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90 62 blood pressure: High-Flavanol Diet Linked to Lower Blood Pressure

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High-Flavanol Diet Linked to Lower Blood Pressure

Eating lots of foods with flavanols — antioxidants found in certain fruits, veggies, tea, and cocoa — may be good for your blood pressure, according to a study published in October 2020 in Scientific Reports.

Researchers examined data on blood pressure and cardiovascular disease as well as results from urine tests, looking for biomarkers of flavan-3-ol — a substance that indicates how much flavanol is in the diet — for more than 25,000 adults in the U.K.

Systolic blood pressure — the “top number,” which shows how much pressure blood exerts on artery walls when the heart beats — was about 1.9 millimeters of mercury (mmHG) lower in men and about 2.5 mmHG lower in women with the highest flavanol intake than it was among their counterparts with the lowest flavanol intake.

Differences in blood pressure associated with a high-flavanol diet were more pronounced in older adults and in people diagnosed with hypertension than in younger individuals and those with normal blood pressure, the study also found.

“Our study shows for the first time that flavanols consumed as part of the normal diet are associated with lower blood pressure,” says senior study author Gunter Kuhnle of the department of food and nutritional sciences at the University of Reading in the U.K.

Pros and Cons of This Study Design

One advantage of this study is that it used urine tests to estimate how much flavonal people had in their diets — many other studies looking at health benefits of various eating patterns rely instead on food diaries or surveys that aren’t always an accurate picture of how people really eat, Kuhnle and colleagues write. In those cases, people often report healthier eating habits than they really have.

Another strength of using biomarkers instead of self-reported dietary information is that the amount of flavanols in a particular food or drink can vary. For example, there can be anywhere from 10 to 330 milligrams (mg) of flavanols in 100 grams (g) of tea, the researchers point out.

“Using nutritional biomarkers to estimate the intake of bioactive food compounds has long been seen as the gold standard for research, as it allows intake to be measured objectively,” Kuhnle says.

The biggest limitation of the study is that results from this study in the U.K. — where tea is the main source of dietary flavanols — may not reflect what would happen in other populations where people tend to favor different foods and beverages.

An additional limitation is that researchers looked at urine tests for flavanol intake at only a single point in time, and it’s possible that eating habits changed over time in ways that might impact blood pressure or cardiovascular disease risk, the researchers point out.

It’s also worth noting that the study was funded by candymaker Mars Inc., where two of the authors work.

What Other Studies Say About Flavanols, Diet, and Blood Pressure

Earlier studies have found flavanols may help reduce stiffness in arteries, cholesterol, blood pressure, and the risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease, according to a review published in June 2018 in Molecular Aspects of Medicine. In particular, this review linked flavanols in cocoa and tea with these heart-healthy benefits.

The blood pressure reduction seen with flavanols in the current study is comparable to what some earlier research found with two heart-healthy diets, the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, Kuhnle says.

A Mediterranean diet emphasizes consumption of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts, and olive oil and other healthy fats, according to the Mayo Clinic. It also advises dairy in moderation, and limited red and processed meats. The DASH diet takes these ideas further, by recommending the number of servings per week for different foods and limiting sodium intake.

One study, published in 2013 in BMC Medicine, found that following a Mediterranean diet reduced diastolic blood pressure — the “bottom number,” which indicates how much pressure blood exerts on artery walls when the heart rests between beats — by 1. 5 mmHg. This trial didn’t find a connection between the Mediterranean diet and systolic blood pressure, however.

An older study, from the New England Journal of Medicine, found that when people tried to cut their sodium intake to the lowest level possible, following a DASH diet reduced systolic blood pressure more than eating in other ways — by 11.5 mmHg more for people with hypertension and by 7.1 mmHg more for people without hypertension. When people tried to reduce sodium intake from high levels to intermediate levels, the DASH diet reduced systolic blood pressure by 2.1 mmHg.

“A sustained 2 mmHg reduction in blood pressure would have a large benefit on a population level — so from a public health perspective, that is a meaningful number,” says Deepak Bhatt, MD, MPH, executive director of interventional cardiovascular programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart & Vascular Center and a professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

“However, for an individual, that would be less than what some people will experience with salt restriction or specifically with the Mediterranean or DASH diets,” says Dr. Bhatt, who wasn’t involved in the new flavanol study.

What Flavanol-Rich Foods Are Best for Lowering Blood Pressure?

Flavanols are part of a large family of compounds found in plants such as fruit, vegetables, beans, grains, and nuts, says Samantha Heller, RD, a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Health in New York City, who wasn’t involved in the current study.

“In foods, these compounds have been found to confer many health benefits, including reducing the risk of certain diseases like cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and certain cancers,” Heller says. “They act as powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.”

To get the benefits of flavanols from sources such as cocoa and tea, it’s best to have unprocessed forms without lots of added sugar, cream, and other additives, Heller advises. This is especially true for cocoa and chocolate.

People who want to use diet to help lower their blood pressure should think of increasing flavanols as part of an overall healthy eating pattern, Heller advises.

“We eat foods, not single nutrients, and it is important to note that our dietary patterns play a big role in our intake of flavanols and other healthy plant compounds,” Heller says. “Adopting the DASH or Mediterranean dietary pattern is a great way of increasing one’s intake of flavanols as well as fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other healthy plant chemicals, and to help reduce blood pressure and the risk of other chronic diseases.”

Blood pressure chart: What your reading means

This blood pressure chart can help you figure out if your blood pressure is at a healthy level or if you’ll need to take some steps to improve your numbers.

Your total blood pressure reading is determined by measuring your systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Systolic blood pressure, the top number, measures the force your heart exerts on the walls of your arteries each time it beats. Diastolic blood pressure, the bottom number, measures the force your heart exerts on the walls of your arteries in between beats.

Blood pressure readings fall into four general categories, ranging from normal to stage 2 high blood pressure (hypertension). The level of your blood pressure determines what kind of treatment you may need. To get an accurate blood pressure measurement, your doctor should evaluate your readings based on the average of two or more blood pressure readings at three or more office visits.

Here’s a look at the four blood pressure categories and what they mean for you. If your systolic and diastolic readings fall into two different categories, your correct blood pressure category is the higher category. For example, if your blood pressure reading is 125/85 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), you have stage 1 hypertension.

Top number (systolic) in mm Hg And/or Bottom number (diastolic) in mm Hg Your category* What to do†

*Ranges may be lower for children and teenagers. Talk to your child’s doctor if you’re concerned your child has high blood pressure.

†These recommendations address high blood pressure as a single health condition. If you also have heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease or certain other conditions, you may need to treat your blood pressure more aggressively.

Below 120 and Below 80 Normal blood pressure Maintain or adopt a healthy lifestyle.
120-129 and Below 80 Elevated blood pressure Maintain or adopt a healthy lifestyle.
130-139 or 80-89 Stage 1 high blood pressure (hypertension) Maintain or adopt a healthy lifestyle. Talk to your doctor about taking one or more medications.
140 or higher or 90 or higher Stage 2 high blood pressure (hypertension) Maintain or adopt a healthy lifestyle. Talk to your doctor about taking more than one medication.

If you are an adult with a 10 percent or higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years, or if you have chronic kidney disease, diabetes or coronary artery disease, your treatment goal is less than 130/80 mm Hg. If you’re a healthy adult age 65 or older, your treatment goal is also less than 130/80 mm Hg.

If your blood pressure is normal, maintaining or adopting a healthy lifestyle can prevent or delay the onset of high blood pressure or other health problems. If your blood pressure isn’t normal, a healthy lifestyle — oftentimes along with medication — can help bring it under control and reduce your risk of life-threatening complications.

