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How does a delta-8 high feel like? Is it less intense than delta-9? How long does the high last? Let's find out. So i am off work today, went to the local uni-mart to get some soda and saw that they have cbd gummies in stock now, so i bought a pack for 2 … Our blood pressure chart explains what your reading means, including normal blood pressure and the difference between systolic and diastolic.

Will Delta-8 THC Get You High?

After testing over 100 different delta-8 products, we can report back to you that yes, delta-8 will get you high.

Delta-8 THC is an intoxicating cannabinoid naturally present in hemp and considered semi-synthetic when manually converted from hemp-derived CBD. It isn’t THC or CBD but finds itself sitting somewhere between the two.

Delta-8 is also a psychoactive compound. It induces euphoric effects similar to delta-9 THC but with milder physical and mental sensations. These effects can help with anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain.

Delta-8’s legality is questionable, as is its safety. The lack of regulatory oversight and often sketchy lab reports leave consumers at risk of being guinea pigs for this new craze. However, despite the concerns, hemp delta-8 THC products are legally available across many parts of the US.

Does delta-8 THC get you high?

CBD Oracle team tested a number of the delta-8 THC products to measure the intensity of a delta-8 high. Photo: Stone Road

Our team of product experts tested and reviewed over 70 different hemp-derived delta-8 THC products over the last year – ranging between vapes, edibles, dabs, and flower – to measure the intensity of a delta-8 high compared to the high you get from marijuana. In our experience, delta-8 is an intoxicating compound capable of getting you seriously high. It also causes physical and mental impairment, but not on the same level as delta-9 (marijuana).

In addition to our own independent testing, we polled the delta-8 community about the effects they experienced. (Read more on that below).

Is delta-8 less intense than delta-9?

Yes, from the delta-8 products we’ve tried and seeing anecdotal stories from users around the world, delta-8 effects are less intense than delta-9 when taken in similar quantities.

For example, if you take 50mg of delta-8 edibles and then take 50mg of delta-9 edibles, the delta-9 high feels double the potency. If you increase the delta-8 dosage to 100mg, it replicates a 50mg delta-9 high.

We surveyed a nice chunk of delta-8 users and asked them if they believed delta-8 was less intense, more intense, or the same intensity of delta-9.

The results are as follows:

  • Delta-8 is less intense than delta-9: 52%
  • It’s about the same intensity: 42%
  • Delta-8 is more intense than delta-9: 6%

What does the delta-8 high feel like?

Hemp delta-8 gets you high but it’s not the exact way weed gets you high. It’s way less hazy, and not as psychedelic which is why a lot of people who get anxiety from marijuana smoke delta-8 instead. Photo: Stone Road

Similar to your average delta-9 THC product, the high from a CBD delta-8 product varies in strength and potency depending on the consumption method, amount consumed, and tolerance.

The only way to know delta-8 is to try delta-8, and if you don’t like one product, try again…not every delta-8 company is created equal. The same dose of a delta-8 edible from one brand compared to an identical dose from another might have totally different effects.

Common delta-8 THC effects you can expect to feel:

  • Physical sensations
  • Calming of the mind
  • Anxiety relief
  • Increased focus and drive
  • Subdued body aches and pain
  • Sleep enhancement (with Indica strains)
  • Relaxation

If we break down the effects of an average delta-8 high, genuine relaxation is something you can expect. As someone who struggles with anxiety, delta-8, when dosed correctly, is a true relief from everyday stresses that plague an anxious mind.

For example, I’ve tested delta-8 flower and edibles from companies such as Hometown Hero and 3Chi. They not only provide a mental calm but also uplift my spirits and boost motivation.

However, since delta-8 is psychoactive and intoxicating, I don’t agree with the people who say it’s a paranoia-free substance. If someone doesn’t know their tolerance and starts out with a high dose, a panic attack can ensue.

Many users report delta-8 effects are helpful for relieving anxiety, physical pain, and helping with deep sleep and relaxation.

My mother, who isn’t a frequent cannabis user by any means but someone who has enjoyed edibles a handful of times, one night asked me if I had anything to help her sleep.

