When To See A Doctor
If you think your pulse is low or your blood pressure is high, see your doctor to find out for sure and to determine the cause and appropriate treatment. Seek immediate medical care if your pulse is less than about 50 beats per minute and you are experiencing dizziness, severe fatigue or fainting. You should also see a doctor if your systolic blood pressure is above 180 mm Hg or your diastolic blood pressure is higher than 120 mm Hg.
Also obtain immediate medical attention if you have any of these symptoms, no matter what your pulse or blood pressure values are:
- Chest or back pain
- Numbness or other changes in sensation
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing
How Can I Lower My Blood Pressure In Minutes
Taking deep breaths is the best way to see immediate changes if your blood pressure is high. By lowering your blood pressure within minutes, you will slow your heart rate and decrease your blood pressure, which will help you sleep better. The release of hormones that cause your blood vessels to dilate is a sign of stress.
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You Shouldnt Ignore White Coat Hypertension
Some people experience white coat hypertension, when blood pressure is elevated in the doctors office but not in other settings. These patients need to monitor their blood pressure at home or wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitor that takes your blood pressure every 30 minutes for 24 hours.
While white coat hypertension was formerly considered simple nervousness, recent research suggests otherwise.
A study published in the journal Hypertension found that people with white coat hypertension are at a significantly greater risk for developing sustained high blood pressure than people who have normal blood pressure. One possible explanation is that people with white coat hypertension have a harder time managing stress and anxiety.
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Low Blood Pressure Treatment
Low blood pressure with no signs or symptoms or with very mild symptoms rarely requires treatment.
Explain any symptoms you have to your healthcare provider and what medications you are taking.
You may need to change, stop, or lower the dosage if your blood pressure is being affected by the medication.
Be Still My Heart: How A Heart Rhythm Specialist Can Help
When this happens, electrophysiologists first try and slow theheart rate using medicines, Dr. Taigen says. But these medicines, known asbeta-blockers or calcium channel blockers, can also drop the blood pressure,he notes. Quite often, theres not much room for blood pressure to go lower.
If your blood pressure is too low for medications, aprocedure called direct current cardioversion can get the rhythm back tonormal.
With this procedure, we put pads on the front and back of the chest and sedate the patient for a minute or two, Dr. Taigen explains. When they are asleep, we deliver a shock that stops the heart from beating irregularly, so the natural heartbeat resumes.Once the heart rhythm is back to normal, anelectrophysiologist determines if a more permanent treatment is needed. Thesecould include:
- Ablation: This procedure uses cold orheat energy to stop faulty electrical signals.
- Pacemaker: Doctors place a small deviceunder the skin to send electrical impulses that change the heart rhythm.
- Implantable cardioverter defibrillator :Like a pacemaker, the ICD works by detecting and stopping faulty heart rhythmswith electrical signals.
- Surgery: Surgeons create scar tissue withincisions to permanently interrupt faulty electrical pathways in the heart.
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How A Heart Attack Affects Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the inside walls of your arteries as it circulates throughout the body. Just as heart rate changes are unpredictable during a heart attack, so too are blood pressure changes.
Because blood flow in the heart is blocked and a portion of heart tissue is denied oxygen-rich blood, your heart may not be able to pump as strongly as it normally does, thus lowering your blood pressure.
A heart attack may also trigger a response from your parasympathetic nervous system, causing your heart and the rest of your body to relax and not fight while your heart struggles to keep blood circulating. This can also cause a dip in blood pressure.
On the other hand, the pain and stress from the heart attack can raise the blood pressure during a heart attack.
Blood pressure-lowering medications, such as diuretics or angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, can keep your blood pressure low during a heart attack, too.
Risk factors for a heart attack include modifiable factors, such as your weight, as well as those beyond your control, such as your age. Some of the most common conditions that raise your risk for a heart attack include:
- advancing age
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Weird Things That Can Mess With Your Heartbeat
Learn the top triggers of heart palpitations, plus what to do about each one.
A few weeks ago I thought I was having a heart attack. My morning started out normal: I woke up at my usual hour, feeling what I thought was a little bit of tiredness. But as I went about my morning routine, things grew scary. I broke out in a cold sweat as I brushed my teeth. My skin turned white as paper. And then, scariest of all: my heart was pounding like crazy. As a health writer I know these arent textbook signs of a heart attack, but I also know that dangerous cardiovascular events in women can be more subtle than those in men.
