High Blood pressure: Why we shouldnt worry about the number (2023)


In this video, i try and explain why blood pressures are not as important as a persons general health status. I discuss how 2 people with the same blood pressure numbers can have completely different risks depending on their age and presence of comorbidities. I now have a new website www.yorkcardiology.co.uk and an instagram account YORKCARDIOLOGY


Hi guys, my name is Sanjay Gupta I'm, a consultant cardiologist in New York today, I wanted to do another video on blood pressure and why the numbers are not as important as we think okay.

So the first thing to say is: thank you so much for your patience.

I'm sorry I haven't put any videos out and we had the heart health seminar in August, which went really well, but then I got caught up so I'm gonna I've, now relaxed and I'm gonna get some more videos out soon, so I.

Thank you for your patience right now.

The first thing to say is there is nothing that generates more anxiety than high blood pressure numbers, okay, I.

As part of my work, you know when I do a clinic patients come they have their blood pressure measured by the nurses and the first thing that everyone worries about is: oh, my god.

What was my blood pressure? What was my blood pressure and what I wanted to try and do is try and make things slightly clearer, because I don't think the numbers are that important.

So let me try and explain this in a simplistic sense, so that you can understand it.

Okay, the the reason blood pressure is considered.

Important is because if people have a persistently elevated blood pressure, then there is evidence that they are at a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes over many years.

Okay, and if you can lower the blood pressure, then pee, then there is evidence that it reduces that risk by about 25 percent as a ballpark figure.

However, it is not as straightforward as just lowering the number and I'm going to try and explain this by using an analogy.

Okay, so imagine you're at a imagine, you're visiting a construction site.

Okay- and you see a sign on the construction site, which we often do, which says people here must wear a helmet.

People who are visiting must wear a helmet, so you have to say: why do these people need to wear a helmet? And the answer is that the chances of something falling on someone's head are high and if they were wearing a helmet, that could reduce their risk of dying from injury by 25%.

No an arbitrary figure, but this is true for wherever we are so, for example, I, don't have to be on a construction site.

I could be sitting in my study here talking to you and if the roof on my head decides to collapse and I were wearing a helmet at that time, then the helmet would still reduce my risk of dying by 25%, but the chances of the roof falling on my head are very, very low, whilst I'm in my study, compared to if I were in a construction site.

So in some ways there is more to it than just the idea that a helmet protects you there has to be something more to it.

So in blood pressure we realize that it's far more important as to who you are and what your other risks are, which decide your risk of stroke.

So let me give you an example.

There was a very interesting study or an interesting paper by Erika Wallace in heart, Journal 2002, which was called cardiovascular and coronary risk estimation in hypertension management and what they found.

What they demonstrate is this.

They said that, actually, let me just bring this up yep.

They took two patients, they demonstrated two patient ribs.

Okay, both patients had a blood pressure of 150 over 96, but patient a was young.

She was female, she had low cholesterol, she was a nonsmoker shouldn't have diabetes and in her, the risk of having a problem in ten years was incredibly low.

In fact, you would have had to treat 321 people with blood pressure medications to make any difference to one person.

However, there was another patient with the same blood pressure of 150 over 96.

He was male.

He was much older, a 65.

His cholesterol was high.

He was a smoker.

He was diabetic in him.

The the risk of something bad happening to him over 10 years was much higher and therefore you only needed to treat 16 people to make a difference to one life.

So what this goes to show is it's not the blood pressure that is important.

It's all the other things.

It's the age, it's whether you have died, BT's it's whether you smoke, it's whether you're sedentary.

If you are someone who is generally fit and well who doesn't smoke, who doesn't have any risk factors who lives a healthy lifestyle who minimizes, if stress, who sleeps well your risks from having a high blood pressure are incredibly low.

If, on the other hand, you do all those things which are actually bad for our health, including being overweight, smoking being stressed, not sleeping being diabetic, etc, then the risk is much higher and therefore what I'm trying to get across is that the number is not important.

What we shouldn't be doing is focusing on.

Oh, my god.

What this is my number I need to get that down.

What we should be concentrating on is the general state of our health and thinking okay.

Well, you know if I'm sedentary than I need to get more exercise.

If I'm stressed I need to minimize my stress if I smoke, I need to cut that down, trying to move from being an unhealthy person to a healthy person makes a far bigger difference to our overall risk compared to just reducing the number or making the number look nicer.

So I hope this takes away.

Some of the anxiety that people may have when they say.

Oh my god, what's my blood pressure, it said: why is the blood pressure not going down? Don't worry about the blood pressure number concentrate on becoming a healthier person, concentrate and sorting out your other risks and your core morbidities and your risk from the blood pressure will automatically come down.

The blood pressure is just a number, there's nothing magical about it.

It's a number.

This again raises another point which is you know they ever even the guidelines, change and they'll say: oh, a blood pressure of a hundred and fifty of a 90s high blood pressure.

Then they bring the value down.

They change the goalposts.

After a few years now, they're saying blood pressure of a hundred and thirty five ever 80s high blood pressure.

So the point I'm trying to make is what? What is that? Why is that? And the answer is because people are generally getting unhealthy and that's why so even at lower blood pressures, unhealthy people have bad things.

