Blood Pressure News

Blood pressure is a measure of the force that blood exerts against the artery walls as the heart pumps it through the body. As long as blood pressure remains in the normal range, it is generally an indicator of good health. But as blood pressure gets too high or too low, it can be a warning sign of a health problem and might lead to additional complications in the body. Dangerous low blood pressure is rare, but high blood pressure, also called hypertension, is common and a major health risk factor in the United States. About a third of American adults have high blood pressure.

Blood Pressure Readings

Blood pressure is typically measured with a blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope at a doctor’s office or clinic. The measurement contains two numbers. The top number is known as the systolic blood pressure, which is the pressure of the blood when the heart is beating. The bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure, which is the blood pressure when the heart is at rest. For systolic pressure, anything lower than 120 is normal; 120 to 139 is called prehypertension; 140 to 159 is stage 1 hypertension; 160 or higher is stage 2 hypertension; and 180 or above is a medical emergency. For diastolic blood pressure, anything lower than 80 is normal; 80 to 89 is prehypertension; 90 to 99 is stage 1 hypertension; 100 or higher is stage 2 hypertension; and 110 or above is a medical emergency.

Problems With Blood Pressure

The main health risks related to blood pressure stem from high blood pressure. It can be particularly concerning because high blood pressure can be present for years without presenting any symptoms. That’s why it’s important to get blood pressure checked regularly. Over time, high blood pressure can contribute to health problems such as heart failure, stroke, heart disease, kidney failure and more.

Blood pressure can often be managed by following a healthy diet, exercising, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and coping with stress. A variety of medications also are available to help with lowering blood pressure. Most of the drugs work well with few side effects. Just a few of the many types of blood-pressure-lowering drugs include alpha blockers, beta blockers, diuretics and calcium channel blockers, among others. Individuals should work closely with their doctor to find the right medicine for any blood pressure problems.

SOURCES: U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; American Heart Association

Date Posted
Article Title
11/20/2017
11/15/2017
11/13/2017
11/1/2017
Cutting Salt, Adding Spice

Adding spices to your food may help cut salt cravings and lower blood pressure, new study finds.

10/31/2017
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Creepy Creatures Can Be Medical Marvels, Too

How modern medicine uses leeches, snakes, maggots and more to save lives

10/9/2017
Can Sauna Sweats Lower Your Blood Pressure?

Frequent bathers reaped the most benefits in Finnish study

10/4/2017
High Blood Pressure in 40s a Dementia Risk for Women?

Study didn't find same link in men

9/27/2017
High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy May Boost Child's Obesity Risk

Even high readings in the last trimester linked to greater odds, study found

9/16/2017
Some May Need a Little Help Monitoring Blood Pressure at Home

Heart group says single, less educated people too often forgo this key means of tracking their health

9/15/2017
Which Single Behavior Best Prevents High Blood Pressure?

One critical trait emerged when researchers reviewed smoking and drinking habits, weight, diet and exercise

9/7/2017
Sleep Apnea Wreaks Havoc on Your Metabolism

Finding supports use of CPAP therapy for condition, so blood pressure and blood sugar levels don't jump

8/30/2017
Common Painkillers May Boost Blood Pressure in Arthritis Patients

Widely used NSAID drugs may not be as safe as previously thought, researchers warn

8/23/2017
More Support for Tight Blood Pressure Control

Aggressive treatment seemed well-tolerated and worth greater expense, studies found

8/22/2017
Doctor-Patient Dialogue May Boost Use of Blood Pressure Drugs

Physicians in poor neighborhoods should ask about employment, relationships, study says

8/21/2017
Kids' Cases of High Blood Pressure May Rise Under New Guidelines

Simplified tables from American Academy of Pediatrics likely to raise detection rates

8/21/2017
Lower Blood Pressure Best for Seniors' Minds

And study found that healthy reductions may benefit blacks even more than whites

8/10/2017
Is Pot Linked to Blood Pressure Deaths?

Study suggests so, but heart expert questions the finding

6/28/2017
Heavy Teens May Be Setting Themselves Up for a Stroke

But kids who lose weight by age 20 can cut their chances, study suggests

6/26/2017
What Men Need to Know About ED Drugs and Anesthesia

Having surgery? Be forthright about use of erectile dysfunction drugs to prevent dangerous complications

6/22/2017
Lifestyle Changes Might Prevent or Slow Dementia

The public should be aware of this encouraging research, expert says

5/15/2017
Does Racial Segregation Raise Blood Pressure?