Feb. 03, 2021

Show references

  1. Whelton PK, et al. 2017 ACC/AHA/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/AGS/APhA/ASH/ASPC/NMA/PCNA guideline for the prevention, detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Clinical Practice Guidelines. Hypertension. In press. Accessed Dec. 28, 2017.
  2. Understanding blood pressure readings. American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/understanding-blood-pressure-readings#.WjqPL9jrvcs. Accessed Jan. 25, 2021.
  3. Carey RM, et al. Prevention, detection, evaluation, and management of high blood pressure in adults: Synopsis of the 2017 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association hypertension guideline. 2018; doi:10.7326/M17-3203.
  4. Taler SJ. Initial treatment of hypertension. The New England Journal of Medicine. 2018; doi:10.1056/NEJMcp1613481.

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Reading the new blood pressure guidelines

The definition for what is considered high blood pressure has been tightened. Here’s what you need to know.

If you didn’t have high blood pressure before, there’s a good chance you do now.

In 2017, new guidelines from the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and nine other health organizations lowered the numbers for the diagnosis of hypertension (high blood pressure) to 130/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and higher for all adults. The previous guidelines set the threshold at 140/90 mm Hg for people younger than age 65 and 150/80 mm Hg for those ages 65 and older.

This means 70% to 79% of men ages 55 and older are now classified as having hypertension. That includes many men whose blood pressure had previously been considered healthy. Why the change?

Behind the numbers

“Blood pressure guidelines are not updated at regular intervals. Instead, they are changed when sufficient new evidence suggests the old ones weren’t accurate or relevant anymore,” says Dr. Paul Conlin, an endocrinologist with Harvard-affiliated VA Boston Healthcare System and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “The goal now with the new guidelines is to help people address high blood pressure — and the problems that may accompany it like heart attack and stroke — much earlier.”

The new guidelines stem from the 2017 results of the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT), which studied more than 9,000 adults ages 50 and older who had systolic blood pressure (the top number in a reading) of 130 mm Hg or higher and at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The study’s aim was to find out whether treating blood pressure to lower the systolic number to 120 mm Hg or less was superior to the standard target of 140 mm Hg or less. The results found that targeting a systolic pressure of no more than 120 mm Hg reduced the chance of heart attacks, heart failure, or stroke over a three-year period.

More than blood pressure

The new guidelines have other changes, too. First, they don’t offer different recommendations for people younger or older than age 65. “This is because the SPRINT study looked at all patients regardless of age and didn’t break down groups above or below a certain age,” says Dr. Conlin.

The guidelines also redefined the various categories of hypertension. It eliminated the category of prehypertension, which had been defined as systolic blood pressure of 120 to 139 mm Hg or diastolic pressure (the lower number in a reading) of 80 to 89 mm Hg. Instead, people with those readings are now categorized as having either elevated pressure (120 to 129 systolic and less than 80 diastolic) or Stage 1 hypertension (130 to 139 systolic or 80 to 89 diastolic).

A reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher is considered Stage 2 hypertension, and anything higher than 180/120 mm Hg is hypertensive crisis.

Check your blood pressure at home

The new guidelines note that blood pressure should be measured on a regular basis and encourage people to use home blood pressure monitors. Monitors can range from $40 to $100 on average, but your insurance may cover part or all of the cost. Measure your blood pressure a few times a week and see your doctor if you notice any significant changes. Here are some tips on how to choose and use a monitor.

Choosing

  • Select a monitor that goes around your upper arm. Wrist and finger monitors are not as precise.
  • Select an automated monitor, which has a cuff that inflates itself.
  • Look for a digital readout that is large and bright enough to see clearly.
  • Consider a monitor that also plugs into your smartphone to transfer the readings to an app, which then creates a graph of your progress. Some devices can send readings wirelessly to your phone.

Using

  • Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages 30 minutes beforehand.
  • Sit quietly for five minutes with your back supported and your legs uncrossed.
  • Support your arm so your elbow is at or near heart level.
  • Wrap the cuff over bare skin.
  • Don’t talk during the measurement.
  • Leave the deflated cuff in place, wait a minute, then take a second reading. If the readings are close, average them. If not, repeat again and average the three readings.
  • Keep a record of your blood pressure readings, including the time of day.

What should you do?

If you had previously been diagnosed with high blood pressure, the new guidelines don’t affect you too much, says Dr. Conlin, as you still need to continue your efforts to lower it through medication, diet, exercise, and weight loss. “However, based on new information in the guidelines, your doctor may propose treating your blood pressure to a lower level,” he says.

The larger issue is that many men ages 65 and older suddenly find themselves diagnosed with elevated or high blood pressure, since the new normal is a whopping 20 points lower than before. Does this mean an automatic prescription for blood pressure drugs? Not necessarily.

“They should consult with their doctor about first adjusting lifestyle habits, such as getting more exercise, losing weight, and following a heart-healthy diet like the DASH or Mediterranean diet,” says Dr. Conlin.

Medications are recommended to lower blood pressure in Stage 1 hypertension if you’ve already had a heart attack or stroke or if your 10-year risk of a heart attack is higher than 10%. (You can find your 10-year estimation at www.cvriskcalculator.com.) For others with Stage 1 hypertension, lifestyle changes alone are recommended.

“Overall, the new guidelines may help people get more involved with monitoring their blood pressure, which can hopefully prevent complications from hypertension,” says Dr. Conlin.

 

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Hypertension symptoms & causes in children

What is hypertension?

Hypertension means “high blood pressure.” This refers to how hard the blood is pushing against the walls of the artery through which it flows—not how quickly it flows. In hypertension, the level of pressure is higher than normal.

How is blood pressure measured?

Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). A typical normal blood pressure in an adult is 120/80 mm Hg, or “120 over 80.” The top number refers to the pressure when the heart is pushing blood out through the arteries (systolic). The bottom number refers to the pressure when the heart is at rest—“between beats” (diastolic).

It’s easy to tell whether an adult has hypertension, because there’s a standard set of measurements:

  • Normal blood pressure—systolic < 120 mmHg and diastolic < 80 mm Hg
  • Pre-hypertension—systolic 120-139 mmHg or diastolic 80-89 mmHg
  • Stage 1 hypertension—systolic 140-159 mmHg or diastolic 90-99 mmHg
  • Stage 2 hypertension—systolic ≥160 or diastolic ≥100 mmHg

But it’s harder with children. That’s because there are no universal cut-offs as there are for adults; instead, whether a child has hypertension depends on how his blood pressure compares to his peers (determined by gender, height, and age).

  • Pre-hypertension—90th to 95th percentile
  • Stage 1 hypertension—95th – 99th (plus 5 mm mercury)
  • Stage 2 hypertension—anything higher than 99th plus 5 mm mercury

How common is hypertension in children?

Hypertension is becoming increasingly common in children and adolescents. A recent study that looked at 15,000 adolescents found that nearly one in five had hypertension. And there’s reason to believe that hypertension is vastly underdiagnosed in children, since:

  • it can be difficult to measure in infants and young children
  • it’s sometimes challenging to identify
  • it’s often thought of as not something that really affects kids

The rise in the number of children with primary hypertension in the United States is thought to correlate with the rise of obesity.

What complications are associated with hypertension?

While kids with hypertension are unlikely to have heart attacks and strokes, it still has significant risks. Hypertension causes changes in the structures of the blood vessels and heart. Since hypertension in children has historically been understudied, there isn’t a lot of data about exactly what these changes mean. But we do know that in adults, hypertension increases the chance of complications in the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys. There’s also compelling evidence that some of these changes are seen in children with high blood pressure.

These changes affect:

Blood vessels—high blood pressure can damage blood vessels throughout the body, which makes it harder for organs to work efficiently.

Kidneys—if the blood vessels in the kidneys are damaged, they may stop removing waste and extra fluid from the body. This extra fluid can raise blood pressure even more.

Other organs—if left untreated, hypertension makes it harder for blood to reach many different parts of the body, including the eyes and the brain, and can lead to blindness and strokes.

Can primary hypertension be prevented?

