I’ve been talking to many of the patients where I work and almost all of them don’t know there are two different high blood pressure ranges. The High blood pressure numbers recently changed in 2017 and there are new numbers that differentiate the different high blood pressure ranges. This article will tell you all about the first one, high blood pressure stage 1 aka hypertension. You’ll want to lower blood pressure here before getting into the more severe High Blood Pressure Stage.
What Is High Blood Pressure Stage 1? High Blood Pressure Stage 1 is when your blood pressure readings has a systolic number from 130-139 mm Hg OR a diastolic number from 80-89 mm Hg. In this range doctors are likely to suggest lifestyle changes and may consider medication based on your risk of cardiovascular disease.
High blood pressure stage 1 can lead to more severe health issues like a heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular disease (resource). This article will go into complete depth about how to recognize stage 1, the risk factors, causes and the best way to lower your blood pressure. Blood pressure in this range is getting more serious, and you’ll want to monitor it at home. I’ll inform you the best tips on how to accomplish that so you get the most accurate readings possible.
How Do You Know When You Have High Blood Pressure Stage 1?
I’m sure high blood pressure is a term you hear and use all the time, but do you really know what it means? High blood pressure is when your blood pressure, which is the force of your blood pushing against your blood vessel walls, is consistently too high. Close to half of American adults have High Blood Pressure and it’s frequently called the “silent killer” because you usually don’t know you have it.
You know when you have high blood pressure stage 1 when your BP readings have a systolic number from 130-139 mm Hg OR a diastolic number from 80-89 mm Hg (resource). Take note of the or between the two readings, only one of the numbers have to be in the range. Some of the other blood pressure ranges require both numbers to be in the range, but that’s not the case with high blood pressure stage 1.
In this range doctors are likely to suggest lifestyle changes and may consider medication based on your risk of cardiovascular disease. You’ll want to take immediate action to lower your blood pressure and avoid the next higher category which is high blood pressure stage 2. In that range doctors are likely to prescribe medication which is something you want to prevent at all costs.
High Blood Pressure Stage 1 Symptoms
Having symptoms of high blood pressure is a myth. High blood pressure doesn’t have any and that includes high blood pressure stage 1. This is why they call high blood pressure the “silent killer.” (resource) The only certain way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it routinely checked.
Be sure to undergo yearly physicals at the physician’s office even if you don’t have any health problems. While you’re there they will check and monitor your blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease you might need more frequent readings.
You can monitor your blood pressure at home with a home blood pressure monitoring device. This next section will explain to you in detail the proper way to monitor your blood pressure at home.
How To Monitor High Blood Pressure Stage 1 At Home
I’m not sure if you’re doing this already, but I recommend this to everyone. A record of your blood pressure readings taken over time can help you partner with your doctor to monitor your blood pressure. This helps to make sure any treatments you are receiving are working. The new blood pressure guidelines are encouraging people to check their blood pressure at home for a more accurate blood pressure history. In addition, this helps avoid white coat hypertension.
White coat hypertension is when blood pressure is elevated in the doctor’s office but not in other settings (resource). If you’re like me, I will experience nervousness at the doctor office especially when the nurse is wrapping that blood pressure cuff around my arm. There were times when I was completely calm until the cuff started to inflate because I wanted a low blood pressure reading and got nervous about it. This anxiety can raise your blood pressure readings and give a false indication of high blood pressure.
If you are monitoring your blood pressure at home, you want to make sure the blood pressure readings you are taking are accurate. This way they can help you and your doctor monitor your blood pressure the best way possible. If you’re thinking about getting a home blood pressure device you can check out my recommendations in this same website right here.
Home Blood Pressure Monitor Tips
- Before measuring your blood pressure don’t smoke or drink caffeinated beverages or exercise within 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure.
- Make sure you have 5 minutes of quiet rest before measuring and empty your bladder.
- It’s best to sit in an upright position, back straight and supported like in a dinning room chair and not on a sofa. Your feet should be flat on the floor, but your legs should not be crossed. Your arm should be supported by a flat surface such as a table or arm rest.
- Your upper arm has to be at heart level. If your blood pressure cuff is below or above heart level you can get a false reading.
