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
5/11/2018
4/19/2018
Tracking BP at Home vs. in a Medical Setting

Blood pressure readings taken during normal daily activities help predict heart death risk, new study finds.

4/18/2018
4/18/2018
4/17/2018
4/12/2018
4/9/2018
4/2/2018
4/2/2018
Blood Pressure and Pregnancy

High blood pressure before pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage, study finds.

3/22/2018
3/19/2018
3/13/2018
3/12/2018
3/12/2018
3/5/2018
2/5/2018
1/29/2018
1/25/2018
1/17/2018
1/16/2018
1/4/2018
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
10/30/2017
10/22/2017
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