Pediatricians are making great efforts to prevent obesity and stem the tide of problems that accompany it. We believe that promoting healthy lifestyle choices will help combat this trend and will go a long way towards preventing primary hypertension in children (and keep adults healthier, too).

Some things are being done—nutritional information is being made more readily available, there’s one push to provide healthy options in schools and another to remove soft drinks from them—but still, it often comes down to families making the right decisions. We are dedicated to educating families to assist with appropriate dietary and activity choices to improve overall health and reduce the risk of hypertension.

What is “white coat hypertension”?

“White coat hypertension” is when a child’s blood pressure readings are high at the doctor’s office (mostly because she’s anxious, which can cause blood pressure to rise), but normal outside of the office (for example at home or at school).

This is pretty common in kids. By some estimations, between 30 and 40 percent of kids who have high blood pressure in the office actually have white-coat hypertension.

White coat hypertension is still a risk. Everyone’s blood pressure changes from time to time—it’s lower when you’re asleep, for example­­­­­—but if a child’s blood pressure continually rises when she’s anxious (such as before a test), it can be sign of high blood pressure at other times and potentially cause the same kinds of damage that standard hypertension causes.

White coat hypertension is diagnosed by taking the child’s blood pressure outside of the doctor’s office. This can be done in different ways:

  • Some parents feel comfortable doing it at home.
  • Sometimes we make arrangements for a school nurse to check the child’s blood pressure.
  • Your child’s doctor might recommend that she wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitoring device—a blood pressure cuff attached to a small device that sits on her belt , and measures her blood pressure at regular intervals over the course of 24 hours. This device is about the size of a deck of cards and is usually tolerated very well.

If your child is diagnosed with white coat hypertension, her doctor may still want to follow her, since some children with white coat hypertension will develop actual hypertension in the future.

Causes of hypertension in children

1. Primary hypertension

Primary hypertension means that the hypertension does not seem to be caused by some other underlyng medical condition. Many doctors think that the incidence of childhood or adolescent hypertension has been rising along with the obesity epidemic. The majority of teens and children over age 6 with hypertension have a family history of hypertension and/or are overweight.

2. Secondary hypertension

Secondary hypertension is caused by a known underlying medical condition. Of these, about

  • 80 percent of children have some kind of kidney disease or blood vessel abnormalities
  • 5 percent have an endocrinological disorder
  • 2 to 5 percent have heart disease

Hypertension in infants with hypertension almost always has a secondary cause. In addition, premature infants have a higher incidence of hypertension.

Among kids with hypertension, especially those who are very young, secondary hypertension is more common than primary hypertension. But among children who are older than 6 to 8 years old, the ratio of primary to secondary hypertension is approaching 50/50.

Signs and symptoms of hypertension

Often, kids and teens with pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension won’t show any symptoms at all. If your child has stage 2 hypertension, she might experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • headaches
  • loss of vision
  • double-vision
  • chest pain
  • abdominal pain
  • breathing problems

An infant with stage 2 hypertension may seem irritable, not be feeding properly, or vomiting. Sometimes these infants are diagnosed with “failure to thrive.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Hypertension

Q: If left untreated, does hypertension get worse?

A: It’s hard to say. Researchers are starting to see that kids and adolescents with pre-hypertension are more likely to develop stage 1 hypertension, but we don’t know if  or when stage 1 hypertension will progress to stage 2.

Q: Can hypertension be cured?

A: In some cases, secondary hypertension can be “fixed.” For example, if:

  • it’s caused by a narrowing in a blood vessel that the doctors are able to widen
  • it’s caused by a rare endocrine tumor that doctors are able to treat successfully

There are also cases in which hypertension might be transient; for example, if it’s caused by a temporary inflammation of the filters in the kidney.

Even when hypertension can’t be “fixed,” it can almost always be well-controlled, with diet and exercise and/or medication.

Q: If my child is being treated for hypertension, what should I watch out for?

A: Keep an eye out for:

  • chest pains
  • severe headaches that don’t seem to respond to at-home treatment
  • changes in vision
  • nausea
  • swelling of hands and feet
  • shortness of breath with limited exertion
  • changes in her urine (such as lack of urine production, urine that is brown or tea-colored)

Call your child’s doctor if she experiences any of these symptoms.

Q: Will my child need to go on medication?

A: Only a fraction of kids with hypertension require medication. Frequently, it’s treated with diet and exercise modification first. And if the child is overweight, every kilogram (around 2 pounds) of weight she loses, her blood pressure could bring her blood pressure down by about a point.

Q: Will my child have hypertension as an adult?

A: While children with hypertension are more likely to have it as adults, it’s not necessarily always the case. This depends on factors including the cause of the hypertension and how it responds to treatment.

Q: What is the most common treatment?

A: For children with pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension, changing to a more healthful diet and exercising more is often enough to manage the hypertension. For children with more severe hypertension, medication is often necessary.

Q: If my child is taking medication for hypertension, will she have to take it for the rest of her life?

A: Not necessarily. If your child has primary hypertension, appropriate lifestyle modifications may allow for medications to be stopped. In addition, if a secondary cause is identified and successfully treated, medications may not be necessary.

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Essential Senior Blood Pressure Charts by Age

By Angelike Gaunt, content strategist

Your blood pressure is the barometer of your overall circulatory health. Your circulatory system is made up of your heart and blood vessels, which carry oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. But did you know that more than 70% of U.S. seniors have high blood pressure? High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a major health risk that can lead to heart disease, stroke, and chronic kidney disease.

You can help your elderly loved one take an active role in lowering their blood pressure with simple lifestyle changes such as increasing physical activity and eating healthy, balanced meals. If your aging parent lives in an assisted living community, ask about exercise programs and meal options that are low in sodium. But if changes in lifestyle don’t help, prescription medications have proven very effective in lowering blood pressure.

What Is a Good Blood Pressure Target by Age?

Blood pressure often rises with age, but experts agree lower numbers are better for overall health. Blood pressure is measured in two numbers: systolic and diastolic. The top number is the systolic blood pressure, which measures the pressure caused by the heart contracting and squeezing out blood. The bottom number is diastolic blood pressure, which measures the pressure when the heart relaxes and fills with blood.

Elderly Blood Pressure Range for Men and Women

Medical organizations’ guidelines for blood pressure targets in older adults differ. The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) updated their guidelines in 2017 to recommend men and women who are 65 or older aim for a blood pressure lower than 130/80 mm Hg.

Blood Pressure Category for Adults 65+ Systolic mm Hg Diastolic mm Hg
Low blood pressure 90 or lower 60 or lower
Normal blood pressure Lower than 120 Lower than 80
Elevated blood pressure 120 – 129 Lower than 80
High blood pressure stage 1 130 – 139 80 – 89
High blood pressure stage 2 140 or higher 90 or higher
High blood pressure crisis — see your doctor immediately 180 or higher 120 or higher

For older adults whose blood pressure is elevated but lower than 130/80 mm Hg, lifestyle changes such as increasing physical activity, eating a heart-healthy diet that is low in salt, and limiting alcohol can help regulate it.

The updated ACC and AHA guidelines recommend that older adults with a blood pressure reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher be treated with medication. Previous recommendations set the threshold for high blood pressure treatment with medication for adults 65 or older at 150/80 mm Hg.

This change aims to reduce the risk of heart disease in older adults. However, your loved one’s doctor will assess their overall health and any other conditions before determining the best course of action to help your aging parent control their blood pressure.

Since blood pressure tends to increase with age, some medical societies argue about the effectiveness and safety of treating older adults for high blood pressure. Overall, older adults should aim for lower blood pressure numbers but a blood pressure reading of 90/60 mm Hg or lower is considered too low (hypotension). Excessively low blood pressure may cause dizziness or fainting, and increase the risk of falls.

Why Does Blood Pressure Increase With Age?