You know bad things happen to them, and healthy people, even with higher blood pressures, remain fine, and that is why the guidelines keep changing the number, because the number is not as important.

The fact that we are getting more stressed, we're leading lifestyles, don't say ten years ago, means that there are more events happening and that's is why they're bringing the number down and saying I'll treat these people early, but the way to treat them is to reduce overall risk.

So, thank you.

So much now lots of exciting things.

I have a new website called dr.

Sanjay, Gupta, cardiologist, comm and I would invite you to come and visit the website I'm trying to put on lots of stuff on there, so that would be good I'm, also an Instagram as your cardiology, where I put these one-minute videos.

In case you don't like listening to me for too long and then we're also there's also whatsapp group now for cardiology patients which I participate in and my facebook page is at your cardiologist at your cardiologist great.

Thank you so much.


Which blood pressure number should you worry about the most? ›

Q. When I am monitoring my blood pressure, which number is most important — top, bottom, or both? A. While both numbers in a blood pressure reading are essential for diagnosing and treating high blood pressure, doctors primarily focus on the top number, also known as systolic pressure.

When should you worry about the bottom number of blood pressure? ›

Pay attention to your diastolic number when you have your blood pressure checked. If your lower number is 60 or below, ask a healthcare professional about it. Let a doctor know if you have any symptoms of hypotension or heart failure.

How do I stop worrying about high blood pressure? ›

Meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, deep breathing exercises, and yoga are powerful relaxation techniques and stress-busters. Strengthen your social network. Connect with others by taking a class, joining an organization, or participating in a support group.

Do blood pressure numbers really matter? ›

Having blood pressure measures consistently above normal may result in a diagnosis of high blood pressure (or hypertension). The higher your blood pressure levels, the more risk you have for other health problems, such as heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

What is an alarming diastolic number? ›

The diastolic pressure of an adult should typically be 60–80mm Hg, and if the number goes above this, it's considered hypertension. However, if your blood pressure goes over 180/120mm Hg, this is dangerous, and you should seek medical attention immediately.

What numbers are alarming for blood pressure? ›

Elevated blood pressure is systolic of 120 to 129 and diastolic less than 80. Stage 1 high blood pressure is when systolic is 130 to 139 or diastolic is 80 to 89. Stage 2 high blood pressure is when systolic is 140 or higher or diastolic is 90 or higher.

What is stroke level blood pressure? ›

If it's still very high, seek medical care. Call 911 or emergency medical services if your blood pressure is 180/120 mm Hg or greater and you have chest pain, shortness of breath, or symptoms of stroke. Stroke symptoms include numbness or tingling, trouble speaking, or changes in vision.

Can drinking water lower blood pressure? ›

Still, you can make lifestyle changes to bring your blood pressure down. Something as simple as keeping yourself hydrated by drinking six to eight glasses of water every day improves blood pressure. Water makes up 73% of the human heart,¹ so no other liquid is better at controlling blood pressure.

What is a dangerously high bottom number for blood pressure? ›

Normal pressure is 120/80 or lower. Your blood pressure is considered high (stage 1) if it reads 130/80. Stage 2 high blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. If you get a blood pressure reading of 180/110 or higher more than once, seek medical treatment right away.

What time of the day is blood pressure highest? ›

Usually, blood pressure starts to rise a few hours before a person wakes up. It continues to rise during the day, peaking in midday. Blood pressure typically drops in the late afternoon and evening. Blood pressure is usually lower at night while sleeping.

Will I ever get rid of high blood pressure? ›

While there is no cure for high blood pressure, it is important for patients to take steps that matter, such as making effective lifestyle changes and taking BP-lowering medications as prescribed by their physicians.

What is ideal blood pressure by age? ›

What is Normal Blood Pressure by Age?
18-39 years110/68 mm Hg119/70 mm Hg
40-59 years122/74 mm Hg124/77 mm Hg
60+ years139/68 mm Hg133/69 mm Hg
Nov 4, 2022

How can I bring my blood pressure down quickly? ›

How Can I Lower My Blood Pressure Immediately?
  1. Take a warm bath or shower. Stay in your shower or bath for at least 15 minutes and enjoy the warm water. ...
  2. Do a breathing exercise. Take a deep breath from your core, hold your breath for about two seconds, then slowly exhale. ...
  3. Relax!

Can a high blood pressure reading be wrong? ›

There are instances in which the BP-measurement accuracy is affected by patients' habits or behaviors. Acute meal ingestion, caffeine or nicotine use can all affect BP readings, leading to errors in measurement accuracy.

How long can you have high blood pressure before it causes damage? ›

In other words, once blood pressure rises above normal, subtle but harmful brain changes can occur rather quickly—perhaps within a year or two. And those changes may be hard to reverse, even if blood pressure is nudged back into the normal range with treatment.

Can drinking water lower diastolic? ›

It found those who drank mildly salinated water had average systolic blood pressure levels 1.55 mmHg lower than those who drank freshwater. Their average diastolic blood pressure levels were 1.26 mmHg lower. Systolic is the top number in the blood pressure measurement and diastolic is the bottom number.