I recently tested MoonWLKR’s delta-8 gummies and found them pretty effective for putting me to bed, I asked her if she’d be interested and later she took two gummies. The next day she described what she said was the worst night of her life. She experienced a body paralyzing high that had her crawling on the floor to the bathroom, almost dialing 9-1-1 on herself. This isn’t me exaggerating for a story; this was her genuine experience. I took 100mg of that edible and it put me to sleep. She took 50mg and lost her legs for a few hours. These products aren’t created equal.

When dosing, start low and go slow. You can always take more of something, you can never take less. As you increase the dose, expect the high to get stronger. It can mimic a potent high-THC marijuana high.

Poll: We asked the cannabis community about delta-8 effects

CBD Oracle conducted a survey of 114 experienced delta-8 users and asked them to compare the intensity of delta-8 versus delta-9 and include brief statements on their overall experience with delta-8 products. Some love delta-8, while others are less convinced.

Below are some of the statements we received from experienced delta-8 users:

  • “It was just like smoking normal weed.”
  • “Milder high but still got me stoned.”
  • “Less anxiety and fast heartbeat.”
  • “Took the edge off the pain.”
  • “Makes me feel more relaxed.”
  • “Delta 8 is like diet cannabis. I prefer delta 9 but it produces a milder high so you don’t feel so couch locked.”
  • “Not anywhere near as potent, at least in terms of effect.”
  • “I didn’t like it. It had a chemical flavor smell. It sure wasn’t a natural aroma from cannabis.”
  • “Delta-8 for me is a cool buzz without being high. It’s a slow rising peak that slowly subsides as it decreases. It helps throughout the day especially when you don’t feel like getting high.”
  • “CBD doesn’t work for my pain and delta-9 makes me a little sketchy, but delta-8 has been working fine.”
  • “Delta-8 helped me sleep and feel more refreshed in the morning. It also really relaxes me and makes me worry free. No paranoia or anxiety. Other than the minor side effects, it helped me with my anxiety and depression. I recommend it for those who haven’t tried it.”
  • “I got it in edible form, and found it tasted better and was a nice change from typical delta-9 thc edibles. It didn’t hit me as hard but I still got most of the benefits without the anxiety-inducing high.”
  • “I don’t have as harsh of a high which is nice when I just want the pain to go away throughout the day.”
  • “Pretty comparable [to delta-9] but had to take a larger dosage.”
  • “Delta 8 is a much mellower high. It kind of reminds of hash but less intense. It’s good for when wanting to get a little high and still be able to socialize and do daily activities.”
  • “The experience was good. I tried it when I traveled from my medicinal state to FL. The effects only lasted about a half hour, so more was needed. Almost like a pack of cigarettes. I wouldn’t want to carry around a pack and inhale more smoke.”
  • “It’s OK but nothing beats regular ol thc.”
  • “Milder high with no side effects. Gummies seem to energize regardless of type.”
  • “It makes me feel noticeably more anxious and paranoid and doesn’t provide me with as much relief of stress or pain. However, it does make me feel more sleepy so I can say it helps for insomnia. I also noticed more dry mouth and eyes as a result.”
  • “It helps with my pain management I am an amputee with multiple forms of arthritis and lupus.”
  • “Delta-8 was felt more in my body than my head. I felt very comfortable sitting down, and did not feel like moving too much. Delta-9 products allow for a different range of effects. It’s not always just a “stuck on the couch” high.”
  • “I took delta-8 gummies before watching a movie in theaters. It definitely enhanced the experience to say the least. I got a full body high and felt more sensitive to the rumbling of the speakers and the sound in the theater. I had tried a few sour skittles before but didn’t feel much so I ate the entire bag of gummies this time and had a much better experience. I really enjoyed the feeling and the effects lasted just as long if not longer than smoking marijuana.”
  • “No side effects at all. It was smooth.”

