But it might also be helpful to compare your reading to the “norms” that doctors use when deciding what’s okay and not okay. There are two numbers your doctor is going to test for you when it comes to high blood pressure:
Systolic and diastolic. The ‘normal’ range for each will be different for everyone so getting an idea of what yours is, or if yours is too high, is crucial.
A blood pressure of 130/80 is considered normal by many doctors. However, it is important to note that many health experts recommend that you adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and a good diet.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the most common diseases facing adults today. It affects roughly 90 million Americans and is linked to many health issues such as stroke, kidney and heart disease.
The CDC estimates that roughly half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure and don’t even know it. High blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) is when the force of your blood against the walls of the arteries is too high.
Points to have in mind
- How much high blood pressure is normal?
- Can lack of sleep cause high blood pressure?
- Does stress cause high blood pressure?
- What time of day is blood pressure highest?
- How to lower high blood pressure at home?
How much high blood pressure is normal?
Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. It’s recorded as two numbers, called systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
For example, 120 over 80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) means that when the heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries with 120 force and then relaxes to 80 force.
The top number (systolic) represents the peak pressure in your arteries when your heart beats; the bottom number (diastolic) is the lowest pressure when your heart rests between beats.
When you have high blood pressure, it usually means that either your systolic or diastolic reading is too high but not always both. Your doctor will determine if you need treatment based on which measurement is higher than normal for you.
The American Heart Association says that high blood pressure is present if your systolic pressure is 130 or more, or your diastolic pressure is 85 or more.
If you’re younger than age 60, and you have one or both of these numbers, it’s considered pre-hypertension. If you’re 60 and older, it’s considered high blood pressure.
High blood pressure readings come from two numbers: the top number (systolic) is the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats; the bottom number (diastolic) is the pressure in between heartbeats.
The AHA considers a healthy blood pressure range to be 120/80 mm Hg or less for adults younger than age 60 and 140/90 mm Hg or less for adults 60 and older.
More details some will say that the normal range for blood pressure is 120/80. If your systolic (top number) is higher than this, you have high blood pressure. If your diastolic (bottom number) is higher than this, you have high blood pressure.
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Can lack of sleep cause high blood pressure?
Lack of sleep can cause high blood pressure, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Sleep helps regulate blood pressure by promoting healthy heart function, maintaining healthy blood vessels and lowering stress levels.
People who don’t get enough sleep are at risk for developing high blood pressure, says the American Heart Association (AHA). This is especially true if they’re overweight or obese.
The relationship between sleep and blood pressure has been studied extensively because it’s so common. The majority of adults in the U.S. suffer from poor or insufficient sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In a study published in the journal Hypertension, researchers analyzed data from more than 20,000 people who were followed for 12 years.
They found that those who slept less than 6 hours per night were at greater risk of developing high blood pressure than those who slept 7 to 8 hours per night.
Lack of sleep also increases your risk for other chronic diseases and conditions, including obesity and diabetes. According to a study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal in 2017.
Sleeping less than five hours per night increases your risk for type 2 diabetes by 50 percent compared to sleeping at least six hours per night.
Limit caffeine and alcohol before bedtime. These drinks may help you fall asleep initially, but they can disrupt your sleep later in the night. Try cutting back on caffeine after noon and avoiding alcohol altogether if possible.
Exercise regularly throughout the day not just in the evening when you’re trying to wind down for bedtime. Regular exercise helps promote healthy blood pressure levels by improving circulation and reducing stress hormones that can contribute to high blood pressure (hypertension).
Exercise also helps people sleep better at night because it releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins into your brain that help ease anxiety and stress.
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Does stress cause high blood pressure?
Yes, stress can cause high blood pressure. Stress is a normal part of daily life whether it’s the stress of being stuck in traffic or the stress of having too much to do and too little time to do it. But when stress becomes overwhelming, it can affect your health.
Stress has been linked to heart disease, obesity and mental health problems such as depression. Now researchers are looking at whether stress could also be a factor in high blood pressure (hypertension).
Hypertension affects about 1 in 3 adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s defined as a systolic blood pressure greater than 140 mm Hg and/or diastolic blood pressure greater than 90 mm Hg.
If you have hypertension, your heart must work harder than normal just to pump blood through your arteries which puts extra strain on your heart muscle and increases your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Stress causes the body to release a hormone called cortisol. This hormone helps your body respond to stress by increasing your heart rate, raising blood sugar levels and increasing blood pressure.
