many of the cold medications you find on the shelves in the drugstore can increase your BP. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aleve, Advil, and Motrin can also raise blood pressure by six points. This can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease if you take them regularly.
Blood Pressure Can Go Too Low
When people stand up and their blood pressure is not strong enough to pump blood to the brain, they experience orthostatic hypertension. This condition can cause a person to fall, which may cause fractures. Older people are particularly at risk for this phenomenon. So if you’re on a BP medication and have dizziness talk to your doctor; a prescription change may help.
Stick To Your Treatment
Combining lifestyle changes and medication will usually be enough to bring your blood pressure down. Still, once you’ve achieved this, it’s essential to take your antihypertensive medication and follow healthier habits. If you become lazy about taking your medication or stop them altogether, your BP will go back up. It is also essential to monitor your blood pressure regularly.
As we stated before, systolic pressure rises with age. Therefore, most people with high blood pressure periodically need to adjust their medication.
High blood pressure is a major health problem. There are many different treatments available. It is important to remember that all these treatments work together to keep it under control. You should always consult your health care provider when considering any treatment options.
The information provided within this site is strictly for the purposes of information only and is not a replacement or substitute for professional advice, doctors visit or treatment.