- Place the cuff directly above the bend of the elbow. You can check your blood pressure monitor instructions for pictures.
- It’s important to take your blood pressure readings the same time every day such as morning or night and take your readings daily.
- Every time you take your blood pressure readings, take 2 or 3 of them one minute apart and record all your results.
- If your blood pressure monitor has a built-in memory to store your readings you can take it with you to your doctor appointments. If not, keep a log and bring it with you.
- Don’t take blood pressure measurements over clothes.
If your monitor has a built-in memory or not, it’s a good idea to bring it with you to your doctor once a year to have it checked for accuracy. The nurse or doctor can check your blood pressure with both a standard upper arm monitor they use and your home monitor. Both results can be compared to check if your home monitor is accurate.
Be aware that home monitoring is not a substitute for regular visits to your doctor. If you have been prescribed medication to lower your blood pressure, don’t stop taking them without consulting with your doctor. You’ll do this even if your home blood pressure readings are in the normal range.
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High Blood Pressure Stage 1 Risk Factors And Causes
There are 2 kinds of risk factors that you should be aware of. The first one are risk factors that you cannot change but should be aware of. The second kind of risk factors are ones that you can do something about and hopefully you do (resource).
High Blood Pressure Risk Factors You Cannot Change
- Age: You are more likely to get high blood pressure as you get older. As you age, your blood vessels gradually lose some of their elasticity, which can contribute to increased blood pressure.
- Family History: If your parents or other close relatives have high blood pressure, there’s an increased chance that you can get it too.
- Gender: Up to age 64, men are more likely to get high blood pressure than women are. At age 65 and older, women are more likely to get high blood pressure.
- Race: African-Americans are more likely to develop high blood pressure than any other racial background in the United States.
- Chronic Kidney Disease: High Blood Pressure may occur as a result of kidney disease. And, having HBP may also cause further kidney damage.
High Blood Pressure Risk Factors You Can Change
Get Off The Couch: Not getting enough physical activity increases your risk of getting high blood pressure. Physical activity is great for your heart and circulatory system in general and blood pressure is no exception. Aim to get about 20-30 minutes a day.
Obesity: Excess weight puts an extra strain on your heart and circulatory system that can cause serious health problems. It also increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Nutrition: Good nutrition from a variety of sources is critical for your health. A diet too high in calories, saturated and trans fat and sugar carry an additional risk of high blood pressure. Making healthy food choices can actually help lower blood pressure.
Excess Alcohol: Regular, heavy use of alcohol can cause many health problems, including heart failure, stroke and an irregular heartbeat. It can cause your blood pressure to increase dramatically and can also increase your risk of cancer, obesity, suicide and accidents.
High Cholesterol: More than half of the people with High Blood Pressure also have high cholesterol.
Smoking and Tobacco: Using tobacco can cause your blood pressure to temporarily increase and can contribute to damaged arteries.
Lack Of Sleep and Sleep Apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea may increase risk of developing High Blood Pressure and is common in people with resistant hypertension.
Stress: Too much stress may contribute to increased blood pressure. Also, too much stress can encourage behaviors that increase blood pressure, like poor diet, physical inactivity, using tobacco, illegal drugs or drinking alcohol more than usual.
What Are The Consequences Of High Blood Pressure Stage 1
If you have high blood pressure stage 1, it makes you more likely to develop higher blood pressure. High blood pressure is something you definitely want to prevent because it can lead to more severe health issues like (resource):
- Heart Attack
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Heart Failure
- Kidney Disease/Failure
- Vision Loss
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Peripheral Artery Disease
I speak to many people right after finding out they have high blood pressure. They all say they’re going to start making changes as recommended by the doctor. Most of the time, when I see them returning for a follow up visit, they tell me they haven’t been doing the things they should be doing. This leads me to the next part of this article which are ways to lower your blood pressure. The important part is actually taking action and following the recommendations. What’s good knowing but not acting on it?
Lifestyle Changes You Can Make To Avoid High Blood Pressure Stage 1
The most important is a change in your diet.
- Include more healthy fats such as fish
- Consume more foods high in potassium and magnesium.