Readings dropped when blacks moved to more integrated neighborhoods, U.S. study says

4/26/2017
Energy Drinks May Give the Heart an Unhealthy Jolt

Popular beverages also affect blood pressure for hours, small trial shows

4/26/2017
Could an Ice Bag to the Face Be Life-Saver for Trauma Patients?

This easy remedy might give first responders needed time to transport injured patients, researchers say

4/26/2017
Salt and Blood Pressure

Following a low salt diet may not help lower blood pressure in the long-term, study finds.

4/25/2017
Routine Tests Urged for Pregnancy Complication Preeclampsia

Expert panel recommends blood-pressure check at every prenatal visit

4/18/2017
Blood Pressure: Know Your Numbers

The results offer clues to your health

4/6/2017
Who Really Needs Blood Pressure, Cholesterol Meds?

Exercise and other lifestyle adjustments should be tried first, Consumer Reports advises

3/10/2017
Dizzy Spells in Middle-Age Tied to Dementia Risk Later

Rapid drops in blood pressure that cause light-headedness may do serious damage, study suggests

3/6/2017
Many People Don't Take Their High Blood Pressure Meds: Study

Failure to follow doctors' orders leads to unnecessary and costly treatment, research shows

2/22/2017
Unhealthy in Middle Age, Dementia in Old Age?

Diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking may set you up for Alzheimer's, research suggests

2/16/2017
Cutting Salt a Health Boost for Kidney Patients

Blood pressure and fluid retention improve in those counseled by dietitians, small study shows

2/7/2017
Too Many Americans Have High Blood Pressure, Doctors Warn

With February designated National Heart Month, now is a good time to get checked, treated

1/30/2017
Exercise May Help Black Americans Lower Blood Pressure Risk

Recommended 150 minutes of moderate activity weekly cut odds by almost 25 percent in study

1/17/2017
Hispanics, Blacks Less Likely to Get High Blood Pressure Treatment: Study

Less than half from any group had BP under good control

1/12/2017
Could Mom's Pre-Pregnancy Blood Pressure Predict Baby's Gender?

Higher -- but still normal -- readings may mean a boy, study suggests

1/11/2017
High Blood Pressure Often Undiagnosed, Untreated

Half of mobile clinic patients with the condition said they didn't know they had it, study finds

1/10/2017
Brisk Walk May Help Sidestep Heart Disease

In just 10 weeks, cholesterol, blood pressure and weight improved among women in study

1/10/2017
High Blood Pressure Increasing Worldwide

And health risks may appear even at levels once considered safe, researchers contend

12/16/2016
Yoga and Blood Pressure

Patients with prehypertension may benefit from practicing yoga, new study finds.

12/8/2016
Yoga Called Good Medicine for High Blood Pressure

People who added this practice to a healthy lifestyle saw their pressure levels drop, study found

12/6/2016
Accuracy of Blood Pressure readings

Are blood pressure readings in a doctor's office or health clinic higher than normal due to anxiety?

12/5/2016
Normal Blood Pressure in Clinic May Mask Hypertension

Young, lean patients can have high blood pressure that's not caught during regular exams, study finds

12/2/2016
24-Hour Shifts Can Play Havoc With the Heart

Small study found lack of sleep affected blood pressure, heart rate in healthy volunteers

11/16/2016
High Blood Pressure Rates Have Doubled Worldwide Since 1975

Most of the burden lies in poorer nations and not the U.S. and other wealthy countries, study finds

11/15/2016
Stressed Childhood Might Raise Risk for High Blood Pressure Later

And second study found link to family history

11/14/2016
Sharp Drop in Blood Pressure After Rx May Be Risky for Some Heart Patients

Early study suggests potential downside, but more research is needed, experts say

11/14/2016
Omega-3s a Recipe for Healthy Blood Pressure in Young Adults

Study found higher blood levels of fatty acids were linked with lower blood pressure

10/26/2016
Can Teens' Heart Rate, Blood Pressure Show Ties to Mental Ills?

Indicators of schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety might be spotted in physical at 18