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Hemorrhage, drug overdoses, heart or kidney failure, blood poisoning, or another condition that overwhelms the body can cause blood pressure to drop dramatically.

Guide No More High Blood Pressure - Practical Steps to Defeat High Blood Pressure for Life

Symptoms of low blood pressure range from light-headedness to dizziness to weakness and unconsciousness. The initial diagnostic test for high blood pressure is usually an elevated blood pressure discovered in a regular doctor's office visit. If an abnormal blood pressure is suspected, the doctor completes a health history and history of family blood pressure problems.

A complete physical examination with laboratory tests blood count , blood chemistries and urinalysis and cardiac testing electrocardiogram are done to determine overall health, especially risk of heart disease. Arterial blood pressure is measured as is blood pressure in the arms and legs peripheral blood pressure. Several types of blood pressure measurements may be used, including the familiar mercurybased method sphygmomanometer , which requires wrapping a pressure cuff around the arm and tightening it by squeezing a bulb, then reading the results on a meter.

Other digital and mechanical methods are used, primarily in hospitals. Home methods are available for self-monitoring. Treatment for high blood pressure involves use of pressure-lowering drugs and changes in diet and lifestyle. Lifestyle changes are usually recommended first, and diet is often a significant factor. A vegetarian diet has been shown to be associated with lower blood pressure.

The DASH diet consists of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts. A group of adults tested after consuming this diet for a period of time all experienced significant reductions in blood pressure. Other recommended changes include reducing salt intake, caffeine and alcohol. Increasing physical activity is often recommended, including exercise as simple as walking. Weight loss may be an important factor for some individuals.


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Clinical trials have shown that reducing weight is able to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels. Weight loss programs are a combination of low-fat-diet and an exercise regimen that involves use of the long muscles in the legs. It has not been shown that weight loss prevents the rise in blood pressure that occurs normally as people age, even if these individuals are on a diet that restricts salt intake. Individuals with diabetes or heart disease need to treat the underlying disease as well.

Physicians may recommend stress reduction for some individuals.

If weight loss, exercise and dietary changes alone do not make a significant difference in blood pressure, the physician may prescribe drugs to reduce fluid levels diuretics and blood pressure reducing medications anti-hypertensive drugs such as beta blockers. Reducing salt intake and increasing potassium in foods or with supplements is part of any diet for lowering blood pressure.

Whether an individual should follow a salt-free, low-salt, or no-salt-added diet depends on the degree of elevation of blood pressure. For some, it may be sufficient to avoid adding table salt to foods for taste. Eliminating hidden salt found in a wide variety of foods can also be avoided. Canned and commercially prepared foods such as packaged meals and meats, pizza, entrees and soups, including bouillon are examples. Other high-salt items to avoid include chips, sauerkraut, anchovies and some ocean fish, olives and pickles, cheeses, and most meats, including pork, beef and all meats preserved with sodium.

Anything containing sodium should be avoided, including food additives MSG monosodium glutamate and Accent, baking soda , diet sodas, softened water, meat tenderizer, soy sauce, and sodium-based medications such as naproxen sodium Advil and Nuprin. High blood pressure is treatable and can be reduced or reversed with appropriate treatment and lifestyle changes. Any elevation of blood pressure can shorten an individual's life expectancy. Severely high blood pressure twice normal can not be tolerated for more than one to two years.

Extremely low blood pressure associated with life-threatening conditions stemming from a severe disease state may result in critical oxygen depletion hypoxia and death. Lifestyle measures shown to help prevent high blood pressure include those recommended for reducing high blood pressure:. Balch, P. Oparil S. Edited by Goldman et al. Philadelphia: W. Saunders, Used to remove excess fluid from the body to relieve extra strain on the heart and reduce high blood pressure. Can be the result of a drop in blood pressure.

An ischemic process can cause pain and organ dysfunction. Chobanian, A. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. November 13, Retrieved November 13, from Encyclopedia.

Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia. Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood against the blood vessel walls as blood flows through the vessels.

The heart beats about 60 to 70 times a minute. With each beat as the heart contracts, a surge of blood is pumped from the heart into the arteries. The pressure in the artery walls during this surge is measured as the systolic blood pressure a higher number. Between beats, the heart is relaxed and there is much less pressure on the artery walls.

This is measured as the diastolic blood pressure a lower number. The pressure depends on the amount of blood pumped through the heart in addition to the resistance and elasticity of the blood vessels to the amount of blood flowing. Blood pressure is necessary to sustain life. It continuously forces blood carrying oxygen and nutrients from the heart to the organs and tissues of the body.

How to reduce blood pressure - British Heart Foundation

Blood pressure levels can go up or down in the course of a day depending on activity and stress levels, medications, or diet. A person's blood pressure is determined by the contraction of the heart's ventricles, which pump blood into the aorta and subsequently throughout the body. The normal adult blood pressure has a systolic number of and a diastolic number of Systolic pressure is taken when the heart contracts; diastolic pressure is taken when the heart is relaxed.

Normally, about 5. The body is dependent on its volume of blood to maintain blood pressure. If a person experiences heavy blood loss, blood pressure will plunge. Similarly, an increase in blood volume, in cases like water retention, will cause blood pressure to rise. The brain's medulla contains a cluster of nerves, called the cardiovascular center, that control heart rate, the contraction of the ventricles, and blood vessel diameter.

Sensory receptors monitor the stretching of blood vessel walls. During exercise, the heart rate rises and the ventricles contract more forcefully. The cardiovascular center then monitors the dilation expansion or constriction of peripheral blood vessels. For example, the blood vessels to organs directly involved the exercise will expand. Blood flow to skeletal muscles may increase by a factor of 10 and that to the heart and skin can triple.

Simultaneously, constriction will occur in the blood vessels of the digestive system. The sensory receptors in the walls of blood vessels continually monitor blood pressure. When the receptors detect an increase in aortic pressure, for example, the cardiovascular center directs the lowering of the heart rate and the stretching of blood vessels, which decreases the blood pressure.

A decrease in blood pressure causes an increased heart rate and vasoconstriction. As people age, the blood vessels become less flexible and the heart muscle is less strong, resulting in a smaller output and lower maximum heart rate. Systolic pressure tends to rise as a person ages. Coronary artery disease, which causes the blood vessels in the heart to receive inadequate oxygenation, can cause chest pain or heart attack. Atherosclerosis clogging of the arteries can also cause an increase in blood pressure.

Periodic blood pressure measurement is recommended every one to two years for adults with normal blood pressure. A healthcare provider should determine the frequency of blood pressure measurement based on each patient's individual risk factors for high blood pressure.

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Individual risk factors that contribute to high blood pressure, such as diabetes, a family history of high blood pressure, a diet high in fat and cholesterol, being African-American, elderly, overweight, a smoker, or heavy drinker, are important to consider when advising patients on the frequency of periodic blood pressure measurement. Prevention and management of high blood pressure requires not only active participation by the patient but also education and support from health care providers.

Patient education is a shared responsibility among physicians, nurses, dietitians, and allied health professionals. While patient education is time-consuming, it is very important to the process of maintaining health and preventing disease.