As you can see, each user’s experience with delta-8 is totally different and not overly comparable, which is why describing a delta-8 high is so difficult. Most articles out there simply generalize delta-8’s effects without taking into account dosage, physiological makeup, or tolerance level.

However, there are two distinct commonalities. The first is delta-8 THC causes much milder physical or mental sensations (often likened to a “buzz”) without many of the side effects associated with delta-9 THC. The second is delta-8 doses result in physical or mental benefits such as pain relief and sleep.

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How much delta-8 will get you high?

How much delta-8 THC you need to consume relies heavily on your tolerance. If you’re a frequent smoker, your tolerance is much higher than a beginner.

High Tolerance: For example, a 50-100mg delta-8 edible is a decent starting point for seasoned users with a high tolerance. Likewise, smoking two delta-8 joints is enough to induce a significant euphoric high.

Low Tolerance: If you have a low tolerance to delta-8, it’s recommended that you start with 10mg delta-8 and work your way up from there. If the buzz is too mild, try 15mg or 20mg but go no higher than that unless you want an uncomfortable experience.

How long does a delta-8 high last?

Your tolerance and the method of consumption play a big role in how long a delta-8 high lasts.

In our experience, a high from delta-8 edibles lasts the longest at 1-3 hours, sometimes longer depending on the dose.

On the other hand, a high from delta-8 flower lasts the shortest amount of time at below an hour. Delta-8 cartridges fall somewhere in the middle of edibles and flower and could last anywhere between 1-2 hours, particularly if you take frequent hits. Some less potent flower products offer only 15 minutes of brief euphoria.

Any negative side effects you may experience with delta-8?

I’ve been using delta-8 for a while now and there are some negative side effects, but not quite as intense or alarming as delta-9.

*Survey of over 100 delta-8 THC users. Most users didn’t report any negative side effects. Of those who reported, dry mouth and headaches were the most common side effects experienced with using delta-8 THC.

Side effects of delta-8 THC can include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Slow or increased heart rate
  • Red and puffy eyes
  • Memory loss
  • Cognitive impairment

Some delta-8 cartridges tend to give you migraines that may even linger for a week. Not everybody has had this experience but it was true in our case as well as some users on Reddit.

In comparison, delta-8 gummies tend to give you a dry mouth (but typically not a headache), especially when waking up the next morning after a session. If you overdo the dosing, expect panic attacks similar to consuming too much delta-9.

How would you compare the feeling to a delta-9 THC high?

The feelings and sensations you get from a delta-8 high are similar but less intense than a delta-9 THC high.

A delta-8 THC high is milder and shorter-lasting than a marijuana high.

Delta-8 flower with CBD and CBG is more likely to reduce paranoia, fear, and anxiety commonly associated with high-THC marijuana.

Why? Because CBD and CBG could help reduce a delta-8 high by preventing it from fully binding to your cannabinoid receptors. The mixing of cannabinoids can provide some really nice pain relief, anti-inflammatory, and sleep-promoting benefits too.

However, a delta-8 high isn’t too different from a delta-9 high when consuming edibles, not in my experience anyway. You experience similar euphoric effects with quite significant and prolonged mental impairment.

On the other hand, delta-8 flower offers a slightly milder sensation than delta-9 flower and doesn’t last quite as long. Delta-8 sativa strains are far more energizing, while delta-8 indica strains are very relaxing without causing the dreaded couch-lock.

How does delta-8 THC compare to CBD?

Comparing delta-8 and CBD is like comparing chalk and cheese. Delta-8 is intoxicating and induces a euphoric high, while CBD is non-intoxicating and doesn’t cause a high.

Why? Delta-8 and CBD have totally different molecular structures and interact with different receptors in your body, also causing a number of opposing effects.

I find the effects of CBD benefit my body, whereas delta-8 is definitely better for my mind. I also trust CBD products more than delta-8, especially regular CBD flower instead of sprayed delta-8 flower.

CBD flower is perfectly natural. Delta-8 flower is CBD hemp flower sprayed with a delta-8 THC distillate. The aesthetic of some delta-8 flower is enough to turn the stomach. If sprayed unevenly, you get globs of distillate discoloring portions of each nug.

