High blood pressure symptoms
The new guidelines are important because high blood pressure usually doesn’t cause symptoms when it’s around 130 over 90, which is why it’s known as the “silent killer.” At higher levels, however, you may experience headache, blurred vision, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
If the guidelines help wean us from our bad habits, hallelujah. If you are eager for blood pressure medication, there’s a bit more you need to know. Medication isn’t harmless. If you don’t actually need it, you could end up with too low blood pressure, and some people become light-headed and fall. In older adults, falls can be devastating.
Blood pressure goes up and down during the day, depending on your mood and other factors. In the Sprint study, the participants’ measurements were taken after five minutes of sitting alone — without any staff in the room. The goal was to measure their blood pressure when calm.
Do you recall the time you last had your blood pressure taken? Did you wait for 40 minutes while your email at work was blowing up? Had you just learned that you’d have to pay for the doctor’s visit because of your deductible? Sometimes your blood pressure measurement can be higher than normal at the doctor’s office, a phenomenon called “white coat blood pressure” that may be due to nervousness.
All of those reasons could cause your blood pressure to shoot up.
According to Gilbert Welch, MD, MPH, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and the author of “Less Medicine, More Health: 7 Assumptions That Drive Too Much Medical Care,” that 130 measured the Sprint way could be “equivalent to a blood pressure of 140, even 150, in a busy clinic.”
March 03, 2020
Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA