Archive for November, 2007

How To Get An Accurate Blood Pressure Reading

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on November 29th, 2007

It is very quick and easy for a doctor to check your blood pressure by using a sphygmomanometer, which consists of a gauge, a stethoscope and a blood pressure cuff.  Generally your doctor will take a reading whilst you are either sat or laid down so that you are as relaxed as possible.  However in order for them to get an accurate reading you should consider the following prior to your visit to the doctors.

1.  If you smoke you should stop smoking around 30 minutes before you are due to have your blood pressure checked. 

2.  You should also stop drinking coffee 30 minutes before it is checked as well.

3.  If at all possible wear a top with short sleeves, as the doctor needs to place the cuff around the top part of the arm.

4.  Also ensure that your bladder is empty before the doctor takes a reading as this can alter the results.

5.  Before going into the doctor’s surgery ensure you arrive in good time to sit quietly in the waiting area for 5 minutes to relax, especially if you had to walk or there was physical exertion on the way to the surgery.

6.  Finally, once the reading has been taken you should ask either doctor or nurse to tell you what the reading is in numbers and what it means.

Many people will go for years without realizing that they are suffering from high blood pressure, as they have shown no signs or symptoms.

It is only if the condition begins to develop further that recognizable symptoms can be seen, although, these signs and symptoms can often be confused with other medical conditions.

Once the condition becomes more developed people may suddenly find that they begin to suffer with the following problems more regularly.

1.  Headaches

2.  Dizziness (Dizzy spells)

3.  Nosebleeds

But these particular high blood pressure signs do not actually appear until the condition has reached the advance stage when it can actually become life threatening.

If untreated, high blood pressure can lead to very serious diseases like heart disease, kidney failure and strokes, and these conditions will have their own secondary symptoms.

It is especially important that if you have diabetes or constantly suffer from either anxiety or stress you regularly get your blood pressure monitored.  Also it is important that if you begin to notice any of the high blood pressure signs mentioned above to make an appointment to see your doctor who will be able diagnose the problems and identify an appropriate treatment plan for you.

If you haven’t already done so, sign up for the free Relieve Blood Pressure Newsletter and discover new and natural methods to manage high blood pressure. In the newsletter you’ll also find other ways to lower blood pressure along with more information on how to ensure you stay within the correct blood pressure range.

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Which Blood Pressure Equipment To Have At Home?

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on November 15th, 2007

The mercury sphygmomanometer is the most common piece of blood pressure equipment you are likely to see.  Certainly when you walk in to your doctor’s surgery it is usually a feature, and a standard piece of equipment which is taken out at what seems like every opportunity…

The concern that most doctors have about high blood pressure in their patients is understandable.  The numbers of cases of people with high blood pressure is on the rise, with the blame being put squarely on our westernized lifestyles of low activity, a diet rich in sodium, high in fat and processed foods, and busy stressful schedules. 

Although the incidence of high blood pressure diagnosed on the increase, there are many people who are not diagnosed, as there are few symptoms to show that a person has high blood pressure unless it becomes chronic.  This is why it is called the “silent killer”

So, this is why a doctor will take blood pressure of a patient, it seems at any given opportunity, as this is currently the best way of telling if someone has high blood pressure.

If high blood pressure is spotted there are some effective steps that need to be taken to lower blood pressure as soon as possible, as it is the elevated blood pressure that can cause damage to arteries and major organs.

The mercury sphygmomanometer is slowly being replaced by automated equipment, but it is still used by many physicians because it is durable, easy to read and in most cases will not need any readjustment even if it has been used for years.  It relies on gravity to ensure that it provides the user with a consistent and accurate reading at all times.

They have a long tubular gauge, which is often made from either glass or plastic, which contains mercury.  Generally, this type of equipment is not recommended for home use, as it can be bulky and if the mercury leaks it can be a hazard. However there are some versions which have been especially designed for home use, which are both lightweight and relatively safe. 

Most models use a D cuff and a separate stethoscope to help in the reading process.  However the models that are used at home generally come with a D cuff that has a stethoscope attached to it so that it is convenient for a person to use themselves and so they will be able to take their own blood pressure reading. 

There are some disadvantages to using a home mercury sphygmomanometer.  The first being is that they can be bulky to carry, there is padding to ensure that it can survive a few gentle knocks, but this can make it harder to transport. Also, when travelling abroad there may be the need to declare that toxic substances are being transported.

You will also need it to be a position that you can read it easily (eye level is best) to ensure that the reading you take is accurate.

Plus, unfortunately, because of its design the mercury may not work as well for those people who have either a visual or hearing impediment.  It is also not the right kind of equipment to be used by people who can not carry out the hand movement required to squeeze the bulb to inflate the D cuff.  In this case an automatic machine that has a built in pump would be a better option.

If you are intent on having some form of blood pressure equipment at home, then consider an automated machine.  They have shown to require less manual manipulation and can include functions to make reading blood pressure easier like automatic inflation and a digital read out.

For more details on automated blood pressure monitors go here:
Automatic Blood Pressure Monitors

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Are You In The Right Blood Pressure Range?

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on November 8th, 2007

High blood pressure is like many health conditions; each person will be able tolerate different ranges of blood pressure levels and they will have differing effects on each persons body. There are some guidelines that can help the medical community apply a standard approach dependent upon the blood pressure range they fit within.

This can be a bit of a blunt approach to the problem, as the point where elevated blood pressure becomes a problem is different for each person.  But in general, as these guidelines are based on the average readings across a large population they can be considered as relatively accurate.

Interestingly, the numerical ranges that are used in different countries vary and are set by the medical community in each region.  This is generally because some races have different tolerance and research has shown in those regions what is an acceptable risk.