Which products give you the most potent delta-8 high?

Many suggest delta-8 distillates (in vapes) and dabs produce the strongest high. However, contrary to common belief, delta-8 gummies induce the most potent high out of all the product types we’ve tried.

Of all types of delta-8 products tested, delta-8 gummies tend to produce the strongest effects.

When we vape delta-8 distillates, the high feels intense and the effects come on pretty quickly but only for a short period, which is the same for delta-8 dabs. Neither of them gave us the same prolonged intensity as delta-8 gummies.

However, what’s weird is almost all delta-8 products are derived from a delta-8 distillate, so why the difference? Well, it’s all to do with how it goes into your body.

When you vape or dab, delta-8 isn’t metabolized by your liver. It goes directly into the bloodstream via your lung’s air sacs, resulting in a quick and efficient euphoric high.

When you eat delta-8 gummies, it’s metabolized by your liver, which delays the onset of effects. If you eat enough gummies, the quantity of delta-8 THC flowing through your body gradually rises. As it accumulates, the high gets stronger for much longer than vapes and dabs.

Do delta-8 THC gummies get you high?

Yes, in our experience, delta-8 THC gummies offer a potent and long-lasting euphoric high. In fact, it’s one of the most potent delta-8 products out there. A potent delta-8 edible high lasts anywhere between 3-6 hours.

Does delta-8 THC flower get you high?

Yes. Delta-8 THC flower does get you high. A high from smoking delta-8 flower or preroll is shorter and less intense than delta-8 edibles. It’s a decent option for all users regardless of experience or tolerance. Vaping delta-8 flower, on the other hand, is slightly more intense and only suitable for more seasoned users.

Delta-8 THC flower gets you high but the effects are milder than delta-8 vapes, dabs, or edibles.

Recommended delta-8 companies for a potent high

The delta-8 companies I would recommend for the most potent highs are Hometown Hero, Botany Farms, 3Chi, and Plain Jane.

In my opinion, Hometown Hero is the current king of delta-8. The company is also the priciest but in terms of purity, potency, and professional packaging, there’s none better.

Botany Farms also has some of the most beautiful flower. I’ve tried its CBD, CBG, and delta-8 buds and all of them are spectacular. Getting a canister of its flower is truly an experience.

Plain Jane has the best delta-8 THC cartridges. They’re smooth and reasonably easy on the throat when you take a hit. The company’s delta-8 flower also has additional CBG and is a phenomenal sativa option.

Is the quick rise of delta-8 products a concern?

Anytime a product surges in popularity, companies start popping up to make a quick profit. This is concerning to me. Since delta-8 THC is often sold without third-party testing or published COAs, some consumers are buying products without any clue of what’s inside them.

At CBD Oracle, we spend hours researching lab results and COAs. A shocking number of companies forgo publishing any testing or analysis documentation, while others fail to test for solvents, pesticides, and heavy metals. Some of the most brazen companies even post COAs with higher than average levels of mercury, arsenic, lead, and cadmium (though this is pretty rare).

Then you have Hometown Hero, a legitimate delta-8 and CBD vendor. The company puts other, less credible brands to shame by proudly publishing its COA documentation showing clean testing results across the board. All COAs are placed on each product page for consumer reference. This is what all companies should strive for. Openness, honesty, and transparency.

Is delta-8 as good for beginners as many say it is?

Yes, delta-8 is marketed as a decent cannabinoid for beginner users looking to experience a THC high without intense effects. Delta-8’s subtle but still noticeable mental and physical sensations are less intense than delta-9 and won’t cause significant side effects.

Delta-8 is also very accessible. Since delta-8 is thought to be federally legal, beginners getting into cannabis in a US state with strict THC laws can enjoy a “legal high”, for lack of a better phrase. They also won’t need to go out and find a shady dealer. It’s as simple as ordering online from a legitimate delta-8 vendor.

Delta-8 gets you high, but at what cost?

If the basic question you have here is, “will delta-8 get me high?”, I hope you now see the easy answer is “yes.” However, the more convoluted answer is, “yes, but at what cost?”