Doctors don’t completely understand why blood pressure tends to rise with age. Blood pressure is the force of blood as it flows through the arteries. As you age, your arteries may narrow and become stiff. Narrow arteries lead to an increase in blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage the walls of the arteries and the heart itself.

In some cases, high blood pressure could be a result of lifestyle, the environment, certain medications, or other conditions such as sleep apnea, kidney disease, or thyroid problems.

What You Should Know About Fluctuating Blood Pressure in the Elderly

As you help monitor your loved one’s blood pressure, keep in mind that numbers fluctuate slightly throughout the day — that’s normal. Several factors influence your blood pressure numbers. For example, your blood pressure may be lower if you’re resting and higher if you’re stressed. This means you may have a normal reading in the morning and an elevated number in the afternoon.

If you’re concerned about excessive fluctuation in your loved one’s blood pressure numbers:

  • Read instructions to ensure you’re using your home blood pressure monitor equipment correctly. Variations in how you measure your loved one’s blood pressure can result in different readings.
  • Bring your home monitor to your next doctor’s appointment to compare readings.
  • Be aware of “white coat hypertension.” In some cases, a person’s blood pressure may be high at a doctor’s office but normal at home. This could be attributed to the stress related to a doctor’s appointment.

Your loved one’s doctor may want you to keep a blood pressure diary with several readings a day for a couple of weeks to monitor any variations.

How Older Adults Can Maintain a Healthy Blood Pressure

Maintaining a healthy blood pressure doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple lifestyle changes can help:

  • Exercise. National guidelines recommend adults of all ages engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. If mobility or health conditions are a problem, older adults should try to be as physically active as possible.
  • Lose weight. If your loved one is overweight, every 2 pounds lost can help reduce blood pressure by 1 mm Hg.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet low in salt. The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy foods. It was designed specifically to help lower blood pressure. Try to limit sodium to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol can raise your blood pressure. If your loved one chooses to drink alcoholic drinks, limit it to no more than one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men.
  • Don’t smoke. Tobacco damages your artery walls. If your loved one smokes, ask their doctor how to help them quit.
  • Manage stress. Try simple relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation.

In some cases, diet and lifestyle changes are not enough to lower blood pressure. Your loved one may be having a difficult time achieving significant changes in their lifestyle, or their hypertension may be too severe to treat with diet and exercise alone.

Several types of medication are available to treat high blood pressure. Talk to your elderly loved one’s doctor about whether a combination of medication, diet, and lifestyle changes may help control their blood pressure.

High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy

Your prenatal care visits vary from month to month, but three things will remain constant: you’ll be weighed, you’ll pee in a cup and someone will take your blood pressure. And at some point during your pregnancy, your practitioner may tell you that your blood pressure reading is a bit elevated.

While this might seem scary, try not to panic — it’s relatively common among moms-to-be. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gestational hypertension (also called pregnancy-induced hypertension), occurs in 1 out of every 12 to 17 pregnancies among women between the ages of 20 and 44.

If it’s the first time you’ve had a higher-than-normal reading, in many cases your next blood pressure check will be normal. But even if it isn’t, many pregnant women with high blood pressure deliver perfectly healthy babies, though it can require careful monitoring and treatment.

Your best approach to high blood pressure during pregnancy? Strive to schedule and keep every one of your prenatal care appointments so your condition can be tracked and treated. Read on to learn more about what can raise blood pressure in pregnancy and how it’s treated.

What is high blood pressure?

Before diving into what high blood pressure is exactly, it helps to understand what’s actually involved in the reading.

The first number your doctor calls out is the “systolic,” or top, number (the pressure against your arteries when your heart pushes the blood out), while the second number is the “diastolic,” or bottom, reading (the pressure when the blood is flowing back to your heart). 

What is considered normal blood pressure in pregnancy?

Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120/80 or less.

What is considered high blood pressure in pregnancy?

Your pressure is considered to be high if you have either a systolic number of 140 or a diastolic blood pressure reading of 90.

What is considered low blood pressure in pregnancy?

If you’re generally feeling well, nothing is really too low, within reason. But blood pressure that’s abnormally low, which is called hypotension, can lead to dizziness and fainting and is represented by a systolic reading lower than 90 or a diastolic number of 60.

What causes high blood pressure during pregnancy?

It’s not clear what’s behind every case of high blood pressure during pregnancy, but there are some risk factors, including a history of long-term high blood pressure or chronic kidney disease. You might also be more at risk if you’re Black, you’re carrying multiple babies, you have type 1 or 2 diabetes, you’re younger than 20 years of age or older than 40, or you’re obese.

Another cause of an above-normal blood pressure reading may be a case of “white-coat hypertension” — a pretty common phenomenon (even if you’re not expecting), where blood pressure temporarily spikes because you get nervous or worried in medical settings.

Still, if your doctor notices your blood pressure is above 140/90 on two separate visits, whether you’re just anxious when that cuff is placed on your arm or you have one of the above-mentioned risk factors, he’ll likely diagnose you with gestational hypertension.

Are there any symptoms of high blood pressure in pregnancy?

Symptoms can vary from person to person and at each pregnancy, but the main symptom of high blood pressure when you’re expecting is a high reading in the second half of gestation, usually around week 20. Yet one of the tricky things about high blood pressure when you’re pregnant is that some women feel completely normal and don’t show any symptoms at all.

Types of high blood pressure in pregnancy

Blood pressure problems in pregnancy tend to fall into three categories: 

Chronic hypertension

If you have a history of high blood pressure or high readings that show up before the 20-week mark of pregnancy, you likely have chronic hypertension. During the first few months of pregnancy, your blood pressure tends to drop, as blood volume increases and your body starts working long hours to get that baby-making factory up to speed, causing occasional bouts of dizziness in early pregnancy.

A blood pressure number that measures high before week 20 means you likely had the condition before pregnancy — and your doctor will consider it a long-term case that needs to be monitored closely, since it puts you at higher risk of preterm delivery and preeclampsia and your baby of low birth weight.

Gestational hypertension

Somewhere near the end of the second trimester or the start of the third, blood pressure rises because your body needs to pump the extra blood it made to nourish your baby. But if your doctor first notices high blood pressure after week 20 and you don’t have any other red-flag symptoms, he’ll likely consider you to be among the roughly 6 percent of women who develop transient (short-term) gestational hypertension.

Gestational hypertension, also called pregnancy-induced hypertension, usually disappears after delivery. But because it can be hard to tell it apart from preeclampsia, if you are diagnosed with hypertension after week 20 your doctor will keep an extra-careful eye out for preeclampsia symptoms including protein in your urine, severe swelling and sudden weight gain. 

Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a more serious disorder that puts you at greater risk of premature delivery and intrauterine growth restriction, and therefore requires very close monitoring and treatment. Preeclampsia is hypertension with lab abnormalities such as protein in the urine, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets or symptoms like headache, severe swelling in the hands and face, or spots in front of the eyes (called scotomata).

Preeclampsia usually develops later in pregnancy, but when it occurs before week 32 of pregnancy, it’s considered early-onset preeclampsia. Preeclampsia can also occur in the postpartum period.

Preeclampsia occurs in about 1 in every 25 pregnancies and can lead to seizures in some women, which is a grave condition called eclampsia.

What are possible complications of high blood pressure in pregnancy? 

High blood pressure taxes the blood vessels, which in turn decreases blood flow to the liver, kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, uterus and placenta. When gestational hypertension isn’t under control and the placenta isn’t getting enough blood, fewer nutrients and oxygen make it to your baby, which can slow fetal growth.

And if gestational hypertension morphs into preeclampsia, premature delivery or placental abruption can occur, which is the too-early separation of the placenta from the uterus. In the worst of cases, stillbirth and eclampsia are possible. Untreated very high blood pressure can also lead to stroke.

Tracking your blood pressure during pregnancy

In addition to keeping all of your prenatal care appointments so your doctor can track your blood pressure readings, you might want to turn to home blood pressure technology, which has become quite good and should be considered fairly reliable.