In the US for people to be considered as having a “normal” blood pressure reading they would need to have a reading of 120 mm Hg or less for their systolic blood pressure and 80 mm Hg or less for their diastolic blood pressure. 

It is worth noting that blood pressure levels can be naturally lower in children.

To clarify, the systolic reading is derived from the contraction of the heart and is a measure of the maximum pressure on the arteries during the time when the left ventricle of the heart contracts.

The diastolic reading is the measure of the blood pressure taken after the contraction has occurred.  It should be the lowest arterial pressure reading during the cardiac cycle.

The mmHg references the way that blood pressure has historically been taken, and refers to millimetres of Mercury (chemical symbol Hg).  A person’s blood pressure has historically been measured through the use of a sphygmomanometer, which often has a glass, or plastic tube that contains mercury, which rises and falls dependent upon the arterial blood pressure. Now electronic equipment is replacing the mercury filled devices, although the measurements used as still based around the older mercury system.

Normally a doctor will only diagnose a person suffering from high blood pressure (hypertension) after they have a number of readings that are elevated, as there are a number of factors that can influence blood pressure readings, including medication, general health, exercise, coffee and tea and anxiety and stress.  Therefore it is important to get a “true” reading over some time.

“White Coat” hypertension is one example of a condition when a faulty or skewed reading must be eliminated if there is going to be an accurate blood pressure reading.  This is when a person feels natural anxiety when visiting a surgery or the doctor, which has the effect of raising blood pressure temporarily.

There are a number of stages of hypertension, which can be identified as following.

Normal blood pressure levels - indicated by a systolic reading up to 120mmHg, and a diastolic reading up to 80mmHg.

A person is Pre-Hypertentive when they have a systolic blood pressure reading of between 120mmHg – 139mmHg OR a diastolic reading of between 80mmHg – 89mmHg.

Stage 1 Hypertension is when a person has a systolic blood pressure reading of between 140mmHg – 159mmHg OR a diastolic reading of between 90mmHg – 99mmHg

Stage 2 Hypertension is when a person has a systolic blood pressure reading of between 160mmHg – 179mmHg OR a diastolic reading of between 100mmHg – 109mmHg

And stage 3 Hypertension is when a person has a systolic blood pressure reading of 190mmHg or higher OR a diastolic reading of 110mmHg or higher.

Obviously the higher the blood pressure range you are within, the more risk there is of a serious complications like stroke, heart attack or kidney problems.

If you haven’t already done so, sign up for the free Relieve Blood Pressure Newsletter and discover new and natural methods to manage high blood pressure. In the newsletter you’ll also find other ways to lower blood pressure along with more information on how to ensure you stay within the correct blood pressure range.

 

 

 

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Are You at Risk for This Potential High Blood Pressure Complication?

Posted in Blood Pressure Reduction on November 1st, 2007

There are millions of women around the world who are using birth control pills as an effective way of avoiding becoming pregnant.  Also some women and young girls who take the birth control pill do so as a way to help with irregular periods or deal with other health problems they may have such as acne or endometriosis. But it is important that every woman understand the high blood pressure risk and birth control pill connection to ensure they manage the potential dangers of hypertension.

First lets cover a little bit about birth control pills and how they work.  The most commonly used birth control pills are made from a synthetic mixture of two hormones (estrogen and progesterone).  However there is one particular type of birth control pill, which contains just the synthetic hormone progesterone and this is more commonly known as the mini pill. 

The pill works by fooling the body into thinking it is pregnant and so suppressing the hormones that trigger ovulation. They also reduce the development of the uterus lining and increase the amount of mucous in the cervix, making it harder to sperm to navigate its way to its target.

The hormones in the contraceptive pill that do a great job at stopping ovulation are synthetic replicas of our own hormones, and can increase the risk of a women having high blood pressure.

Studies that have been carried out in the past show that contraceptive pills can elevate blood pressure levels, but since many of those studies were completed the levels of hormones used in contraceptive pills have been reduced. 

However, there is still a greater risk of hypertension for those that take contraceptive pills compared to women who don’t. This is why a doctor will take certain precautions when prescribing them.

The level of increase in blood pressure of someone who takes the contraceptive pill can range from nothing/ mild, to severe with only a few factors that have been identified as potentially increasing the risk; these include:

- Having a family history of high blood pressure especially on the female side
- Having a history of high blood pressure during pregnancy
- Having a heart or blood vessel condition

Also, the risk of elevated blood pressure seems to increase with age, length of usage and body mass.

When a women first decides to start taking a contraceptive pill she will usually have a baseline blood pressure reading taken.  This is so if there are marked changes to the blood pressure levels they can be identified when future readings are taken.  To be sure there are no adverse effects the doctor is likely to request a new user to revisit every few weeks to initially monitor any potential impacts on blood pressure.

When requesting a repeat prescription a doctor or nurse will again take blood pressure measurements to ensure there is no abnormality in blood pressure readings.

If blood pressure levels have risen then there are a few options available to the doctor, including;

- Allowing continuation with the contraceptive pill alongside close monitoring
- Discontinue the use of the contraceptive pill and try another contraceptive option
- Switch to another contraceptive pill and monitor the reaction.

Although there is a recognized high blood pressure birth control pill link, there have been few recent studies that allow for an understanding of the complete risk.  All that is known is that each person may react differently to taking contraceptive pills and close monitoring of blood pressure is required initially, followed by regular blood pressure checks throughout the course duration.

If you haven’t already done so, sign up for the free Relieve Blood Pressure Newsletter and discover new and natural methods to manage high blood pressure. In the newsletter you’ll also find other ways to lower blood pressure along with more information on other potential complications like the high blood pressure birth control pills risk.

 

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