Delta-8 is still in its infancy as a product and craze. I don’t believe all the kinks are being worked out. Product impurity and contamination and the lack of regulatory oversight forcing third-party product testing leaves me unwilling to endorse delta-8 fully. We truly don’t know what delta-8 THC can possibly do for us.

Stay close to the big name brands, research each company, take your time looking at their lab results, and then make your decision. Spend more for cleaner products. Your mind and body will thank you.

CBD gummies effects?

So i am off work today, went to the local uni-mart to get some soda and saw that they have cbd gummies in stock now, so i bought a pack for 25 dollars. I understand this does not get you high and i know that it is great for anxiety/stress. But to put it bluntly, (i know this is a subreddit of weed lovers, please don’t laugh at me lol) weed tweaks me the hell out. I did it in high school only because all my friends did it, but everytime i did it i felt like i was disconnected from my body, major heart palpatations, paranoia, anxiety etc. Essentially every negative effect you can possibly get smoking pot, i got. My question is, even though cbd gummies do not get you high, if i have a bad reaction to thc will i also have a bad reaction to cbd? I really want to try one of these gummies. By the way, it is a 1000mg bag, does that mean each gummy is 1000mg? or the entire bag is equal to 1000mg? and if each gummy is 1000mg, what would be a good dosage for anxiety/stress? i’m sorry if i’m asking really stupid questions lol.

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Normal Blood Pressure Numbers By Age

Dr. Bojana Jankovic Weatherly is an internal and integrative medicine physician with a telemedicine practice serving patients nationwide.

Commissions we earn from partner links on this page do not affect our opinions or evaluations. Our editorial content is based on thorough research and guidance from the Forbes Health Advisory Board.

Table of Contents

  • What Is Blood Pressure?
  • What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean?
  • What Is Normal Blood Pressure?
  • Blood Pressure Chart
  • How to Take Blood Pressure
  • What Is Considered High Blood Pressure?
  • What Is Low Blood Pressure?
  • Heart Rate vs. Blood Pressure
  • Blood Pressure Monitor vs. Blood Pressure Cuff
  • When to Call Your Doctor
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Blood pressure numbers are an important health indicator, which is why many doctors recommend monitoring them at home as you age. But there’s little point in doing so if you don’t know what the readings mean or how to gather them correctly.

What’s more, readings vary throughout the day and can depend on factors like hydration and stress. Plus, the ranges of numbers that indicate high, low and normal blood pressure vary based on your age.

What Is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the force that drives blood through arteries as the heart pumps, delivering oxygen and nutrients to organs and tissues throughout the body. A normal blood pressure reading is essential for your organs to work well and avoid damage.

Blood pressure can change depending on your age, health conditions and other lifestyle factors. Keeping an eye on these numbers is important because when your blood pressure rises or falls rapidly—or remains high or low for an extended period of time—it can be a sign of poor health and lead to serious health consequences, including an increased risk of premature death.

One way to easily keep tabs on your blood pressure is with an at-home blood pressure monitor. In fact, many of the at-home monitors on our Best Blood Pressure Monitors of 2022 ranking tout features that make it easy to interpret whether your blood pressure is elevated or within normal range via color-coded readings.

Still, despite many at-home monitors having features that make it easy to interpret your readings, it’s important to understand what your blood pressure numbers mean, and which ones indicate a normal versus high reading.

Partner Offers feature brands who paid Forbes Health to appear at the top of our list. While this may influence where their products or services appear on our site, it in no way affects our ratings, which are based on thorough research, solid methodologies and expert advice. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services

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What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean?

A blood pressure reading features two numbers: a top number, which is called systolic blood pressure, and a bottom number, which is called diastolic blood pressure.

What Is Systolic Blood Pressure?

Systolic blood pressure measures how much pressure your blood exerts against your artery walls. “The pressure within our arteries changes with every heartbeat,” says Ian Del Conde Pozzi, M.D., a cardiologist and vascular medicine specialist at the Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute. When the heart contracts, it pumps extra blood into the circulatory system, increasing the pressure. That increase is measured by systolic blood pressure.

