Health Conditions

Blood Pressure: How High Is Too High?

A Person Measuring His Own Blood Pressure Using a Wrist Blood Pressure Meter

Hypertension is extremely frequent. The U.S., nearly 50 percent of people over 20 suffer from high blood pressure or are taking medications to manage it. This increases the chance of having other serious health issues, like stroke, heart disease and kidney disease and often does not cause any symptoms. Therefore, it’s essential to have your blood pressure examined.

Good news that high blood pressure is treatable through lifestyle modifications and medications. Read on to learn more about the significance of your blood pressure readings indicate and what you should do in the event that your blood pressure is elevated.

What constitutes high blood pressure?

Blood pressure that is high is also known as hypertension occurs because the heart pump blood to the walls of the artery at higher pressures than usual. The condition doesn’t trigger any symptoms and it’s the sole way to determine whether it’s elevated is to test it. It’s difficult to diagnose from just one test. It’s necessary to have at minimum two or more blood pressure readings in two or more distinct days to determine whether you’ve got hypertension. This is due to the fact that your blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day and over the course of the day according to what you’re doing. It could increase for a brief period after:

  • Caffeine
  • Smoking
  • Exercise
  • Afraid or Stress

What do blood pressure numbers mean?

A blood pressure reading is comprised of 2 numbers like 120/80. The first number is your systolic blood pressure , and the other number is the diastolic pressure.

  • Blood pressure systolic First number (or the highest number). It is the amount of pressure that occurs when your heart pump blood to the rest of the body.
  • Diastolic blood pressure Second number (or the bottom number). The pressure is at which blood flows back from the heart.

The pressures can be measured using millimeters (mmHg). This is due to the fact that blood pressure was previously determined by a machine which was filled with a column mercury. Nowadays blood pressure can be measured with an automated machine at home or at your doctor’s office. The blood pressure can be measured manually, using an inflatable cuff, stethoscope as well as a gauge manual.

What blood pressure is too high?

There are various categories for normal high, elevated, or normal blood pressure, as per the 2017 Guidelines of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.

  • Normal Systolic less than120, diastolic less than 80
  • High: Diastolic and systolic lower than 80
  • Hyper (hypertension): systolic over 130 and diastolic higher than 80

High blood pressure (hypertension) If one or both numbers on your blood pressure reading is high.

The hypertension category is further subdivided into different stages:

  • 1. Stage: Diastolic 70-89, systolic 130-133.
  • 2. Stage: Sistolic blood pressure is at or above 140 , diastolic level at or over 90

These stages help decide on the best method to manage hypertension. For instance, if your blood pressure is at stage 1, you might not be required to treat immediately with medication.

A blood pressure reading that is an systolic reading of or over 180 and a diastolic read over 120 is extremely high. This is known as hypertensive emergency. Even when your blood pressure is that high, you might not be experiencing any signs or symptoms. In the absence of symptoms, this can be known as hypertensive urgent.

In certain cases high blood pressure may cause damage to other organs within the body, causing symptoms. This is known as hypertensive emergency and some complications could be life-threatening. The affected organs include:

  • Eyes
  • Kidneys
  • Heart
  • Brain

Depending on the organ affected, you could experience various symptoms. For instance, if your chest is affected by heart disease, you could be experiencing chest discomfort. Other signs to be aware of include:

  • Vision shifts
  • Confusion
  • Breathing shortness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Extreme back pain
  • Tingling or weakness
  • Speech changes

Testing for blood and other substances are usually used to detect and treat hypertensive emergency situations. Treatment involves lowering blood pressure by taking medications. How fast blood pressure decreases and the type of medication used will depend on the organs affected.

If you notice blood pressure that is over 180/120 mmHg, do not ignore it even if you’re good. It is important to contact your healthcare doctor immediately or visit the nearest emergency room.

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