- Eat foods with less sugar, the most dangerous are the excess amounts of added sugars like processed corn syrup.
Magnesium has a calming effect by relaxing the muscles in your body. It also keeps your veins and arteries relaxed. Because of this magnesium prevents your blood vessels from constricting and having constricted blood vessels can raise your blood pressure. Foods high in Magnesium include:
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Dark Chocolate
- Swiss Chard
- Spinach ( Popeye The Sailor Was Pretty Smart After All )
The blood pressure that I recommend contains magnesium as one of its main ingredients. You can see my recommendation in this same website right here.
Limit saturated and trans fats because they can increase your cholesterol. Foods high in these fats include:
- Fatty red meats
- Chicken with skin
- Cheese and other dairy products made from whole milk.
Try maintaining the potassium to sodium ratio of 4:1. The daily recommended amounts would be about 1,500 mg of sodium (unless you’re an athlete or have an occupation where you’re sweating all day) and 4,700 mg of potassium (resource). This ratio helps manage your blood pressure by controlling the amount of fluid stored in your body. Foods high in potassium include:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Leafy Greens
- Dried Apricots
Get off the couch and enjoy regular physical activity every day. Aim to get about 20-30 minutes of activity a day.
Physical Activities Can Include:
- High or Low Intensity Cardio
Even moderate physical activity, like brisk walking, is beneficial when done regularly. People who aren’t physically active are much more likely to have health issues like stroke or a heart attack. On the other hand, regular physical activity helps to lower High blood pressure stage 1, control weight, reduce stress and extend life expectancy.
Manage your stress with relaxation techniques which will help control your blood pressure (resource).
This can include:
- Listening to music
- Pressure Points
- Proper Sleep
Improving your sleep has many benefits beyond lowering blood pressure. Follow these tips to improve your sleep habits:
- Aim for a consistent sleep schedule even on your days off
- Try to go to sleep and wake up around the same times every day
- Keep your room dark and as quiet as possible
- Keep the room temperature cooler than hotter. The national sleep foundation recommends the room temperature between 60 and 67 degrees.
- Avoid tv, computer or phone screen time right before bedtime. This can stimulate brain activity and affect sleep quality.
End Bad Habits
The following bad habits will raise your elevated blood pressure: Excess Alcohol, Smoking & Illegal Drugs.
While smoking is a proven risk factor for stroke and heart attack, its connection to high blood pressure is still being determined. However smoking increases the risk for the buildup of plaque inside the arteries — a process that high blood pressure is known to accelerate. Every time you smoke, it also causes a temporary increase in blood pressure.
Managing High Blood Pressure Stage 1 Is A Commitment
If you have High Blood Pressure Stage 1 it’s vital that you listen to your doctor. Remember you are a part of your healthcare team. You and your doctor are partners. Educate yourself about High Blood Pressure Stage 1 and learn how to monitor your blood pressure at home. Armed with this information, you can commit to living heart healthy.
What is blood pressure? Your heart pumps blood into large vessels of the circulatory system every time it beats. The blood pumped into these vessels puts pressure on the walls of the vessels indicated by taking your Blood pressure.
How is high blood pressure stage 1 recorded? Blood pressure is recorded in 2 ways with in 2 numbers.The 1st number is your systolic blood pressure which indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats. The 2nd number is your diastolic blood pressure which indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting.
Systolic and diastolic numbers are measured in the abbreviation mmHg. The abbreviation mmHg means millimeters of mercury. The 1st accurate blood pressure gauges used mercury. Today, mercury is still used as the standard unit of measurement for blood pressure. So someone who has a blood pressure reading of 120/80 mmHg (often spoken as “120 over 80”) has a systolic blood pressure of 120 mmHg and a Diastolic blood pressure of 80 mmHg.
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If you found this Blood Pressure topic interesting check out these related blood pressure articles also found in this same website:
- Normal Blood Pressure – Surprisingly It’s NOT 120 Over 80
- High Blood Pressure Stage 2 – The MORE SERIOUS High BP Range
- Lower Blood Pressure Naturally With 3 Easy, Quick Methods