Stress is a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough time or resources to complete a task successfully. It’s more than just feeling hurried and busy.
Stress can be caused by external pressures, such as work deadlines, exams or financial problems. It can also come from internal pressures like an argument with someone important to you, or a decision you’re struggling to make.
Stress can affect anyone at any age, but it’s more common in people who have certain conditions, such as depression or anxiety disorders, chronic pain or heart disease.
Stress is linked to high blood pressure because stress hormones increase blood pressure by causing blood vessels to constrict (tighten). This makes it harder for your heart to pump blood through your body and causes increased resistance in your arteries (atherosclerosis).
What time of day is blood pressure highest?
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against your artery walls, and it’s usually measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Normal blood pressure is less than 120 mm Hg systolic and 80 mm Hg diastolic.
Blood pressure is controlled by a group of hormones called “autonomic nervous system reflexes,” which are controlled by the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system (ANS).
If you’re sitting or lying down, your blood pressure will be lower than if you’re standing up. This is because gravity pulls more blood down to your legs when you’re lying down or sitting.
If you’re exercising, your blood volume increases and your heart pumps faster to keep up with this extra volume of blood. Your heart rate increases as well, so these two factors combine to raise your blood pressure.
Blood pressure naturally rises during exercise because there’s increased activity in both the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems, which responds to increased physical exertion.
As far as what time of day it is stress levels peak at night when people are at home alone and not getting enough sleep. This can also lead to an increase in blood pressure because stress hormones like cortisol are released into the body when we’re under duress.
The body has two types of blood vessels: large arteries, which carry blood away from the heart to all parts of the body; and smaller veins, which return blood to the heart. Blood pressure is the force that moves blood through these vessels.
When you’re lying down, gravity helps send more blood back to your heart but doesn’t affect how much blood flows from your heart out into your arteries. So when you’re in this position, less blood flows into us than out through our arteries.
This causes our arteries to narrow slightly, reducing their capacity to let blood pass through them. The result is lower blood pressure about 120/80 mm Hg or less on average.
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How to lower high blood pressure at home?
Hypertension is a medical condition that occurs when your blood pressure is elevated. It usually occurs when the force of circulating blood against arterial walls builds up over time due to factors like obesity, stress, poor diet and lack of exercise.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease (disease of arteries in your legs or feet).
The most common symptom of high blood pressure is headache but it can also cause difficulty sleeping, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, weakness and fatigue.
Eat a healthy diet. Eat foods that are low in sodium and rich in potassium. Limit the amount of salt you use when cooking and at the table. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned or packaged foods.
Drink plenty of water each day to help keep your body hydrated. Also, avoid alcohol beverages because they contain a lot of sodium (salt) and may raise your blood pressure temporarily.
Exercise regularly. Exercise helps your heart pump more effectively and lowers blood pressure by strengthening your muscles, making them better able to relax with every beat of your heart.
The goal is 30 minutes or more of aerobic exercise on most days of the week for adults age 18 years or older (and those younger than 18 years should do at least 60 minutes a day).
Don’t worry about hitting the gym every day even moderate physical activity such as walking will help lower blood pressure over time.
Eat less salt. Try to eat less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day. The American Heart Association recommends 1,500 mg per day for people who are 51 or older, African Americans or those with chronic kidney disease.
Have in mind
If you have high blood pressure and are seeking treatment, one of the best ways to start is to know if your blood pressure is normal or high. Your doctor can tell you this value but first you must calculate what it is.
The good news is that this is easy to do with a few simple measurements. If your blood pressure is between 90/60 and 120/80 then it is considered normal for you.
If it is below 90/60 it is very low (called hypotension) and if it is above 120/80 it is considered prehypertension (it’s not high yet but if it continues to rise it will become high blood pressure).
If your blood pressure is too high, there are dozens of methods of treatment. And the sooner it’s controlled, the better! When treatment is started immediately, blood pressure levels usually drop 50 to 60 percent within three months. Or sometimes even lower..
In general, blood pressure levels are somewhat individualized. Individuals with otherwise healthy kidneys and livers may have much higher blood pressure than others, while people with complications may have much lower levels.
However, high blood pressure clearly comes with dangers attached, so it is always better to err on the side of caution. In other words, if you think your blood pressure is higher than normal, you should consult a doctor to discuss what this means for you.
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