What Is Diastolic Blood Pressure?

Diastolic pressure then measures the pressure within the system when the heart is at rest, says Dr. Pozzi. Systolic blood pressure is the peak pressure during a heartbeat while diastolic blood pressure is the lowest pressure between heartbeats when the heart relaxes briefly.

What Is Normal Blood Pressure?

A normal blood pressure reading “indicates that the heart and blood vessels are not working too hard pushing blood and that the blood is not exerting too much pressure on the walls of the vessels,” says Aseem Desai, M.D., a cardiologist at Providence Mission Hospital in Southern California. Recent data from the American Heart Association suggests the optimal normal reading for adults over 20 is lower than 120/80 mmHg [1] Virani S, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics – 2021 update . American Heart Association Journal. 2021;143:e254-e743. .

Dr. Desai notes blood pressure can vary depending on a person’s age, gender, race and ethnicity, but it should still fall within the general normal range. While numbers lower than 120/80 are generally considered normal, Dr. Desai adds, “The target blood pressure for treatment varies depending on age (e.g. if someone is considered elderly) and associated co-morbidities (e.g. diabetes).”

Normal Blood Pressure by Age, Race and Gender

Previously, guidance for normal blood pressure for adults varied by gender and specific age, but new data states normal blood pressure for adults as a collective is less than 120/80 mmHg [2] High Blood Pressure Symptoms and Causes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 7/16/2021. .

When it comes to race and ethnicity, Dr. Desai says certain groups have a higher rate of hypertension. “Non-Hispanic Black people have a significantly higher rate of hypertension compared to non-Hispanic white people, and Hispanics and non-Hispanic Asians have lower rates than the first two,” he says.

The reason for this variance can range from substandard insurance coverage and poor access to healthcare to gaps in the use of medications to treat multiple conditions with “reduced compliance in certain groups,” he adds.

As for gender, there’s increasing evidence for risk of cardiovascular disease in women with blood pressures lower than what is considered normal, says Jennifer Wong, M.D., medical director of non-invasive cardiology at MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.

“An observational study published in Circulation earlier this year suggested an increased risk of myocardial infarction and heart failure in women starting at systolic blood pressures of greater than 110 mmHg,” says Dr. Wong [3] Ji H, Niiranen TJ, Rader F, et al. Sex Differences in Blood Pressure Associations With Cardiovascular Outcomes . Circulation. 2021;143:761–763. . “The higher risk is comparable to the risk of men at higher blood pressure thresholds.”

Blood Pressure Chart

There are five blood pressure stages: normal and four specific stages of hypertension, which range from very treatable to urgent.

Normal Blood Pressure

People with a blood pressure range of 90 to 120 systolic and 60 to 80 diastolic have normal blood pressure, says Dr. Wong. A systolic reading below 90 signifies low blood pressure.

Elevated Blood Pressure

A blood pressure reading of 120 to 129 systolic and less than 80 diastolic signifies elevated blood pressure and, thus, a higher probability of developing hypertension.

“As blood pressure elevates, there is increased workload on the heart and arteries,” says Dr. Desai. “This results in [the] thickening of the heart muscle (hypertrophy), which can lead to heart failure. It also results in [the] micro-tearing of the artery wall, leading to cholesterol deposition (atherosclerosis). This leads to [the] narrowing of the vessel and further elevation of blood pressure.”

Hypertension Stage I

Hypertension Stage I is defined by a systolic reading of 130 to 139 and a diastolic reading of 80 to 89.

Dr. Wong says while doctors initially treat this stage of hypertension by suggesting a healthier lifestyle—eating more vegetables and whole grains, using less salt, increasing physical activity and controlling stress—medications may be needed if blood pressure falls in this range on multiple readings over a period of time in people with other cardiovascular risk factors.

