Unfortunately, hypertension is becoming increasingly widespread among young and older adults to the point that one in three Americans suffer from hypertension. With this disease being deemed the silent killer, you need to know what to look out for.
What is a normal blood pressure?
In general, a normal blood pressure reading is 120/80, or slightly below that number. It is completely normal, and even expected, that your blood pressure will change slightly on a regular basis throughout different times of the day. This is because over the course of the day, different factors can affect our blood pressure in different ways, such as the food we consume, the exercises we engage in, and the emotions we have. This means that only one high blood pressure reading is not a good enough reason to cause panic or a diagnosis of hypertension.
What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is also called hypertension. Very often, this condition is asymptomatic, so it is very important to identify this problem as early as possible. Each age has its own blood pressure standards, but the universal standards are the numbers 120/80 (+/- 10 sings) millimeters of mercury.
Understanding the terms
The top number you see on your blood pressure monitor is your systolic pressure, which is the pressure that the blood exerts on the walls of your arteries while your heart is beating. The bottom number is your diastolic reading, and that is the pressure that the blood exerts on the walls of your arteries in between heartbeats.
Elevated blood pressure
A systolic number between 120 and 129, and a diastolic number of 80 or less, is considered as an elevated blood pressure. This may occur temporarily because of external reasons. If this is your actual blood pressure, your doctor or healthcare provider may recommend lifestyle changes to manage it.
High blood pressure stage one
A systolic reading between 130 and 139, and a diastolic reading between 80 and 89, is what is known as first stage hypertension. Your doctor may recommend medications in addition to lifestyle changes.
High blood pressure stage two
A systolic reading of 140 and more, and a diastolic pressure of 90 and above is considered second stage hypertension. Your doctor may recommend medications in addition to lifestyle modifications.
A systolic number of 180 or higher, and a diastolic number of 120 or higher is a medical emergency that needs immediate intervention.
Symptoms and signs of high blood pressure
Symptoms of hypertension can be vague and non-specific, and they include headaches, confusion, sweating, blurred vision, fatigue, shortness of breath, tinnitus, anxiety, and occasionally even nosebleeds.
A common symptom of high blood pressure is usually dizziness coupled with fatigue. Keeping these symptoms in mind can help you understand the need for intervention and medical care.
How to know if you have high blood pressure
If you are starting to experience the commonly known symptoms of hypertension, then you are most probably suffering from this medical condition.
Although the signs and symptoms of hypertension are excellent indicators of your health status, high blood pressure can initially be non-symptomatic. You may not show any signs, even though the tension in your arteries can be high and the condition may already be wreaking havoc to your health.
For this reason, the best way to find out about whether you truly have hypertension is not through the signs of high pressure in your arteries, but through measuring that pressure. With the use of professional blood pressure cuffs, your doctor might advise you to obtain your measurements several times a day over a few weeks. This is very often an excellent diagnostic method.
As long as you take care of yourself, high blood pressure is not a problem
Now that you know the signs and symptoms of hypertension that you need to look out for, and you understand the importance of measuring your blood pressure constantly, we trust that you are equipped with everything you need to make an informed decision on when to intervene and when to call your doctor.