How To Check Your Blood Pressure at Home

High blood pressure or hypertension is considered “the silent killer.” There are several reasons why it is referred to as such.

Most people with high blood pressure actually feel normal; however, if the disease goes undetected and is left untreated, it can lead to heart attack or stroke. In the United States today, heart attack and stroke are leading causes of death.

It is important to get your family, friends, and even yourself checked. You can visit your doctor or check at home.

It can be easy to measure blood pressure at home- here’s how:

  1. Purchase an automatic, cuff-style, upper-arm monitor. Automatic machines usually cost from $20-$40, and are available at many pharmacies or online.
  2. Get ready to measure! Do not smoke, drink any caffeinated drinks, or exercise 30 minutes prior to measuring.
  3. Sit with your back supported, feet flat on the floor, and legs uncrossed.
  4. Place the cuff onto your arm. This arm should be resting at the level of your heart or just below the chest. The cuff should be above the elbow.
  5. Push the button to begin measurement. Relax, breathe, and do not talk during measurement.
  6. Blood pressures are measured as two numbers: a top number (systolic) and a bottom number (diastolic). Write down both numbers, the time of day you measured, and the date(“141/88, 7:00 PM, 11/13/2017” )
  7. Repeat measurement after 1 minute. Write this number down also. Keep a blood pressure diary with all your measurements.

According to the recently updated high blood pressure guidelines of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), a blood pressure less than 120/80 is normal. Numbers above this measurement are considered elevated and are cause for concern.  The ACC has provided the following categories to further define blood pressure measurements and levels:

  • Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80
  • Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89
  • Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg
  • Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120

If your results are greater than 130 for the top number or greater than 80 for the bottom number, it is highly recommended that you see your doctor to receive a comprehensive medical examination.

If your blood pressure exceeds 180/120, the American College of Cardiology advises that you seek medical attention immediately, as this is critical.

Checking your blood pressure is important for heart health. There are also lifestyle changes that you can apply to your daily life to help you manage blood pressure levels and your health.  Lifestyle changes can include maintaining a healthy weight by eating a well- balanced diet, exercising regularly, reducing sodium intake, limiting the amount of alcohol you consume and quitting smoking.

To schedule an appointment with the Family Medicine Department at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call, 718-206-6942.

Radeeb Akhtar MD. MPH. JHMC Family  Medicine

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Does Caffeine Effect Your Blood Pressure?

Nurse Visiting Senior Male Patient At Home

Are you one of many people who can’t function without having their morning coffee first? If so, there are a few effects that caffeine can have on hypertension. The java jolt of a caffeine fix may cause a jump in blood pressure — a particular problem in people who already have high blood pressure.

Caffeine can cause a short, but dramatic increase in your blood pressure, even if you don’t have high blood pressure. It is not clear what causes this spike in blood pressure. Some researchers believe that caffeine could block a hormone that helps keep your arteries wide enough for steady blood flow.

Some people who constantly drink caffeinated beverages have a higher average blood pressure than those who don’t drink any. Others who regularly drink caffeinated beverages develop a tolerance to caffeine. As a result, caffeine doesn’t have a long–term effect on their blood pressure. Research has shown that caffeine has a stronger blood pressure increasing effect in men who are older than 70 or who are overweight.

To see if caffeine might be raising your blood pressure, check your blood pressure within 30 to 120 minutes of drinking a cup of coffee or another caffeinated beverage. If your blood pressure increases by five to 10 points, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine. If you plan to cut back on caffeine, eliminate it slowly over several days to avoid withdrawal headaches.

If you have high blood pressure, ask your doctor whether you should limit or stop drinking caffeinated beverages. Keep in mind that the amount of caffeine in coffee and other beverages varies by brand. Also, avoid caffeine right before activities that naturally increase your blood pressure, such as exercise, weightlifting or hard physical labor.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What is Pre-Diabetes?

docpicAre you one of the estimated 54 million people in this country who have pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a silent health condition that has no symptoms and is almost always present before you develop type 2 diabetes.

It is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as full-blown diabetes. If you haven’t visited your doctor, a good way to see if you are at increased risk for pre-diabetes is to take the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Diabetes risk test by visiting www.diabetes.org/risk.

