Its most severe form is shock. Common causes of low blood pressure include a reduced volume of blood, heart disease, and medications. The cause of low blood pressure can be determined with blood tests, radiologic studies, and cardiac testing to look for arrhythmias. Blood pressure is the force exerted by circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels. It constitutes one of the critically important signs of life or vital signs which include heart beat, breathing and temperature.
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Are your blood pressure pills not working? Blame it on your hormones
If blood pressure is a concern, putting on a cuff could help. A new study concluded that those who regularly monitor their blood pressure at home have better numbers than those who don’t. The National Institutes of Health defines high blood pressure as readings higher than 140 systolic (the top number)/ 90 diastolic (the bottom number). In the study, researchers at Tufts Medical Center in Boston found that people who monitored their blood pressure at home improved their systolic numbers by 3.9 points and their diastolic by 2.4 points. Of course, anyone with high blood pressure should be under a doctor’s care. Home blood-pressure monitors can be found at retailers such as Walmart and Target. Amazon.com also has a large selection of monitors.
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Test blood pressure at home for good health
But the condition is under-recognised by doctors, leaving patients trying one drug after another without benefit. This happened to Susan Thornton, whose high blood pressure was diagnosed only after a routine check-up with her GP. She says: ‘The doctor didn’t tell me what the reading was, just that it was above average and, though I didn’t need to take a drug, he suggested more exercise.’ This was three years ago, and Susan, then 45, took her GP’s advice. ‘I started swimming daily and felt better, until one afternoon when driving to collect my then partner from work. I suddenly felt extremely ill and had to pull over. ‘I had mild chest pains and was breathless and feared something was happening to my heart.’ Susan, a mother-of-four from March in Cambridgeshire, called an ambulance and was rushed to her local hospital. En route, her blood pressure read 200/104.
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