In fact, for women with high blood pressure concerns, a home monitor is a nice way of taking ownership of one’s care and being an active participant. Ask your physician which device she’d recommend and then get a quick lesson on how to use it at home.

Managing high blood pressure during pregnancy

Taking care of yourself when you have a case of high blood pressure in pregnancy usually involves taking medication such as low-dose aspirin to help prevent preeclampsia. Medications used for treating high blood pressure in pregnancy have been widely studied and are considered safe for your baby.

Your doctor may also recommend that you try to sleep on your left side to keep the pressure off of your inferior vena cava, the vein that carries blood from your lower extremities to your heart.

Close contact with your doctor or midwife is critical for women with high blood pressure problems, since lifestyle changes such as weight loss and salt management can’t help with a high reading the way they can when you’re not pregnant. In fact, high blood pressure in pregnancy is rarely lifestyle related and should always involve regular medical check-ins.

Moms-to-be with elevated blood pressure will usually need to be delivered early, around 37 or 38 weeks, or when diagnosed if it is past that point. If you are preeclamptic, waiting on labor could lead to worsening blood pressure, worsening labs or seizures.

High blood pressure during pregnancy isn’t that unusual and fortunately it’s very treatable. If you attend all of your prenatal care visits and follow your doctor’s advice, your case of gestational hypertension should ease up after you deliver your bundle of joy.

For most women, delivery starts the road to recovery, but you may have elevated blood pressure for six to eight weeks after baby is born. If you needed medication to lower your blood pressure, your practitioner will likely recommend gradually decreasing the dosage over the course of those six to eight weeks.

Importance of Blood Pressure Chart To Prevent Hypertension

Blood pressure is a highly overlooked disease that has been proven fatal for some. There are lots of people who suffer from high blood pressure and may not know it. It is actually common as it affects more than 3 million people in the US alone.

According to Blood Pressure Magazine, normal blood pressure for adults is about 120/80 mm Hg. So, you’re probably wondering, what is high blood pressure and also what does 120 and 80 mean? An individual’s blood pressure is typically expressed by the systolic pressure over diastolic pressure and is measured in millimeters of mercury.

Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by circulating blood upon the walls of blood vessels. This type of circulation is typically measured at a person’s upper arm.

Having your blood pressure too low and also be fatal. While having high blood pressure is called Hypertension, having your blood pressure too low is called Hypotension. Chronic hypertension is a risk factor for many complications, including peripheral vascular disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Individuals who are older are the ones who should be more careful about their blood pressure. Anxiety, depression, mania or mind altercation drugs can significantly increase your blood pressure temporarily. As this blood pressure chart from Blood Pressure Magazine details:

Blood pressure chart for men and women, ages 15 to 19

105 over 73 mmHg readings would be considered the lowest your BP should measure. Your BP may be in the middle of the chart, which is 117 over 77 or it may be slightly higher at 120 over 81 mm Hg. If your BP is measuring lower than these lows, you might be feeling faint and passing out. If your BP is higher, you may have headaches and heart-pounding sensations. Ask your doctor what a healthy blood pressure is for you and learn how to take your own BP either with a blood pressure cuff or a wrist cuff.

Ages 20 to 24

108 over 75 is the low healthy range for this age group. The middle range is 120 over 79 and the higher range is 132 over 83. It’s a good idea to have your BP checked annually, and if it’s high, keep a close eye on it.

Ages 25 to 29

109 over 76 is the low range. 121 over 80 is the middle range, and 133 over 84 would be considered the highest range. Your blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day depending on your level of activity. Have your doctor check your BP at different times to get an accurate base reading?

Ages 30 to 34

110 over 77 is the low range. 122 over 81 is the medium range, and 134 over 85 is the higher range. Are you checking your BP daily? If not and you have been slightly high before you may wish to learn how and keep track of it.

Ages 35 to 39

111 over 78 is the low range, 123 over 82 is the middle range, and 135 over 86 is the high range. If you’re edging toward the high range, ask your doctor what you can do to help keep your BP lower.

Ages 40 to 44

112 over 79 is the low range, 125 over 83 is the middle range, and 137 over 87 is the high range. Are you taking a daily walk and watching your salt intake? If not ask your doctor if you need to do so for your blood pressure sake.

Ages 45 to 49

115 over 80 is the low range, 127 over 84 is the middle range, and 139 over 88 is the high range. If you find yourself edging toward the higher range be sure to tell your doctor and follow his or her health advice.

Ages 50 to 54

116 over 81 is the low range, 129 over 86 is the middle range, and 142 over 89 is the high range. Hypertension is often called the silent killer because patients don’t necessarily feel the symptoms.

Ages 55 to 59

118 over 82 is the low range, 131 over 86 is the middle range, and 144 over 90 is the high range. If you’re a smoker, you suffer a higher risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.

BP chart for women and men, ages 60 to 64

121 over 83 is the low range, 134 over 87 is the middle range, and 147 over 91 is the higher range. Women’s blood pressure may run slightly lower than the above charts list. This is normal and to be expected. If they don’t run lower, you may be at a higher risk for the condition.

Most patients don’t realize they have hypertension. If you’re experiencing unexplained headaches, dizziness, a pounding in your ears, nose bleeds, it can be symptoms of hypertension disease, and you need to contact a doctor for medical treatment.

You may be at a higher risk for hypertension on the above blood pressure chart if you are a smoker. Any type of tobacco can put you into the higher blood pressure category which is where you need to start keeping a close eye on your BP.

If you’re overweight, diabetic or you have a family history of hypertension your doctor will want to monitor your BP more closely. It’s important to exercise at least 30 minutes every day. If you’re more sedate, you are in a higher risk bracket.

Women who are over 40, in menopause or have a close family member with the condition need to be particularly aware of the condition and watchful. Men who are over 45 and women over 55 is at a higher risk for hypertension. Those who drink more than two drinks of alcohol in a day are considered higher risk.

If you have one or more of the conditions as listed above, you may wish to consult with your doctor about your best course of action to prevent HBP. Your doctor will likely suggest that you adjust your lifestyle to prevent the possibility of suffering from the condition. Your doctor will want to see you annually, and if your BP is up according to their blood pressure chart you may be asked to change a habit, exercise more, stop your intake of salt and possibly put on a medication.

Some medications work as a diuretic to drain off excess water from your body and thus lower your blood pressure. Other medications work to slow your heart rate. Often a doctor will prescribe more than one medication.

Original Post by Danny Rogers

Hypertension / Diseases / Clinic EXPERT

Hypertension or essential arterial hypertension is a chronic disease in which blood pressure is higher than 140/90 mm Hg. It is necessary to clearly distinguish between this type of disease and hypertension as a syndrome. A number of diseases are characterized by high blood pressure numbers. These signs are not primary symptoms of the disease as such, but secondary ones, and can be observed in chronic nephritis, diseases of the endocrine system, etc.e. High blood pressure in such cases is called symptomatic hypertension.

It is not possible to establish the diagnosis on your own. Only a qualified cardiologist, guided by an external examination and the data obtained in the course of diagnostic studies, is able to provide competent assistance and keep your health!

Symptoms

Attention! Hypertension in the medical environment is called a “dumb killer” precisely because it often does not have clinical manifestations.Most patients accidentally discover high blood pressure without having any complaints.

Clinical manifestations are nonspecific and depend on target organ damage.

The most common symptoms are:

  • headaches, usually in the occipital region
  • dizziness, visual impairment
  • decreased overall body tone and decreased performance
  • tendency to tachycardia, pain in the heart, shortness of breath

Remember ! Arterial hypertension is often asymptomatic!

Treatment of hypertension should be started immediately!

The disease cannot be cured by taking antihypertensive drugs, which were bought on the advice of friends at the nearest pharmacy.Atherosclerotic changes in the blood vessels of the heart lead to the development of coronary heart disease and threaten serious complications for your health.