Among those who should be screened for pre-diabetes include overweight adults age 45 and older or those under age 45 who are overweight and who have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Habitually physically inactive
  • Have previously been identified as having impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Are members of certain ethnic groups (including Asian, African-American, Hispanic or Native American)
  • Have had gestational diabetes or have given birth to a child weighing more than 9 pounds
  • Have elevated blood pressure
  • Have elevated cholesterol
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Have a history of vascular disease

That said, if you have pre-diabetes, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced by a sustained modest weight loss and increased moderate-physical activity, such as walking 30 minutes a day.

Through weight loss and increased physical activity, a dietitian may direct you on how to make food choices that cut down on the amount of fat and carbohydrates by:

  • Eating more foods that are broiled and fewer foods that are fried
  • Decrease the amount of butter you use in cooking
  • Eat more fish and chicken
  • Eat more meatless meals
  • Re-Orient your meals to reflect more vegetables and fruit

If you have symptoms such as increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue and blurred vision, you may have crossed from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes.

It’s best to consult a physician if you’re concerned about pre-diabetes or if you notice any type 2 diabetes signs or symptoms. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center is centrally located and has convenient hours.  To make an appointment, call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

High Blood Pressure and Pregnancy

hypertension pregnancy -78484693 (1)Hypertension (high blood pressure) is one of the most common medical problems encountered by pregnant women. It is estimated that the disease affects six to eight percent of expecting mothers.

Women with a pre-existing history of chronic hypertension are likely to experience complications caused by the disease; however, women with no prior history are also at risk of developing high blood pressure or gestational hypertension. A high blood pressure rate during pregnancy is defined as a reading over 140/90, anything above that number is concerning.

Some women are more at risk for developing gestational hypertension than others.  Your risk may be higher if you are:

  • African American
  • Carrying more than one baby
  • Pregnant with your first child
  • Over 40 years old
  • From a family with a history of gestational hypertension or preeclampsia
  • Obese

High blood pressure during pregnancy poses various medical problems not only for the mother but for the developing baby as well.  Some of these problems include:

  • Harm to the mother’s kidneys
  • Placental abruption
  • Low birth weight
  • Premature labor

If left untreated, high blood pressure can develop into a serious condition known as preeclampsia.  This condition is most likely to occur in women with pre-existing and chronic hypertension.  The disease usually develops after the 27th week of pregnancy and is characterized by high levels of protein in urine and elevated blood pressure levels.  Women may experience symptoms such as headaches, nausea or vomiting, reduced urine or no urine output, swelling or shortness of breath.

If you have been informed by your doctor that your blood pressure levels are high it is important to get it under control immediately. You can do so by taking prescribed medications and managing your sodium intake. It is equally important that you maintain prenatal appointments to monitor the development of your baby.

For questions about prenatal care or to make an appointment with the Women’s Health Center of Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-291-3276.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

10 Tips for Dining Out For Those With High Blood Pressure

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Dining out is a treat we look forward to because we get to try new foods or indulge in our favorite cuisines. However, it is recommended that if you are diagnosed with high blood pressure to be mindful of the foods you pick from the menu.  It is suggested that you stick to a diet that is low in saturated fats, does not contain MSG and has very little sodium or no added salt.

Nutritionists also advise that practicing the following tips when dining out will help in controlling blood pressure levels.

  1. Choose appetizers with fruits or vegetables, instead of salty treats.
  2. Ask for your food to be prepared without added salt or MSG.
  3. Stay away from the saltshaker.
  4. Select foods that are prepared using healthy cooking techniques such as grilling or steaming.
  5. Avoid foods that are pickled, smoked or cured.
  6. Cut away excess and visible fat from meats.
  7. Avoid using butter or foods prepared with butter.
  8. Limit sodium intake from condiments by using them sparingly or by asking that they be served on the side.
  9. Steer clear of items that include cheese.
  10. Limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages.

If you have high blood pressure you can still enjoy restaurant meals and make healthy food choices by sticking to the preceding tips.  In addition to eating healthy it is also important to remember to incorporate exercise into your daily routine and take medications as prescribed to help control your blood pressure.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.