Later that day I went to urgent care, but an EKG and blood tests showed nothing out of the ordinary. Turns out my heartbeat went haywire as a result of a side effect from a medication. The technical term for this: heart palpitations, which can be brought on by many things.
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When a person says theyre having heart palpitations theyre referring to a sensation of their heart beating differently. Or they may simply have an awareness of their heart beating, explains Shephal Doshi, MD, director of cardiac electrophysiology at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, California.
Learn about some top triggers of palpitations, plus what to do about them.
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What Causes Low Blood Pressure
The cause of low blood pressure isnt always clear. It may be associated with the following:
- Some prescription medicines such as for high blood pressure, depression or Parkinsonâs disease
- Heart failure
- Severe dehydration from vomiting, diarrhea, or fever
- A reaction to medication or alcohol
- A severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis that causes an irregular heartbeat
Who Gets Postural Hypotension?
Postural hypotension, which is low blood pressure when standing up suddenly, can happen to anyone for a variety of reasons, such as dehydration, lack of food, or being overly fatigued. It can also be influenced by genetic make-up, aging, medication, dietary and psychological factors, and acute triggers, such as infection and allergy.
Postural hypotension occurs most frequently in people who are taking drugs to control high blood pressure . It can also be related to pregnancy, strong emotions, hardening of the arteries , or diabetes. The elderly are particularly affected, especially those who have high blood pressure or autonomic nervous system dysfunction.
Hypotension after meals is a common cause of dizziness and falls after eating. This is most common after large meals containing a lot of carbohydrates. Itâs believed to be caused by blood pooling into the vessels of the stomach and intestines.
Common causes of naturally occurring postural hypotension include:
I Have Had High Blood Pressure For The Last Year What Antihypertensive Medications Do Not Lower Heart Rate I Have Tried Several Different Medications And Have Had Episodes Of Severe Dizziness And Almost Fainting With Heavy Activity And Also Exposure To The Heat I Have Made Several Trips To The Er With These Episodes With A Low Heart Rate And Low Blood Pressure My Doctor Has Had No Success With Different Medications In Preventing These Episodes Can You Advise Us What To Do Next
Hx: Male 74 Very active and young for ageHypertensive50-70% block R carotidSlight narrowing aortic valveIrregular heart rate for many years with numerous tests and no significant problems when younger, even running.For past year has been on numerous different antihypertensives. Has had episodes of severe dizziness and almost fainting with heavy activity and also heat related.Several times to ER over past year via medics after these episodes. BP low and heart rate low with some dehydration do to heat and limiting fluids.Has had echocardiogram with no significant issues.What has been discussed with cardiologist is BP meds lower heart rate and exercise/exertion lowers BP.Last episode with HR 38 AND BP 119/50. To cardiologist and EKG done with HR 41. Took him off all BP meds.Lying to sitting/standing BP drops 20 points. After exercise or heavy exertion BP can drop up to 50 points. This is when he was on meds. Now off all meds 2 weeks and BP 202/88 to low of 124/68. Off meds he took a 20 min. walk and BP 198/84 prior to walk and 126/68 after walk.I am his wife and a RN. Went to reputable cardiologist, but now concerned with treatment. Dr. seems frustrated and does not know what to do next.PLEASE HELP us to proceed in the right direction.Thank You for your time.
Submitted by Lyndall from Charlotte, North Carolina on 09/09/2014
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How Is Bradycardia Diagnosed
When you see your doctor, they will measure your heart rate. Your heart rate might have returned to normal, so its a good idea to keep a record of when you experience bradycardia or related symptoms.
Your doctor will also need to work out the cause of your bradycardia. They will ask about your symptoms and your medical and family health history, and will examine you. Tests, such as an electrocardiogram, or ECG, might be done to check your heart. Depending on what is found, you might need further tests such as a stress test.
Know Your Numbers: Maximum And Target Heart Rate By Age
This table shows target heart rate zones for different ages. Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age.3
In the age category closest to yours, read across to find your target heart rates. Target heart rate during moderate intensity activities is about 50-70% of maximum heart rate, while during vigorous physical activity its about 70-85% of maximum.
The figures are averages, so use them as a general guide.