Diagnostics

The diagnosis of hypertension is established by a cardiologist only after the exclusion of secondary arterial hypertension. The necessary tests are carried out, which include:

  • General blood test
  • General urine test
  • Biochemical blood test
  • ECG
  • ECHOKG
  • Ultrasound of the kidneys, adrenal glands, renal arteries, peripheral vessels
  • Examination of the fundus
  • Daily blood pressure monitoring

Before visiting a doctor, you can optionally undergo a basic examination of the heart and blood vessels.

Treatment

The goal is to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality by normalizing blood pressure. Treatment includes lifestyle changes (salt-free diet, smoking and alcohol cessation, physical activity) and drug therapy, which can include both pills and IVs.

At the EXPERT Clinic, patients have the opportunity to receive a full consultation with a cardiologist and nutritionist on lifestyle changes and risk factors modification.If necessary, treatment in a day hospital under the supervision of experienced medical personnel is possible.

Forecast

With timely seeking help and following the recommendations of a cardiologist, complications of hypertension are minimized. Having received adequate treatment prescribed by a qualified physician, a patient with hypertension is able to lead a normal life and maintain a satisfactory working capacity for a long period of time. Rapidly progressive forms of the disease have a worse prognosis.

You shouldn’t risk your health!

Timely appeal to a qualified cardiologist and the adoption of emergency measures, as well as the competent organization of the regime in the active phase of the disease, can prevent the development of irreversible lesions in the body and improve the prognosis.

Prevention and recommendations

The following rules should be strictly observed:

  • to constantly monitor blood pressure
  • to give up bad habits
  • to avoid stress
  • to follow a low-salt and hypocholesterol diet
  • to be active
  • to visit a lot in the open air
  • to engage in physical exercises, the complex of which is designed for the patient individually.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I assume that I will develop hypertension?

Risk factors for the development of hypertension include: smoking, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, increased cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, age over 55 for men and 65 for women, and, of course, heredity – early onset of cardiovascular diseases in blood relatives ( in men under 55 and women under 65, respectively). If the above risk factors are present in your life, you should visit a cardiologist for examination and treatment if necessary.

They say hypertension can be managed with diet. What dietary principles should you follow to maintain normal blood pressure?

Scientists have long noticed that there are far fewer cases of hypertension among vegetarians. They tend to have healthier hearts. What is the difference between the diet of vegetarians and other people? They eat a lot of vegetables and fruits that are rich in minerals that are good for the cardiovascular system. This is, first of all, potassium, as well as magnesium and calcium.Since vegetarians do not eat meat and other animal products, they receive less saturated fat and cholesterol in their bodies. The DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet is a specially designed nutritional program for hypertension, similar to vegetarianism, but with the preservation of meat in the diet. This diet eliminates foods that increase blood pressure.

If you stick to a strict DASH diet for several months and then get a blood cholesterol test, make sure your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol levels have dropped.

The DASH diet includes the following foods:

  • 7-8 servings of bread and cereals
  • 4-5 servings of vegetables
  • 4-5 servings of fruit
  • 2-3 servings of low-fat or low-fat dairy products
  • 2 or less servings of meat or fish products
  • 2.5 servings of fat
  • 4-5 servings of nuts, seeds or legumes
  • 5 servings of sweets per week, including 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 tablespoon of jelly or jam, 15 grams of gummy candy or a glass of lemonade

And, of course, you should limit the consumption of table salt – up to 5 g per day.

Compliance with these recommendations provides a decrease in pressure by 5-15 mm Hg. Art., which, in fact, is equal to the action of one antihypertensive drug.

A dietitian doctor will describe the menu in more detail for consultation.

I have hypertension. What is the best tonometer to use to monitor your blood pressure at home?

Currently, there are many devices that are used to monitor the level of blood pressure. You should choose devices with automatic pressure measurement (“full automatic”) and those in which the cuff is applied to the shoulder.The device must be powered via the mains adapter. This will make the blood pressure readings more accurate. It is known that people who monitor their blood pressure are treated with the best result and, with a certain skill, can take measures themselves to timely reduce suddenly rising blood pressure.

How long should I take my hypertension medication? After all, in addition to heart problems, I have other health problems, and I have to drink a lot of drugs …

Since hypertension is a chronic disease, it is necessary to take drugs constantly, without interruptions.

There are combined dosage forms containing two or more drugs in one tablet, and it may be more convenient for you to use them. Check with your healthcare professional. You also need to assess how much you need drugs to treat your other medical conditions. Perhaps their therapy can be optimized.

I was diagnosed with hypertension, does this mean that I will definitely have a heart attack, what is the threat?

With timely initiation and adequate treatment with the achievement of target BP figures, the likelihood of developing such formidable complications as heart attack or stroke will be minimized.To do this, you need to consult a cardiologist for the selection of therapy, and then undergo regular examination.

Is there an age norm for blood pressure?

Normally, blood pressure should be no higher than 140/90 mm Hg, for people over 60 years old – no higher than 150/90 mm Hg.

Treatment stories

Case No. 1

Lyudmila, 55 years old. I consulted a cardiologist with complaints of headaches in the occipital region, often accompanied by an increase in blood pressure, periodic dizziness, weakness, decreased performance, fatigue.It is known that for five years after the onset of menopause, the patient suffers from high blood pressure. The drugs prescribed in the polyclinic at the place of residence were taken by the patient irregularly, only with an increase in blood pressure and the appearance of complaints, since there was no conversation about the need for constant treatment of this chronic disease. As a rule, after the normalization of the blood pressure numbers, she independently stopped taking medications. By profession – an accountant, has bad habits in the form of smoking, a sedentary lifestyle.Family history: mother died at 64 years old, suffered from hypertension, suffered a heart attack, brother suffered a heart attack 47 years ago. After the examination of the patient, a treatment regimen was selected to control the blood pressure and cholesterol levels, a diet was selected taking into account the patient’s individual preferences, recommendations for physical activity were given, and psychological assistance was provided in quitting smoking.

According to the results of treatment, six months later, against the background of therapy in combination with increased physical activity and changes in dietary habits, the target blood pressure values ​​are maintained, there are no pressure surges, headaches disappeared, weakness decreased, and working capacity increased.Weight reduction from 84 to 75 kg. Also, all biochemical blood parameters improved – cholesterol, glucose. The patient has moved from a high risk of cardiovascular disease to a low risk group! She notes that she began to receive treatment due to the fact that it became clear to her why to do this and what the refusal of treatment would lead to, the need for constant medication was explained in detail, it was possible to constantly seek help in case of lack of information.

The main thing is not to be left alone with the disease! In cooperation with doctors, it is possible to overcome hypertension and learn to live with such a diagnosis without a threat to life!

Case No. 2

Constantine, 62 years old.I consulted a cardiologist for a preventive examination. He made no complaints, he considered himself absolutely healthy. Smokes since 20 years. Blood pressure at the reception on the right hand 130/85 mm Hg, on the left hand 140/95 mm Hg. An ECG was done, which revealed left ventricular hypertrophy. An ultrasound examination of the heart was immediately performed – the presence of left ventricular hypertrophy, expansion of the left atrial cavity was confirmed. The patient was explained that such changes, as a rule, occur due to untreated arterial hypertension, daily monitoring of blood pressure was recommended.According to the data of daily monitoring of blood pressure, an increase in blood pressure in the evening and at night was revealed, i.e. in those hours when the patient did not measure the blood pressure figures and therefore did not know about the existence of arterial hypertension, nevertheless, he was at risk of heart attack or stroke! After excluding other reasons for the increase in blood pressure, the diagnosis was made of Stage II hypertension, a high risk of cardiovascular complications. Adequate therapy was selected for the patient; on the control daily monitoring of blood pressure after 3 months, the target pressure figures are maintained for a day.
The patient is grateful for the quick and comprehensive examination, which made it possible to start treatment immediately!

