High Blood Pressure Facts
Can birth control pills raise blood pressure? Is stress the main cause of high blood pressure? Test your blood pressure knowledge with our Everwell Challenge.
Zoë Simpson: High blood pressure or hypertension can affect anyone and what you don't know about it really can hurt you. Take our Everwell Challenge and see how you measure up. Okay, let's get started. True or false, the main cause of high blood pressure is stress.
Female Speaker: The main cause, I'll say true.
Male speaker: False.
Female Speaker: True and false, because that's not the only reason why your pressure rises.
Zoë Simpson: For the correct answer, we turn to hypertension expert Dr. Steven Yeros.
Dr. Steven Yeros: False. The main cause of blood pressure is not stress. Now, stress will make anyone's blood pressure increase, but actually most of the times, we don't know what causes the high blood pressure.
Zoë Simpson: And in most cases, there are no symptoms. Are we getting you pumped up yet? On to the next question: In a blood pressure of 120/80, what does 120 mean?
Female Speaker: I know, I learned it in biology, but I don't remember.
Female Speaker: I don't know. It's the top number.
Male Speaker: It's your -- I don't really know.
Zoë Simpson: 120 is known as the Systolic pressure. It's the force of blood on artery walls as the heart pumps. Eighty is the Diastolic pressure, the force between beats. Anything less than 120/80 is considered Normal.
Dr. Steven Yeros: There's a condition known as Prehypertension and Prehypertension is basically between 130-140 Systolic and 85-90 Diastolic. We know that people in this range, this Prehypertension range have a predisposition to become hypertensive later on in life.
Zoë Simpson: A reading of 140/90 or above is considered high. If untreated, it increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and other serious problems. Okay. Moving on, home blood pressure monitors are reliable, true or false?
Male Speaker: False.
Zoë Simpson: Why?
Male Speaker: They might not be calibrated correctly.
Female Speaker: True. They are reliable.
Female Speaker: Depends on what your definition of reliable is. But I would I say true.
Dr. Steven Yeros: True. Home blood pressure monitors are reliable. They just have to be used correctly. Sit in a chair with your feet on the ground and you should sit there for about five or ten minutes before you take the first reading. Also, we tell people don't talk because talking raises your blood pressure 10-15 points alone.
Zoë Simpson: To make sure your Home monitor is accurate, it's a good idea to take it to your doctor's office periodically and have them check it. So how're you doing so far?
Male Speaker: I still feel kind of stupid about the first.
Zoë Simpson: Well, give this one a try. Which of the following can raise blood pressure? a) salt, b) cold medicine, c) smoking, d) birth control pills.
Male Speaker: I would say salt.
Female Speaker: Smoking, C
Female Speaker: I think it's A, C and D. Everything but cold medicine, cold medicine maybe, but I just don't know.
Dr. Steven Yeros: The correct answer is all the above, because they all constrict the blood vessels in different ways. Salt retains fluid and by retaining fluid in people who are salt sensitive, it raises the blood pressure. Some Cold medicines can constrict the blood vessels, the small blood vessels like in the nose which make you breathe better, but they also constrict other blood vessels.
Smoking hardens your arteries and by hardening the arteries, the blood pressure goes up. Birth control pills raise blood pressure in only women who are susceptible to this, and they have a genetic makeup that they have an enzyme that's increased and that causes their blood pressure to go up.
Zoë Simpson: The pressure is building. We have one more question. Our so called DASH diet can help control high blood pressure. What does that include?
Male Speaker: Is that for salt?
Female Speaker: I can't even think of what that would stand for. I don't know. I mean like Dixon, the apples. I don't know. I give up.
Dr. Steven Yeros: DASH stands for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension and it's been shown to lower blood pressure for over a period of time.
Zoë Simpson: The diet consists of fruits, vegetables, fat-free or low fat dairy, whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts.
Dr. Steven Yeros: There are a few people that the DASH diet may actually prevent them from being on medications, but they really have to be committed to staying on that diet the rest of their life.
Zoë Simpson: And if you're already taking blood pressure medicine, watching your diet is still important as our exercise and weight control. So how did you do on our quiz?
Female Speaker: I'm more surprised that I didn't know a lot of the answers than anything else.
Male Speaker: Well, I thought I got an A.
High Blood Pressure Facts
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You may have heard various causes of high blood pressure, but you may still not be sure yet. Well, these 3 facts are scientifically proven so you should not be doubtful....