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How to do a Pulse Check.
Why Is High Blood Pressure Bad For The Heart?
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Management of hypertension in adults in primary care.
Having high blood pressure is one of several 'risk factors' that can increase your chance of developing heart disease, a stroke, and other serious conditions. As a rule, the higher the blood pressure, the greater the risk. Treatment includes a change in lifestyle risk factors where these can be improved - losing weight if you are overweight, regular physical activity, a healthy diet, cutting back if you drink a lot of alcohol, stopping smoking, and a low salt intake. If needed, medication can lower blood pressure.
The top (first) number is the systolic pressure. This is the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts.
The bottom (second) number is the diastolic pressure. This is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between each heartbeat.
just a high systolic pressure, for example, 170/70 mmHg.
just a high diastolic pressure, for example, 120/104 mmHg.
or both, for example, 170/110 mmHg.
a high risk of developing cardiovascular diseases (see below), or
an existing cardiovascular disease (see below), or
damage to the heart or kidney (organ damage) due to high blood pressure.
Have developed a complication of diabetes, especially kidney problems.
Have had a serious cardiovascular event such as a heart attack, TIA or stroke.
Have certain chronic (ongoing) kidney diseases.
with diabetes. About 3 in 10 people with Type 1 diabetes and more than half of people with Type 2 diabetes eventually develop high blood pressure.
from African-Caribbean origin.
from the Indian sub-continent.
with a family history of high blood pressure.
with certain lifestyle factors. That is, those who: are overweight, eat a lot of salt, don't eat many fruit and vegetables, don't take enough exercise, or drink a lot of alcohol.
A urine test to check if you have protein or blood in your urine.
A blood test to check that your kidneys are working fine, and to check your cholesterol level and sugar (glucose) level.
A heart tracing (an electrocardiogram, also called an ECG).
Rule out (or diagnose) a 'secondary' cause of high blood pressure such as kidney disease.
To check to see if the high blood pressure has affected the heart.
To check for other 'risk factors' such as a high cholesterol level or diabetes (see below).
Lifestyle risk factors that can be prevented or changed:
Lack of physical activity (a sedentary lifestyle).
An unhealthy diet.
Treatable or partly treatable risk factors:
Hypertension (high blood pressure).
High cholesterol blood level.
High trigliceride (fat) blood level.
Kidney diseases that affect kidney function.
Fixed risk factors - ones that you cannot alter:
A strong family history. This means if you have a father or brother who developed heart disease or a stroke before they were 55, or in a mother or sister before they were 65.
An early menopause in women.
Age. The older you become, the more likely you are to develop atheroma.
Ethnic group. For example, people who live in the UK with ancestry from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Sri Lanka have an increased risk.
A drug to lower blood pressure if it is 140/90 mmHg or higher.
A drug to lower your cholesterol level.
A daily low dose of aspirin. This reduces the risk of blood clots forming in the blood vessels over patches of atheroma (which cause strokes and heart attacks).
Where relevant, to encourage you to tackle 'lifestyle' risk factors such as smoking, lack of physical activity, diet, and weight.
Modifications to lifestyle (weight, exercise, diet, salt, and alcohol) if any of these can be improved upon (details below).
Medication (details below)
Use herbs and spices to flavour food rather than salt.
Limit the amount of salt used in cooking, and do not add salt to food at the table.
Choose foods labelled 'no added salt', and avoid processed foods as much as possible.
Eat a healthy diet
Briefley, this means:
AT LEAST five portions, and ideally 7-9 portions, of a variety of fruit and vegetables per day.
THE BULK OF MOST MEALS should be starch-based foods (such as cereals, wholegrain bread, potatoes, rice, pasta), plus fruit and vegetables.
NOT MUCH fatty food such as fatty meats, cheeses, full-cream milk, fried food, butter, etc. Use low fat, mono-, or poly-unsaturated spreads.
INCLUDE 2-3 portions of fish per week. At least one of which should be 'oily' such as herring, mackerel, sardines, kippers, pilchards, salmon, or fresh (not tinned) tuna.
If you eat meat it is best to eat lean meat, or poultry such as chicken.
If you do fry, choose a vegetable oil such as sunflower, rapeseed or olive oil.
Low in salt.
A healthy diet provides health benefits in different ways. For example, it can lower cholesterol, help control your weight, and has plenty of vitamins, fibre, and other nutrients which help to prevent certain diseases. Some aspects of a healthy diet also directly affect blood pressure. For example, if you have a poor diet and change to a diet which is low-fat, low-salt, and high in fruit and vegetables, it can lower systolic blood pressure by up to 11 mmHg.
Drink alcohol in moderation
A small amount of alcohol (1-2 units per day) may help to protect you from heart disease. One unit is in about half a pint of normal strength beer, or two thirds of a small glass of wine, or one small pub measure of spirits.
However, too much alcohol can be harmful.
Men should drink no more than 21 units of alcohol per week (and no more than four units in any one day).
Women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week (and no more than three units in any one day).
Cutting back on heavy drinking improves health in various ways. It can also have a direct effect on blood pressure. For example, if you are drinking heavily, cutting back to the recommended limits can lower a high systolic blood pressure by up to 10 mmHg.
All people who have a blood pressure that remains at 160/100 mmHg or above after a trial of any lifestyle changes, where relevant.
People with a blood pressure that remains at 140/90 mmHg or above after a trial of any lifestyle changes, where relevant AND who have:
An existing cardiovascular diseases, or
A 2 in 10 risk (or more) of developing a cardiovascular disease within the next 10 years (as described above).
People with a blood pressure of 130/80 mmHg or more who have certain diseases. For example, people who have certain complications from diabetes, people who have had a recent heart attack, stroke or TIA (transient ischaemic attack). Also, some people with certain chronic (ongoing) kidney diseases.
If you are otherwise well but are diagnosed with high blood pressure then the target is to reduce blood pressure to below 140/85. This target generally applies to people who have a 2 in 10 risk (or more) of developing a cardiovascular disease within the next 10 years but who have not developed any disease.
In some cases, the target is to get the blood pressure below 130/80 mmHg. This generally applies to people who have diseases where very good blood pressure control is important. This includes:
People who have a cardiovascular disease.
People with diabetes.
People who have a chronic kidney disease.
Source - saga magazine
The normal electrical pattern of your heart is called sinus rhythm. The sinus node is your heart’s natural pacemaker. By producing an electrical impulse, the sinus node makes your atria – or your heart’s top chambers – contract and push blood through to the ventricles – the lower chambers. When the impulses reach the ventricles, they contract to push the blood out of the heart and into the lungs and the rest of the body. These electrical impulses cause your heart to beat.
Sinus trachycardia means the heart is beating fast, over 100 bpm
Sinus bradycardia means the heart is beating slowly, less than 60 bpm.
These are normal heart rhythms and are usually harmless.
Your heart is beating either very fast or very slowly
The electrical impulses are coming from another part of the heart and not the sinus node, causing an irregular beat
The electrical impulses are coming from the sinus node, but going to the bottom of the heart by an unusual path.
The most common arrhythmia is Atrial Fibrillation.
Source - bhf
Checking your pulse allows you to check that your heart rhythm is regular. It’s can also help to detect atrial fibrillation – an abnormal irregular heartbeat.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) occurs when the upper chambers of the heart - the atria - beat irregularly and often rapidly. This can lead to the formation of blood clots that enter the blood stream and block circulation to the brain, causing a stroke.