Wednesday, March 3, 2010


What is high blood pressure?
Arteries are like hoses that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. If you put a crimp in a hose, pressure builds up inside it. High blood pressure (also called hypertension) occurs when your blood moves through your arteries at a higher pressure than normal.

What do the numbers mean?
Blood pressure is really two measurements, separated by a slash when written, such as 120/80. You may also hear someone say a blood pressure is "120 over 80."The first number is the systolic blood pressure. This is the peak blood pressure when your heart is squeezing blood out. The second number is the diastolic blood pressure. It's the pressure when your heart is filling with blood--relaxing between beats.A normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 140/90, you have what is called "prehypertension," which means that if you don’t take important steps, your blood pressure can turn into high blood pressure.

What problems does high blood pressure cause?
Both high blood pressure and prehypertension damage your blood vessels. This in turn raises your risk of stroke, kidney failure, heart disease and heart attack.

Does it have any symptoms?
Not usually. This is why it's so important to have your blood pressure checked regularly

How is it treated?
Treatment begins with changes you can make to your lifestyle to help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease (see the box below). If these changes don't work, you may also need to take medicine.Even if you need to take medicine, making some changes in your lifestyle can help reduce the amount of medicine you must take.

Lifestyle changes
- Don't smoke cigarettes or use any tobacco product.
- Lose weight if you're overweight.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables and is low in fat.
- Limit your sodium, alcohol and caffeine intake.
- Try relaxation techniques or biofeedback.

Types of antihypertensive drugs
- Diuretics: These drugs help your body get rid of extra sodium and fluid so that your blood vessels don't have to hold so much fluid.
- Beta-blockers: These drugs block the effects of adrenaline.
- Alpha-blockers: These drugs help your blood vessels stay open.
- ACE inhibitors: These drugs prevent your blood vessels from constricting by reducing how much angiotensin II your body makes. Angiotensin II is a chemical that constricts blood vessels (makes them more narrow).
- ARBs: These drugs work by blocking the effect of angiotensin II on cells
- Calcium channel blockers: These drugs help prevent your blood vessels from constricting by blocking calcium from entering your cells.
- Combinations: These drugs combine two medicines, like an ACE inhibitor or a beta-blocker plus a diuretic.

What are the possible side effects of medicine?
Different drugs have different side effects for different people. Side effects of antihypertensive drugs can include feeling dizzy when you stand up after lying down or sitting, lowered levels of potassium in your blood, problems sleeping, drowsiness, dry mouth, headaches, bloating, constipation and depression. In men, some antihypertensive drugs can cause problems with having an erection.Talk to your family doctor about any changes you notice. If one medicine doesn't work for you or causes side effects, you have other options. Let your doctor help find the right medicine for you.

PS: mine always around 90/65.....but my other half is consistently above 120/80..=(

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