Blood Pressure



Blood Pressure is the measurement of force applied to the arteries to push blood throughout the body. The heart is responsible for generating this force needed to continue pumping the blood. Having high blood pressure (HBP) not only puts stress on the heart but also can affect the lungs, brain, kidneys, and the blood vessels. A normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. Any consistent measurements higher than the norm is called hypertension, or high blood pressure.

Risk Factors:

  • Age
  • Race – African Americans are more likely than any other race to be have HBP
  • Family history
  • Little or no exercise
  • Smoking
  • High amounts of salt in the diet – those with HBP should intake less than 1500mg daily
  • Little or no potassium in the diet
  • Little or no vitamin D in the diet
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Stress
  • High cholesterol

There are many risk factors that are linked to being diagnosed with HBP. By changing your diet or lifestyle, you can limit your risk for hypertension. Keeping your blood pressure in a healthy range can ensure that your risk is reduced for heart attack, stroke, kidney and/or heart failure.

For those who have already been diagnosed by a physician with HBP, it is very important to not only diligently take any medications he/she has prescribed you, but to also change your lifestyle. Lifestyle changes such as creating a more healthier diet, exercising on a consistent basis, stopping or decreasing smoking or excessive drinking can help immensely in keeping your blood pressure within a manageable state.  HBP can permanently damage your heart, kidneys, eyes and your brain. Having uncontrolled or poorly controlled blood pressure can cause a number of harmful dangers to your body without you even knowing before it is too late.

Knowing your blood pressure is very important, those with HBP especially, should have a home device and be capable to test their blood pressure daily. Blood pressure machines are readily available at all pharmacies with some offering free blood pressure readings. The process is very simple and the machines are easy to use. For more information on blood pressure machines, such as how to use or how to prepare, please feel free to speak with one of our pharmacists.

References: 

Dugdale, David C. “Blood Pressure Measurement.” MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine/National Institute of Health. 20 June 2011. Web. 18 July 2012.

“Blood Pressure Testing and Measurement.” Lexicomp. Sept. 2011. Web. 18 July 2012.

“What Is High Blood Pressure.” American Heart Association. 4 April 2012. Web. 15 July 2012.

“High blood pressure (hypertension).” MayoClinic. 24 Jan. 2012. Web. 14 July 2012.




No Pressure…. But Let’s Lower your Blood Pressure!

 If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your heart is working overtime. Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure not only raises the risk of heart disease. It also increases risks to your arteries, brain, kidneys, and eyes.1

Blood pressure measurements give you two readings: the top number is the pressure in your arteries when your heart pumps blood. The bottom number is the pressure in arteries between beats.2

If you don’t know what your blood pressure is, it’s time to find out. Bottom line? High blood pressure can be a silent killer. 1What increases blood pressure? As usual, certain risks are outside your control. That includes genetics, age, and a family history of hypertension. In some cases, certain medications can raise blood pressure. Let me look over a list of your medications to make sure that’s not true for you.3

In most cases, though, doctors don’t know the exact cause. What they do know is that making lifestyle changes can make a big difference.3

Here are some things you can do:

  1. Lose a few. Even 5 to 10 pounds can make a difference in blood pressure. Studies have also found that belly fat may be the kind that’s most likely linked to high blood pressure.5
  2. Exercise. Try to exercise 30 to 60 minutes more days of the week than not. You may see a change in your numbers within just a few weeks.
  3. Make a DASH for it. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. Go easy with foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol.
  4. Limit salt, alcohol, and caffeine. Read food labels, eat fewer processed foods, and don’t add salt to your food. Track your habits so you can see exactly how much alcohol and caffeine you drink each week.

Small amounts of alcohol can actually lower your blood pressure. But more than moderate amounts can do just the opposite.

Likewise, caffeine can also boost blood pressure. Check your pressure 30 minutes after you drink a cup of coffee and see if it’s more than 10 points higher than at other times of day.

5. Go smoke-free. Smoking can be a tough habit to kick. If that’s true for you, get help to quit for good. And, remember: Even second-hand smoke isn’t harmless.

6. Chill out. Easier said than done, I know. But stress can temporarily boost your blood pressure. You know better than anyone what helps you relax. Try to build that into your daily (or weekly) routine.

If your doctor gives you medication for high blood pressure, take it exactly as prescribed. But be patient. It can take a while to get your numbers where they need to be. You may also need to try more than one medicine. There are many classes of high blood pressure drugs, and it can get confusing. As you know, I’m here as a resource.

You can’t feel blood pressure, so there’s only one way to know medicine or a lifestyle change is working: Consider buying a blood pressure cuff from our store so you can regularly check your blood pressure.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

Sources

1. Mayo Clinic: “High blood pressure dangers: Hypertension’s effects on your body.” Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20045868 Accessed October 23, 2014.

2. Merckengage: “What Is High Blood Pressure?” Available at: http://www.merckengage.com/common/article.aspx?id=528 Accessed October 23, 2014.

3. WebMD: “Causes of High Blood Pressure.” Available at: http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/blood-pressure-causes Accessed October 23, 2014.

4. Mayo Clinic: “10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication.” Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20046974 Accessed October 23, 2014.

5. AHA: “Small weight gain can raise blood pressure in healthy adults.” Available at: http://newsroom.heart.org/news/small-weight-gain-can-raise-blood-pressure-in-healthy-adults Accessed October 23, 2014.

6. AHA: “Keeping High Blood Pressure Under Control.” Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/PreventionTreatmentofHighBloodPressure/Keeping-High-Blood-Pressure-Under-Control_UCM_460131_Article.jsp Accessed October 23, 2014.