Dr. Wong adds that, per 2017 ACC/AHA guidelines, adults with Hypertension Stage I should consider medication after three to six months of nonpharmacologic therapy. There’s also a risk of atherosclerosis—thickening or hardening of the arteries caused by a buildup of plaque in the inner lining of an artery—if it isn’t treated. Risk factors for atherosclerosis may include high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, physical activity and eating saturated fats.

Hypertension Stage II

Hypertension Stage II is marked by a systolic reading of at least 140 and diastolic reading of at least 90. It’s generally treated with a mix of medications and a healthy lifestyle prescription, says Dr. Wong. Still, this stage of hypertension is more serious than the former and should be watched carefully.

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Hypertensive Crisis

A hypertensive crisis is an emergency situation and occurs when the systolic blood pressure reading exceeds 180 and the diastolic reading exceeds 120. “Immediate organ damage can occur and emergency treatment should be sought if there are symptoms of stroke, headache, visual changes, dizziness, chest pain or shortness of breath,” says Dr. Wong.

Taking Your Blood Pressure Has Never Been Easier

With the iHealth Track Blood Pressure Monitor, you can measure your blood pressure with one press of a button. Take control of your heart health now.

How to Take Blood Pressure

You can take your blood pressure at home using a wrist blood pressure monitor or an upper arm cuff blood pressure monitor . Experts typically recommend upper arm cuffs because they are the most accurate. Upper arm cuffs can come with either a manual or digital monitor. Both work well, but if you’re measuring your blood pressure on your own regularly, a digital one will likely be easiest to use correctly.

To take your blood pressure accurately with a digital upper arm cuff, start by sitting quietly in an upright position for a few minutes, allowing your body a moment to relax. Be mindful to uncross your legs and ankles, as well as use comfortable support for your back.

With the monitor sitting on a table in front of you, place your arm next to it—at approximately heart level—and place the cuff around your bare upper arm about one inch above your elbow. Secure the cuff so that you can only slide a fingertip under the top edge.

Next, simply turn on the monitor, press the start button, and take normal breaths as the cuff inflates and deflates, measuring your blood pressure and producing your reading on the screen.

What Is Considered High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is defined by systolic readings of at least 130 mmHg and diastolic readings of at least 80 mmHg, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As of 2021, 116 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure.

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

The cause of high blood pressure, or hypertension, is often unknown. It develops over time and often happens as a result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Occasionally, some people have hypertension caused by an underlying condition, such as kidney disease, adrenal gland tumors or thyroid disorders,” says Dr. Wong. Other conditions like pregnancy, diabetes and obesity can also increase your risk.

“Some people are susceptible to high blood pressure from certain medications, such as birth control pills, some decongestants and even some over-the-counter pain relievers,” says Wong. “Illicit drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines may also raise blood pressure.”

High blood pressure is extremely common. A 2017 to 2018 survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics found 45.5% of U.S. adults have hypertension [4] Ostchega Y, et al. Hypertension prevalence among adults aged 18 and over: United States, 2017-2018. National Center for Health Statistics. Accessed 7/16/2021. .

High Blood Pressure Symptoms

High blood pressure is known as “the silent killer” because it typically has no symptoms. In fact, most people don’t even realize they have hypertension until their blood pressure is monitored.

“Symptoms don’t develop until the numbers get very high and organs get damaged, often irreversibly,” says Dr. Desai.

If you have severe hypertension, you might notice the below symptoms, some of which were reported by patients in a study in the British Journal of General Practice [5] Goodhart A. Hypertension from the patient’s perspective. British Journal of General Practice. 2016;66(652):570. :

  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nosebleeds
  • Flushing
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pains
  • Visual changes
  • Blood in urine
  • Mood changes
  • Constipation

Treatment: How to Lower High Blood Pressure

“A healthy lifestyle can help prevent some of the damage that can occur with hypertension, as well as help lower blood pressure to some extent,” says Dr. Wong. He recommends:

  • Limiting your salt intake to 2.3 grams a day.
  • Completing 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.
  • Limiting your alcohol intake.
  • Following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which can help reduce blood pressure, says Dr. Wong. It’s a diet high in vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts. It’s low in sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages and red meats.
  • Managing your stress with practices like meditation.
  • Reducing your total body fat percentage.
  • Appropriately managing associated medical conditions like diabetes.