Top and bottom pressure: what is it?

Read in this article:

  1. What is blood pressure?

  2. What pressure is called high and low?

  3. What does syastolic pressure say?

  4. What do you need to know about diastolic pressure?

  5. Why does the lower pressure change?

  6. Pulse pressure: what is considered normal?

  7. How to measure pressure correctly?

  8. P Why is it important to use a tonometer regularly?

Blood pressure is one of the objective indicators that allows you to assess the state of human health and the quality of the work of internal organs.Thanks to modern blood pressure monitors, everyone can find out their blood pressure in a few minutes. However, you need not only to be able to use such devices, but also to understand what the numbers on the monitor mean.

What is blood pressure?

Tonometers record blood pressure on the walls of the arteries, which is why it is called arterial. In other words, the indicator means how much the level of fluid pressure in the circulatory system is higher than atmospheric.

If you describe the whole process in simple words, it will look like this:

  • The heart muscle contracts;

  • The aortic valve closes;

  • The heart receives blood from the lungs with a high oxygen content;

  • The following reduction occurs;

  • The blood moves to all organs.

The entire circulatory system is involved in the formation of blood pressure, including the blood itself, which supplies tissues with oxygen, removes decay products, and provides thermoregulation. BP shows how well these functions are performed.

What pressure is called top and bottom?

When the heart contracts, an impetus is created for the movement of blood. This phase of the work of the heart muscle is called systole, and the indicator recorded at this moment is the upper or systolic pressure.

Before a new contraction, the heart relaxes as much as possible, the diastole phase begins, and at this moment the minimum pressure is recorded. It shows the degree of blood pressure on the vessels in the period between the contractions of the heart.

What does the systolic pressure mean?

Any deviations of the indicators from the norm indicate malfunctions in the work of one or another body system. Both values ​​can rise or fall, or only one of them.For example, an increase in systolic pressure occurs when:

  • Excessive activity of the thyroid gland – thyrotoxicosis, when the thyroid gland secretes too much hormones;

  • Severe anemia, when the type of blood circulation changes;

  • Slowing down of the pulse – bradycardia, ineffective work of the aortic valve, when the upper pressure rises due to increased blood output;

  • A decrease in the elasticity of the aorta, an increase in the density of its walls – most often the cause is atherosclerosis of a large vessel in old age.

An increase in only the upper pressure without changes in the lower is called systolic arterial hypertension. But such a deviation does not always indicate a disease. So, with significant sports loads, an increase in upper pressure is also observed, and this is not considered a deviation from the norm.

What do you need to know about diastolic pressure?

The indicator of diastolic pressure characterizes the degree of vascular resistance, their patency for blood.The health of the vascular system is determined by two main factors: the elasticity of their walls and the work of the kidneys. The human body contains a large amount of fluid, without its circulation, metabolism is impossible, and blood plays an important role in this process. It passes through the kidneys, which act as a kind of filter, regulate the water-salt balance and remove toxins from the blood along with urine.

With this mechanism, an increase in diastolic pressure is usually associated with a violation of the withdrawal of fluid from the body, an increase in its volume and a growing load on the walls of blood vessels.If the lower pressure exceeds the norm for a long time, the risk of heart attacks and strokes increases. If it decreases for a long time, problems arise with the supply of oxygen to tissues and organs. This can lead to dizziness and fainting, especially with physical exertion.

The causes of low diastolic pressure can be bleeding, prolonged hunger and dehydration, allergies with anaphylactic shock. The indicator decreases with insufficient production of the hormone renin, which regulates vascular tone.A decrease also occurs due to stress, fatigue and against the background of tuberculosis.

Why does the lower pressure change?

An increase in the lower pressure can be associated with:

  • Narrowing of the lumen in the renal arteries, their increased tone;

  • Kidney disease;

  • Significant excess weight;

  • Disruption of the myocardium;

  • Diabetes mellitus;

  • Changes in the concentration of hormones in the blood.

When diastolic pressure deviates from the norm, a person feels a breakdown, chills of the lower extremities, drowsiness. A aching headache appears, sweating is activated, concentration of attention decreases and memory deteriorates. Discomfort in the region of the heart, arrhythmia are possible. That is why it is important to regularly measure blood pressure so that if there are abnormalities, you can immediately consult a doctor.

Pulse pressure: what is the norm?

Systolic blood pressure in the range of 110-130 units is considered normal, but with age, this indicator increases to 140 units.For diastolic pressure, the norm is 65-80 units, with good vascular elasticity, the indicator will be closer to the upper limit of the norm.

The difference between upper and lower pressure is also important. It is called pulse pressure and is normally 40 units, 120/80 is considered ideal. An increase in the gap to 65 points indicates a serious risk of developing heart and vascular diseases. In such a situation, failures in the work of the heart muscle provoke rapid wear of the walls of arteries and veins, which accelerates the aging process.

In old age, the difference between the syastolic pressure and the diastolic pressure of 50 units indicates that natural wear and tear occurs in the body, the walls of the vessels have become less elastic.

A pulse pressure value of 60 points indicates the risk of heart ailments and the need to urgently visit a doctor. If the tonometer shows a difference of about 20 units, most likely the blood pressure was measured incorrectly. With such a gap, the state of human health is critical.

How to measure pressure correctly?

To obtain reliable blood pressure readings, measurements should be taken in a calm environment at room temperature. For about an hour, it is undesirable to smoke, drink strong coffee or tea. For half an hour, you need to exclude physical activity. Feet should be on the floor, and hands should be free to lie at the level of the heart.

There are a few more simple rules:

  • During the measurement, you cannot move, talk and cross your legs;

  • The cuff should fit snugly on the arm, but not squeeze it;

  • If several measurements are required, at least 5 minutes must elapse between them;

  • The cuff is adjusted to cover at least 80% of the circumference of the upper arm.If you have to hold the Velcro with your hand, the results will be incorrect;

  • In the absence of back support, the figures may be overestimated.

Doctors often refer to the so-called “working pressure”. The fact is that, depending on the state of the body and its individual characteristics, the interval of the upper and lower indicators may differ from person to person. A worker is the blood pressure at which a person feels good.This could be 130/90 or 115/80, for example.

There is only one way to determine your working pressure: measure it regularly. Then you can find out what values ​​the tonometer shows when a person is feeling well. This is an important nuance, since at a reduced operating pressure, the same 130/90 can be considered a significant increase, although the numbers themselves fit into the norm.

Why is it important to use the tonometer regularly?

Understanding what the upper and lower pressure means, what these indicators depend on and what they affect, it is much easier to monitor your health.With a significant increase or decrease in these indicators, it is necessary to consult a doctor, since the pressure outside the normal range cannot be considered a worker for a person.

Arterial hypertension – vascular clinic on Patriarch’s

Arterial hypertension

Dear visitors of the official website of the MPMC “Vascular Clinic on Patriarch’s”!

In this section you will find basic information about arterial hypertension, its diagnosis, treatment and the list of services offered for the prevention, verification and treatment of hypertension in our clinic.

This condition requires early detection and special medical correction. There are no other approaches to this problem in classical evidence-based world medicine.

In this regard, you will not find with us information about non-traditional methods and means of treating hypertension.



World Health Organization (WHO,

WHO – World Health Organization) celebrated World Health Day on 7 April 2013.On this day, all over the world there were events aimed at combating high blood pressure – arterial hypertension (hypertension, hypertension). It is not by chance that this state has earned such attention in the whole world.

Arterial hypertension is widespread in the population of , covering, according to some estimates, up to half of the adult population in developed countries. In this regard, it is recognized as the largest non-infectious pandemic of our time.Arterial hypertension is considered as an independent pathological condition and at the same time is one of the main risk factors for the development of cardiovascular events, primarily acute coronary syndrome and cerebral stroke.

