When Do You Need Blood Pressure Medication?

If you’ve been monitoring your blood pressure on a regular basis and you’ve noticed that your blood pressure is slowly rising, you may need to start taking blood pressure medications.

The first thing you should do is to see your doctor, if you haven’t already, so they can help you determine if you need blood pressure medications. 

Remember, you should always take your doctor’s recommendations over a video you watch on youtube or an article you read on the internet.  

Whether or not you need to control your high blood pressure through medications depends on several factors. It depends on your general health, your age and the lifestyle you’re living.

Let’s look at the numbers first.

Blood pressure numbers are represented by two numbers. 

The top number, commonly known at the systolic number and the bottom number, commonly known as the diastolic number.

Your systolic number tells you the pressure when your heart beats. 

The diastolic number lets you know the pressure between heart beats. 

Both numbers are important. 

The new blood pressure guidelines, established by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, have established five different categories or ranges of blood pressure.

The first range is called, “normal blood pressure,” which is defined as anything under 120/80. 

The second range is called, “elevated blood pressure,” which is defined as a systolic blood pressure, or the top number, being between 120 and 129. 

Doctors will usually suggest simple healthy lifestyle changes for people with elevated blood pressure.

The third range is called, “high blood pressure stage one.” 

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And this stage is defined as having a systolic blood pressure between 130 and 139, and a diastolic blood pressure in the range of 80 to 89. 

For people with high blood pressure, doctors normally recommend getting a 10-year Heart Disease and Stroke Risk Assessment. 

If the Heart Disease Risk Assessment is less than 10%, doctors will usually recommend lifestyle changes.

If the risk assessment is higher than 10%, doctors will normally recommend lifestyle changes, along with blood pressure medications and monthly follow-ups until the person’s blood pressure is controlled. 

You can actually find Heart Disease Risk calculators on the internet.

Just go to google and type in the words, “Heart Disease Risk calculator,” and then just fill in the online form with your information. 

The Mayo Clinic website has one. 

I just used it and it gave me a reading of 62%.

So what this means is if I were to control my risk factors for heart disease, which means eating healthy and exercising, then my 30 year risk of a heart disease would be 34%. 

So that explains why my doctors have prescribed high blood pressure medications for me. 

The next stage of blood pressure is called, “high blood pressure stage 2.” 

And this stage is defined as having a systolic blood pressure reading of over 140 and or, a diastolic blood pressure reading higher than 90. 

If  a person is in this stage, doctors usually recommend lifestyle changes and two different classes of medications, and monthly follow-ups until the person’s blood pressure is controlled. 

The final stage of blood pressure is called, “hypertensive crisis.” 

And this stage is defined as having a systolic blood pressure reading of over 180 and or, a diastolic blood pressure reading higher than 120. 

If a person has hypertensive crisis, they need to go see a doctor immediately.

Remember, if you’re taking your blood pressure readings from home, you should be careful when you take these readings. 

You should take your readings, preferably in the morning, about 30 minutes to an hour after you’ve woken up and in a relaxed state.

Make sure you take three readings and use an average of the last two readings.

In summary, most doctors will begin to recommend medications to control your high blood pressure when two conditions are met.

The first is when your upper blood pressure reading, or a systolic blood pressure is between 130 and 139, and a diastolic blood pressure, or lower number, in the range of 80 to 89.

And the second is if your 10-year Heart Disease Risk Assessment is above 10%.

The good news is there’s a good chance that after you change your lifestyle to a more healthy lifestyle, which includes eating healthy foods, exercising consistently and lowering your weight, your blood pressure could come back down into a healthier range, and you could be taken off blood pressure medications. 

That should be your goal. 

I hope this gives you a better understanding of when you might be put on high blood pressure medications.

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