What Are the Benefits of Lowering Blood Pressure?
Is it better to have lower blood pressure or higher?
Today, a healthy blood pressure is under 120/80. People with high blood pressure are urged to get it below 140/90; those who also have kidney disease or diabetes are urged to go further, with goals under 130/80.
Does lowering blood pressure extend life?
In this landmark study, those whose blood pressure was aggressively reduced had a 43% lower risk of cardiovascular death. It's unfortunate that the medical profession has taken over 30 years to recognize that lower blood pressure enables humans to live longer! Scientifically reviewed by Dr.
All About High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure (or hypertension, in medical terms) is a major health problem worldwide.
If your blood pressure reading is sharply elevated, you may or may not experience such symptoms as headache, nosebleed, shortness of breath or severe anxiety, says AHA. If, after waiting five minutes, a second reading is just as high but you do not have other worrisome symptoms, your doctor may prescribe medication or adjust your current drug regimen.
However, AHA cautions, if you are having chest pain, numbness or weakness, changes in vision or difficulty speaking, for example, that would be considered a hypertensive emergency requiring immediate attention. Don't wait for another blood pressure reading — call 911.
Specifics on Blood Pressure Risks
High blood pressure can lead to a vast number of serious health consequences over time. According to the Mayo Clinic, conditions that can result from uncontrolled blood pressure include:
- Heart failure
- Heart attack
- Kidney problems
- Metabolic syndrome
- Memory and cognitive problems
- Eye problems and vision loss
Though all of these consequences are bad for your health, some are even more dangerous than others.
"The types of strokes high blood pressure classically can cause are hemorrhagic, or bleeding, strokes. These are the most severe and can cause the highest degree of mortality. It is very important for stroke prevention to monitor your blood pressure."
Dr. Hicks says that brain and memory problems are other often-overlooked side effects of uncontrolled high blood pressure over time.
A number of other reasons also warrant keeping blood pressure in check. "Other risks include vision loss due to changes to blood vessels in your retina and eyes, your heart of course from heart attacks to heart failure, and kidney disease and failure," Dr. Hicks says. "Another thing that people are always worried about is erectile dysfunction or sexual dysfunction. That can occur, as well as lowering libido in men and women."
Lowering Blood Pressure: Bottom Line
Considering all this, it's easy to understand why keeping blood pressure at a level under 120/80 millimeters of mercury is a good idea, according to the AHA. While getting blood pressure to a healthy level won't lead to an immediate change in how you feel overall, it definitely reduces your risk for a wide variety of medical problems. Put it all together and it's pretty clear why managing your blood pressure level through lifestyle changes, and medications, if needed, is a good idea. "Simply put, lowering your blood pressure can save your life".