According to statistics published by WHO, 62% of deaths in Russia are associated with cardiovascular causes – age-standardized mortality rates from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes are 771 in men.7, for women – 414.3 per 100,000 per year.

High blood pressure is recorded in 46.6% of men and 48.4% of women (on average – 47.6%). At the same time, about half of the country’s residents suffering from arterial hypertension are aware of this, only a fifth of them take antihypertensive drugs and, according to various sources, only about 10% are treated systematically and adequately.

Arterial hypertension is a disease manifested by a pathological increase in systemic arterial pressure. In the overwhelming majority of cases (about 90-95%), the cause of the development of the disease is not completely established.

This condition is called essential (idiopathic) arterial hypertension . In the USSR, and later in Russia, rather as a tribute to national traditions, some doctors and scientists use the term “hypertension” , referring to the complex of symptoms that form as a result of high blood pressure.

The results of numerous scientific studies have established that its development is based on the combined action of a complex of factors, the role of each of which has not been fully established.The main ones are hereditary (associated with the presence of a disease in relatives), metabolic (associated with metabolic disorders), endocrine, neurogenic, vascular.

Only in 5-10% of patients, arterial hypertension has the so-called symptomatic nature and is the result of damage to other organs and systems (kidneys and arteries of their blood supply, endocrine glands, brain).

If in the recent past, an increase in blood pressure was mainly recorded in the elderly, now the number of young “hypertensive patients” is progressively increasing due to the peculiarities of the modern lifestyle, ecology, political and socio-economic situations in the country.



The average age of development of this disease in most people migrated from 60 to 30-40. However, arterial hypertension, primarily essential, differs from other pandemic conditions, in particular, infectious ones, by the almost complete absence of specific clinical symptoms before complications develop, the most formidable of which are stroke and acute myocardial infarction .

These features of the course of the disease are based on protective and adaptive restructuring of various organs and systems of the human body in response to a pathological increase in pressure.The presence of such a restructuring allows “hypertensive patients” to avoid clinically significant disorders, but has a detrimental effect on the body as a whole, preventing its functioning in accordance with the usual (typical for a healthy person) physiological laws.

In a practically healthy person, normal blood pressure values ​​ vary in the range from 110/70 to 130/80 mm Hg. Art., with average values ​​of about 120/80 mm Hg. Art .. There is a regular increase with age.But normally, in any age group, blood pressure does not exceed 140/90 mm Hg. Art.

In a patient with arterial hypertension, his “normal” blood pressure is almost always higher than that of his healthy peer. Quite often, during certain periods of the course of the disease, even very significant increases in blood pressure, for example, up to 200-250 / 100-120 mm Hg. Art., may not cause any negative changes in the patient’s health, i.e.That is, they are clinically asymptomatic. But if increases in blood pressure are not diagnosed in a timely manner and are not adequately corrected by taking specific antihypertensive drugs, over time, the protective mechanisms are depleted. The consequence of this are disorders of the brain, heart, kidneys and their vascular systems, a decrease or complete loss of vision due to a violation of the blood supply to the structures of the eye. All this radically affects the quality of life of hypertensive patients.

Increases in blood pressure are accompanied in a number of cases by the appearance of nonspecific clinical symptoms in the form of headache, a feeling of “heaviness” in the head, tinnitus, dizziness (a feeling of “falling through”, a feeling when “the ground is leaving underfoot”), sometimes at certain positions of the head (turning, tilting), unmotivated redness of the skin, a feeling of heat, unmotivated digestive disorders in the form of nausea and vomiting, visual disturbances often in the form of flashing “midges”, “sparkles” in front of the eyes, pain in the chest region.


Criteria for the diagnosis of arterial hypertension


Straight. Objective re-registration of elevated blood pressure indicators when measuring it with an electronic (mechanical) tonometer or during daily monitoring using special diagnostic equipment.

Indirect. Identification of signs of damage to various target organs in the form of hypertensive cardiopathy, nephropathy, retinopathy, angiopathy according to the data of clinical, laboratory, instrumental examinations.

Availability of objective information on the degree of dysfunction of various organs and systems is necessary for the selection of an individual treatment regimen . So, if the changes in the “hypertensive” are at the stage of protective restructuring, only drugs that reduce the level of systemic arterial pressure should be present in the scheme of his treatment. With mild periodic increases in blood pressure, regular antihypertensive drugs may not be needed. Especially in situations where the hypertensive person does not have concomitant diseases.With limited protective capabilities, i.e. the development of pathological changes in the work of the brain, heart, kidneys, eyes, means should be added to the treatment regimen, the action of which, on the one hand, is aimed at improving the blood supply to the affected organs, on the other hand, at normalizing their functions. Since in these cases, the appointment of only antihypertensive drugs will stabilize the course of the underlying disease, but will not reduce the severity of disorders caused by its complications.

Hypertension cannot be cured . But this does not mean that it should not be treated

Hypothetical therapy, adequate both in time of onset and in results (achievement of acceptable or target blood pressure values), is able to prevent or reduce generalized vascular processes before the development of fibrosclerotic transformation of the arterial wall and significantly reduce the risk of stroke and myocardial infarction, when it is already takes place.

For any person with high blood pressure without a relatively constant or discrete such increase, the most important thing is the choice of optimal drugs to normalize it . This is all the more relevant, since antihypertensive therapy is long-term, or rather, lifelong.

Of course, the choice between active actions to overcome the developing illness and inaction, as well as between the methods of changing the situation, is always yours.It is possible that the relief that palmists, psychics, healers, etc. can bring, the use of so-called “folk remedies”, dietary supplements and other “magic” pills, lifestyle changes, in particular, playing sports, will convince you that that this is quite enough. Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases this is a tragic delusion.

Sooner or later, the viciousness of such an approach becomes apparent to any hypertensive person, and often understanding comes after the development of a tragedy – myocardial infarction, stroke.

The only way to prolong life and maintain its high quality, to prevent the development of vascular catastrophes in arterial hypertension is to detect an increase in blood pressure as early as possible and to constantly take antihypertensive drugs that are suitable for you (if necessary).

The selection of antihypertensive therapy cannot be carried out independently.

In some situations this is a real art and requires patience from both the doctor and the patient.

Essential things to know about arterial hypertension

  • arterial hypertension – one of the most common pathological conditions in humans

  • arterial hypertension can develop at any age

  • many people do not feel an increase in blood pressure

  • the only way to detect arterial hypertension is systematic monitoring of blood pressure

  • an increase in blood pressure increases the risk of developing vascular catastrophes

  • high blood pressure requires correction

  • Correction of blood pressure and monitoring the effectiveness of therapy should be carried out under the supervision of a physician

  • The most important conditions for the success of antihypertensive therapy are the correct determination of the type of hypertension, an individual approach to the choice of drugs and patient adherence to treatment

What is offered by the MPMC “Vascular Clinic on Patriarch’s” for arterial hypertension

At the MPMC “Vascular Clinic on Patriarch’s” for people with high blood pressure, we offer a full examination, including ultrasound scanning of the kidneys, adrenal glands, thyroid gland, heart, blood vessels, a set of laboratory tests, including hormonal status; electrocardiography, daily monitoring of blood pressure levels, bicycle ergometry.If necessary, in the conditions of an agency clinic, any computed tomography and magnetic resonance procedures can be performed for the clients of our center. Our leading experts – professors and doctors with vast scientific and practical experience – will select the optimal antihypertensive therapy for you.

For in-depth examinations, our clinic has special programs for examining patients with arterial hypertension, as well as for the prevention of stroke and acute coronary syndrome.

If you have high blood pressure, please contact us. We will conduct an examination and prescribe treatment. We have every opportunity both for early detection of arterial hypertension and for verification of its advanced stages. At your service – modern antihypertensive drugs at affordable prices in our pharmacy.

You can find out all the details by going to the relevant sections of the site or by calling +7 (495) 650-00-72 or +7 (926) 000-20-08.