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Beyond Heart Rate To Heart Rate Variability
Measurement of the time intervals from one ventricular contraction to the next allows for calculation of more than just the absolute heart rate. The beat-to-beat variability in heart rate can be measured in the time and frequency domains, is a measure of parasympathetic and sympathetic function, and is referred to as heart rate variability . Low heart rate variability is associated with hypertension, CKD, and increased risk for all-cause mortality and ESKD . Low heart rate variability is modifiable. Physical therapy improved heart rate variability in dialysis patients and patients with after myocardial infarction . Finally, a small study of type 1 diabetic patients demonstrated an increase in heart rate variability with atenolol . Whether changes in heart rate variability related to physical activity and different antihypertensive regimens modify blood pressure and clinical outcomes is unknown.
Pounding In Your Ears
If you have a sensation of pulsing or pounding in your ears when you havent been exercising vigorously, this could indicate an elevated blood pressure. It could also be related to drinking too much caffeine, so try cutting back on the coffee and soda. Anxiety can have the same effect, so try meditation or a relaxing activity to see if the pounding sensation resolves.
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High Blood Pressure Is More Dangerous Than Ahigh Heart Rate
True: Again, whats considered normal varies. But Dr. Laffin says there is enough clinical evidence to suggest that when blood pressure is even a little over your typical average over time, the risk for heart disease and stroke go up. The physical effects of high blood pressure take their toll on your blood vessels.
Essentially, for each increment of 20 mmHg over 115 mmHg systolic, your risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure or chronic kidney disease doubles, Dr. Laffin says.
Elevated heart rate can be a sign of danger, too, but the cause-effect relationship is not so clear. Studies show that people who have faster baseline heart rates are more likely to have cardiac problems and premature cardiac death, Dr. Laffin says. But were not sure whether that is the cause of the problem or just a sign of whats going on. The most common cause of a high resting heart rate is being deconditioned .
When To Call Your Doctor
If youre on a beta blocker to decrease your heart rate or to control an abnormal rhythm , your doctor may ask you to monitor and log your heart rate. Keeping tabs on your heart rate can help your doctor determine whether to change the dosage or switch to a different medication.
If your pulse is very low or if you have frequent episodes of unexplained fast heart rates, especially if they cause you to feel weak or dizzy or faint, tell your doctor, who can decide if its an emergency. Your pulse is one tool to help get a picture of your health.
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How Much Fluid Do I Need
Your body needs different amounts of water before, during, and after exercise.
- Before exercise, you should drink one cup of water at least four hours before you start exercising.
- During exercise, you should drink 120-150 ml of water every 10-15 minutes.
- After exercise, you should drink enough water to double the amount of water your body lost during exercise.
The Natural Blood Pressure
Your body is a complex machine that tries to stay in balance. Because a normal blood pressure is so important for your health, your body constantly strives to maintain your pressure within the normal range. When your blood pressure rises, a reflex called the baroreceptor reflex is triggered in an attempt to lower your pressure. As a result of this reflex, the heart rate becomes slower. So the natural response to any increase in blood pressure is a lower pulse. But this response is not always seen, as various factors may overcome it.
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What Is High Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure refers to the pressure of blood within your arteries, which carries blood around your body to vital organs. It is normal for your blood pressure to fluctuate throughout the day, but when it consistently remains high, you should seek medical advice, as this can lead to serious issues such as heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.
When you get a blood pressure reading, you will get a top systolic blood pressure and a bottom diastolic blood pressure number. Your systolic blood pressure is the highest level your blood pressure hits as blood is pumped around your body, and is an important indication of your risk of heart attack or stroke, while your diastolic blood pressure is the lowest level it reaches between your heart beats.
A normal blood pressure should be no more than 140/90 mmHg. A systolic reading of between 140-180 mmHg and a diastolic reading of between 90-110 mmHg could indicate possible hypertension, whereas a systolic reading higher than 180 mmHg and diastolic reading higher than 110mmHg indicates severe hypertension1.
What Does It Mean To Have High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is when your blood pressure is permanently higher than normal. High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for heart disease, especially heart attacks and strokes.
Its possible to have high blood pressure without knowing, so its important to keep an eye on it by getting your heart health checked regularly by a health professional.
If you do have high blood pressure, you can help manage it with some simple changes to your lifestyle, such as eating a heart healthy diet and exercising more. Your doctor might also recommend some medications to keep it under control.
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What Is The Best Treatment For High Blood Pressure
Depending on your high blood pressure, lifestyle changes and/or medications may be helpful in maintaining a healthy and normal blood pressure. Some common lifestyle recommendations include:
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Categories Of Blood Pressure
According to guidelines from the American Heart Association, blood pressure is categorized into the following:
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