What is High Blood Pressure?
Anyone whose blood pressure is 140/90mmhg or more for a sustained period is said to have high blood pressure, or hypertension.
Blood pressure is usually divided into five categories:
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
Systolic mmHg 90 or less, or
Diastolic mmHg 60 or less
Systolic mmHg 90-119, and
Diastolic mmHg 60-79
Systolic mmHg 120-139, and
Diastolic mmHg 80-89
- Stage 1 Hypertension
Systolic mmHg 140-159, and
Diastolic mmHg 90-99
- Stage 2 Hypertension
Systolic mmHg over 160, and
Diastolic mmHg over 100
Most people with high blood pressure will not experience any symptoms until levels reach about 180/110 mmHg.
High blood pressure symptoms typically include:
- Headache – usually, this will last for several days.
- Nausea – a sensation of unease and discomfort in the stomach with an urge to vomit.
- Vomiting – less common than just nausea.
- Dizziness – Lightheadedness, unsteadiness, and vertigo.
- Blurred or double vision (diplopia).
- Epistaxis – nosebleeds.
- Palpitations – disagreeable sensations of irregular and/or forceful beating of the heart.
- Dyspnea – breathlessness, shortness of breath.
Anybody who experiences these symptoms should see their doctor immediately.
Children with high blood pressure may have the following signs and symptoms:
- Blurred vision.
- Bell’s palsy – inability to control facial muscles on one side of the face.
Newborns and very young babies with high blood pressure may experience the following signs and symptoms:
- Failure to thrive.
- Respiratory distress.
Consequently people who are diagnosed with high blood pressure should have their blood pressure checked frequently. Even if yours is normal, you should have it checked at least once every five years, and more often if you have any contributory factors.
The diagnosis of high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is certainly more common today with easier access to home blood pressure cuffs and the stringent guidelines as to what is considered normal. As a result of a diagnosis of high blood pressure today is treated with a litany of medications. Consequently high blood pressure has historically been related to heart attacks and strokes. As a result it has been burned into our social consciousness as the “silent killer”. Unfortunately, recent studies suggest that all this medicinal intervention over the past 20 years to bring everybody’s BP to the normal range of 120/80 has had no effect in reducing the statistical incidence of heart attacks and strokes.
I’d be willing to bet you that within a decade or two, the American Medical Association will agree that, maybe, just maybe, 125/85 can be considered normal blood pressure too. With my point taken, I need to add that true hypertension has been helped dramatically with blood pressure medications. The small percentage of the total patients on blood pressure medication who actually fall into this category should never stop their medications. In fact, no one should ever change their medications without consulting with their physician.
As a result those of us under chiropractic care have found that by keeping our nervous systems functioning well, our muscles relaxed and our vessels performing at their best we can more easily manage our blood pressure without medication. Our office would not advertise that chiropractic care can cure hypertension. I would say that I have personally witnessed many patients improve their blood pressures through chiropractic care.
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