why does blood pressure fluctuate so much
My blood pressure readings vary throughout the day. Sometimes they're high and sometimes they're low. So I'm not sure if I have high blood pressure or not. Blood pressure varies throughout the day and is influenced by a number of factors, says Dr. Joshua Penn, a cardiologist with Cedars-Sinai Medical Group and in private practice in Beverly Hills. For starters, all humans have a natural daily rise and fall in blood pressure that corresponds with their circadian rhythm. For most people, blood pressure will be at its lowest in the early morning hours and then rise through the late morning and peak in midafternoon. Typically, this range will be about 10 to 15 millimeters of mercury on the upper, or systolic, value, which represents the peak pressure in the arteries; and five to 10 millimeters of mercury on the lower, or diastolic, value, which represents the lowest pressure at the resting phase of the cardiac cycle. Thus, a person with a resting blood pressure of 125/70 at 3 a. m. , might have a reading of 140/80 by late afternoon. Other factors contribute to fluctuations in blood pressure, but the most common one is hypertension, a condition characterized by chronic high blood pressure. "When a person has a history of hypertension, or if the blood pressure has not been well-controlled over a period of years, then the vessels themselves become more reactive, meaning they tighten up with less provocation than they would in an average person," Penn says. One of the manifestations of poorly controlled blood pressure is a high degree of variability, he says. A person with a lot of variation could easily have a blood pressure of 140/90 in the morning and a reading of 200/100 later in the day. Other factors, such as stress, emotional upsets and food sensitivities can cause an increase in blood pressure.
Someone who is salt sensitive, for example, could get a double-digit boost from a big dose of salt. Certain street drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, can cause a spike. Finally, there's a phenomenon known as "white coat hypertension," in which the stress of a visit to the doctor's office causes an elevation in blood pressure. On the other side of the coin, alcohol, cessation of exercise and a warm environment can lower blood pressure. Penn has found home blood pressure devices (particularly the ones that measure blood pressure at the biceps, rather than the wrist or finger) to be reasonably accurate Б "usually within 10 points on the upper and five on the lower. They can actually be quite helpful," he says. Many physicians think that optimal blood pressure is below 120/80 and that blood pressure from 120/80 to 139/89 signifies that the patient may be at risk for hypertension. Blood pressure above 139/89 in several readings would be considered mild hypertension. "We know from data that lower natural blood pressure is associated with longevity," Penn says. Hypertension, which is partly genetic and tends to increase with age, can usually be controlled with proper medical attention, diet and exercise.
Knowing the facts can help you make smart choices One of the best things about educating yourself about (HBP or hypertension) is shattering these myths. Myth: High blood pressure runs in my family. There is nothing I can do to prevent it. High blood pressure can run in families. If your parents or close blood relatives have had high blood pressure, you are more likely to develop it, too.
However, have allowed many people with a family history of high blood pressure to avoid it themselves. Myth: I don t use table salt, so I m in control of my sodium intake and my blood pressure. In some people, sodium can increase blood pressure. But means more than just putting down the salt shaker. It also means checking labels, because up to 75 percent of the sodium we consume is hidden in processed foods like tomato sauce, soups, condiments, canned foods and prepared mixes. When buying prepared and prepackaged foods, read the labels. Watch for the words soda and sodium and the symbol Na on labels. These words show that sodium compounds are present. Myth: I use kosher or sea salt when I cook instead of regular table salt. They are low-sodium alternatives. Chemically, kosher salt and sea salt are the same as table salt 40 percent sodium and count the same toward total sodium consumption. Table salt is a combination of the two minerals sodium (Na) and chloride (Cl). Myth: I feel fine. I don t have to worry about high blood pressure. About 85 million U. S. adults have high blood pressure and many of them don t know it or don t experience typical symptoms. High blood pressure is also a major risk factor for stroke. If uncontrolled, high blood pressure can lead to serious and severe. Myth: People with high blood pressure have nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping and their face becomes flushed. I don t have those symptoms so I m good. Many people have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. It s often called the silent killer because it usually has no symptoms. You may not be aware that it s damaging your arteries, heart and other organs. and don t make the mistake of assuming any specific symptoms will let you know there s a problem.
Myth: I read that wine is good for the heart, which means I can drink as much as I want. If you drink alcohol, including red wine, do so in moderation. Heavy and regular use of alcohol can increase blood pressure dramatically. It can also cause heart failure, lead to stroke and produce irregular heartbeats. Too much alcohol can contribute to high triglycerides, cancer, obesity, alcoholism, suicide and accidents. If you drink, limit consumption to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. Generally, one drink equals a 12-ounce beer, a four-ounce glass of wine, 1. 5 ounces of 80-proof liquor, or one ounce of hard liquor (100 proof). My t h: I have high blood pressure and my doctor checks it for me. This means I don t need to check it at home. Because blood pressure can fluctuate, and recording of blood pressure readings can provide your healthcare provider with valuable information to determine whether you really have high blood pressure and, if you do, whether your treatment plan is working. It s important to take the readings at the same time each day, such as morning and evening, or as your healthcare professional recommends. Myth: I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, but I have been maintaining lower readings, so I can stop taking my medication. High blood pressure can be a lifelong disease. Follow your healthcare professional s recommendations carefully, even if it means taking medication every day for the rest of your life. By partnering with your, you can successfully reach your treatment goals and enjoy the benefits of better health. This content was last reviewed October 2016.
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