The Importance Of Lowering Blood Pressure

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People that are told that they have high blood pressure often have many questions.  One of the most important is what to do for lowering blood pressure.  Here are some things you should know.

Blood pressure is a measurement of the force caused by the blood on the artery walls.  When the doctor measures the blood pressure, he or she will record two numbers.  As the heart beats, it produces the higher number, called the systolic pressure.  The second number is measured between heart beats when the heart relaxes.  This is the diastolic pressure.  The numbers are written like a fraction with the larger number over the smaller.  The pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury or mmHg.  The record from the doctor may look like this:  120/80 mmHg and would be said 120 over 80.

When the blood pressure is high, there is a greater risk of heart disease, kidney disease and stroke.  There are no physical warning sign of high blood pressure and persons of either gender, any race and any age may develop elevated blood pressure.  According to some estimates, twenty-five percent of Americans have high blood pressure.  It is important to prevent high blood pressure from developing as once it has developed, it can affect the individual for the remainder of his or her life.

The best way to determine if one is affected by hypertension is to have the blood pressure checked on a regular basis.  While one high reading may not be reason for concern, if the doctor finds two or more readings that are high over several occasions, he or she may make recommendations for changes.  Hypertension is considered a pressure of 140/90.

For some people, the only time the pressure is elevated is at the doctor’s office.  White coat hypertension is a reaction to the stress of visiting the doctor.  Often patients wear devices that monitor the pressure at home over several hours time.  It can take pressures every half hour and is usually worn for a full day and night.

If your doctor finds more than one reading of a high pressure, he or she may recommend adoption of a healthier lifestyle.  This can include losing weight if necessary, increased physical activity, a healthier eating plan and drinking alcohol in moderation.  The healthy eating plan includes adding more vegetables, fruit and low fat dairy products as well as reducing sodium in the diet.

When diagnosed with hypertension, it is important to take the necessary steps to control the blood pressure.  The doctor will want your goal to be below 140/90.  If there are other conditions, including kidney disease or diabetes, the doctor may set the goal lower.  The lifestyle changes are the first defense against the problems caused by hypertension.  However, if changes in lifestyles alone are not sufficient, the doctor may prescribe medication that will help to lower the pressure.  It is important to take this medication in accordance with the doctor’s orders.  Never stop taking the medication without the doctor’s knowledge.

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Generally, your doctor will give you a target of bringing down your blood pressure to below 140/90. However, if you have already developed other disorders such as diabetes or kidney disease, the doctor will set a lower target for you. While there may be medications that are used to deal with hypertension, prevention is usually the most effective way to deal with high blood pressure.

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