High Blood Pressure - Hypertension

This health problem occurs when the flow of blood causes too much pressure on the walls of arteries. This condition is also called hypertension.

This health problem occurs when the flow of blood causes too much pressure on the walls of arteries. This condition is also called hypertension.

High blood pressure occurs when the flow of blood causes too much pressure on the walls of arteries. It is also called hypertension. When your blood pressure is measured, the top number indicates the pressure when your heart is contracting (known as systolic). The bottom number indicates the pressure when your heart is relaxed (known as diastolic). The Seventh Joint National Committee (JNC7) previously listed the following classifications for hypertension.

  • High blood pressure occurs when your blood pressure is above 140/90 most of the time.
  • Pre-hypertension occurs when your blood pressure is 120/80 or above, but lower than 140/90.

These classifications are typically based on a series of blood pressure readings (two or more readings during two or more visits) and not a single measurement. Recently these classifications have been updated (see below about JNC8.)

In February 2014 The Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8) published new guidelines for the management of high blood pressure.

  • For the general population aged 60 years and older, the goal of treatment is a blood pressure below 150/90.
  • For the general population younger than 60 years, the goal of treatment is a blood pressure below 140/90.
  • A blood pressure below 140/90 is also the recommendation for people aged 18 years or older with long term kidney disease or diabetes.

The numbers above do not imply that these blood pressures are either “normal” or desirable. Most healthcare providers would say that it is desirable to have lower blood pressure than the numbers identified above. These guidelines are to decide when blood pressure should be monitored and when treatment should be considered. They also have some new medication recommendations. However, lifestyle interventions are still strongly recommended throughout treatment. Lifestyle interventions include:

  • Exercising and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Watching what you eat
  • Quitting smoking

In most cases, high blood pressure does not cause any symptoms and is often found during a routine physical examination. Because there are no symptoms, people can get complications from high blood pressure before they know they have the condition. Symptoms more often occur when the blood pressure is very high. Some of these signs and symptoms could include:

  • A severe headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Changes in vision
  • Nosebleeds

If it you have high blood pressure, here are some things you should know:

  • Regular physical activity, eating a heart-healthy diet, quitting smoking, limiting your alcohol and salt, reducing stress and maintaining a healthy weight can help control your blood pressure. It can also improve a variety of other medical conditions.
  • Many people with high blood pressure are also at risk for other conditions. These include high cholesterol, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, heart disease and stroke. Your healthcare provider may check for those conditions and let you know how to reduce your risk for getting them.
  • Check with your healthcare provider before taking over-the-counter medications.

Be an active participant in your healthcare by having preventive care visits with your healthcare provider.

  • Bring a copy of your medical history (past illnesses, surgeries, and hospitalizations).
  • Make a list of your medications (including over-the-counter).
  • Write down any questions, symptoms or concerns you want to talk about.
  • If your healthcare provider prescribes a drug to lower your blood pressure, ask for a generic drug. If your doctor says that he prefers a brand name drug, ask why a generic medication is not right for you.Here are some questions to ask your healthcare provider.
  • What is my diagnosis and what treatment are you recommending? Are there any alternatives?
  • What medications are recommended? What are the possible side effects?
  • What type of diet should I consume? What about the use of salt?
  • What tests do I need? What is the reason for those tests? Will the test results change my treatment plan?
  • What are my follow-up plans and what symptoms should I report before my next appointment?

Source UHC.com

Also known as:

High Blood Pressure - Hypertension
High Blood Pressure
Elevated Blood Pressure
Blood Pressure

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