Side Effects of High Blood Pressure

“Dangers of untreated high blood pressure include stroke, heart attack, heart failure, vision loss, kidney failure, vascular dementia and sexual dysfunction,” says Dr. Desai. It’s one of the top risk factors for developing atrial fibrillation, which is the most common heart rhythm disorder worldwide and can lead to stroke, heart failure and reduced quality of life.

What Is Low Blood Pressure?

While hypertension can be problematic for your overall health, blood pressure that’s too low can also be cause for concern. With that said, the American Heart Association doesn’t recognize a specific day-to-day blood pressure reading as “too low.” Instead, it’s a matter of what symptoms you may be experiencing due to low blood pressure, how these symptoms affect you and how long they persist.

What Causes Low Blood Pressure?

There are many possible reasons for low blood pressure, according to both Dr. Wong and Dr. Desai, including:

  • Heart problems like heart failure or low heart rates
  • Endocrine problems, such as parathyroid disease, adrenal insufficiency or hypoglycemia
  • Dehydration
  • Sepsis from severe infection
  • Side effects of medications for high blood pressure, prostatic hypertrophy, Parkinson’s disease, depression and erectile dysfunction
  • Massive weight loss
  • Blood loss or anemia

Low Blood Pressure Symptoms

Low blood pressure symptoms can include:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of concentration
  • Blurred vision
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Rapid heart rate

Treatment: How to Increase Low Blood Pressure

Treatment for low blood pressure depends on the cause. “Certain medications may need to be adjusted or discontinued if they are contributing to the low blood pressure,” says Dr. Wong. “Certain lifestyle modifications, as well as sometimes pharmacological treatment, can be helpful as well.”

Side Effects of Low Blood Pressure

Low blood pressure may not be discussed as often as high blood pressure, but it should be addressed, as prolonged low blood pressure can negatively affect your organs.

“A certain amount of blood pressure is needed to maintain blood flow to the organs,” says Dr. Wong. “The blood supplies oxygen and nutrients to these organs. If the blood pressure is too low, an adequate blood supply cannot get to these organs.”

If left untreated, low blood pressure can increase your risk of fainting, heart attack and organ damage, adds Dr. Desai.

Heart Rate vs. Blood Pressure

Blood pressure measures the force that moves blood through your blood vessels while your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. They are both important health indicators, but they are measured independently and don’t necessarily increase or decrease synchronously.

A temporary increase in heart rate, such as during exercise, is not considered problematic. In fact, your heart is expected to rise during a bout of activity and return to its resting rate afterward. And the more intense you work, the more you should expect your heart rate to rise during exercise. Your heart rate can safely double during activity so long as it returns to its resting rate relatively soon after you finish your workout.

Significant increases in blood pressure, on the other hand, are not normal and should be monitored and shared with your health care provider.

Blood Pressure Monitor vs. Blood Pressure Cuff

“Blood pressure monitor” and “blood pressure cuff” are two phrases often used to describe the same blood pressure measurement tool. The blood pressure cuff is the element that wraps around either the upper arm, wrist or finger to measure blood pressure. The blood pressure monitor is the element in charge of inflating and deflating the cuff, as well as providing your blood pressure reading on an easy-to-read display.

Most experts recommend using a blood pressure monitor with an upper arm blood pressure cuff for at-home readings because they tend to be more accurate than wrist cuffs and finger cuffs.

When to Call Your Doctor

The risks of both high and low blood pressure make monitoring your blood pressure at home essential to your overall health and well-being. Both Dr. Wong and Dr. Desai recommend calling your healthcare provider if your self-monitored blood pressure readings are greater than 180/120 mmHg—even if you have no other symptoms.

“You should call 911 if these blood pressure readings are associated with symptoms of organ damage, such as headache, vision changes, weakness, numbness, chest pain or shortness of breath,” says Dr. Wong.

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