What is the danger zone for diastolic? ›

The normal range of diastolic pressure should be 60 to 80 mmHg in adults. Anything above this is considered abnormal (hypertension). However, when blood pressure readings are above 180/120 mmHg, they are dangerous and require immediate medical attention.

What causes the top number of blood pressure to be high? ›

Isolated systolic hypertension can be caused by conditions such as: Artery stiffness. An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) Diabetes.

Does caffeine raise blood pressure? ›

Caffeine may cause a short, but dramatic increase in your blood pressure, even if you don't have high blood pressure. It's unclear what causes this spike in blood pressure. The blood pressure response to caffeine differs from person to person.

Does coffee raise blood pressure? ›

Some research suggests coffee can lower the risk for high blood pressure, also called hypertension, in people who don't already have it. But drinking too much coffee has been shown to raise blood pressure and lead to anxiety, heart palpitations and trouble sleeping.

What are the 5 warning signs of a stroke? ›

Call 9-1-1 immediately if any of these signs of stroke appear: Numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg; Confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech; Trouble seeing in one or both eyes; Trouble walking, dizziness, or problems with balance; severe headache with no known cause.

What BP puts you at risk for stroke? ›

Risk factors for stroke that can be changed, treated, or medically managed: High blood pressure. Blood pressure of 140/90 or higher can damage blood vessels (arteries) that supply blood to the brain.

Do bananas lower blood pressure? ›

But you might not know that a banana a day keeps high blood pressure at bay. This fruit is packed full of potassium — an important blood pressure-lowering mineral. Potassium helps balance sodium in the body.

What is the best drink for high blood pressure? ›

The top drinks for lowering blood pressure include water, fruit juices (pomegranate, prune, cranberry, cherry), vegetable juice (tomato, raw beet), tea (black, green), and skim milk.

Which fruit reduce high blood pressure? ›

Berries: Strawberries and blueberries are rich in antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins. Research has linked anthocyanins to a reduction in blood pressure in people with hypertension.

How can I lower my blood pressure without medication? ›

10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication
  1. Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline. Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. ...
  2. Exercise regularly. ...
  3. Eat a healthy diet. ...
  4. Reduce salt (sodium) in your diet. ...
  5. Limit alcohol. ...
  6. Quit smoking. ...
  7. Get a good night's sleep. ...
  8. Reduce stress.
Jul 12, 2022

Can anxiety cause high blood pressure? ›

Anxiety doesn't cause long-term high blood pressure (hypertension). But episodes of anxiety can cause dramatic, temporary spikes in blood pressure.

Which is more important systolic or diastolic? ›

Recent findings: Generally, in studies in which readings of systolic and diastolic blood pressure have been compared, systolic blood pressure has been a better predictor of risk.

Is it OK to sleep with high blood pressure? ›

Excessive reduction of blood pressure during sleep may also be detrimental. Patients with well-controlled hypertension showed a significantly increased risk of stroke when nighttime systolic pressure took extreme dips.

Which arm do you take blood pressure? ›

The device should measure blood pressure on the upper arm, which produce a more reliable result than those that measure from the wrist.

Can a tight blood pressure cuff cause a high reading? ›

A BP cuff that is too large will give falsely low readings, while an overly small cuff will provide readings that are falsely high.

Does cinnamon lower blood pressure? ›

Concentrated cinnamon supplements are another option. Cinnamon appears to help dilate and relax the blood vessels, which may help lower blood pressure.

Is 140 over 70 OK blood pressure? ›

Normal: Less than 120/80. Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80. High blood pressure (hypertension) Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89. High blood pressure Stage 2: Systolic 140 or higher or diastolic 90 or higher.

What is a realistic blood pressure for seniors? ›

Normal blood pressure for most adults is defined as a systolic pressure of less than 120 and a diastolic pressure of less than 80. Elevated blood pressure is defined as a systolic pressure between 120 and 129 with a diastolic pressure of less than 80.

What is the average BP for 70 year old? ›

Blood pressure of 70 year olds

According to some studies, the blood pressure of 70-year-old people usually ranges from 121/83 mmHg - 147/91 mmHg.

Does vinegar lower blood pressure quickly? ›

Will apple cider vinegar lower my blood pressure immediately? No. Apple cider vinegar is not proven to lower blood pressure at all. Rather, it may work in a roundabout way by potentially promoting weight loss, supporting lower cholesterol levels, and improving blood sugar control.

Does lemon water bring your blood pressure down? ›

Lemon drink contains traces of several minerals that may be beneficial in lowering blood pressure. Calcium and potassium both can lower blood pressure in those suffering from hypertension. A study suggests that lemon water can help bring the number to the normal range immediately.

Will aspirin lower blood pressure? ›

The important thing to remember is that aspirin does not lower blood pressure on its own. However, its ability to thin out the blood can benefit some people with high blood pressure.

How accurate are home BP monitors? ›

However, even a device that has passed an accepted validation test will not provide accurate readings in all patients; the error may be consistently ± 5 mm Hg in many individuals, especially elderly patients or patients with diabetes.

Can you go from high blood pressure to normal blood pressure? ›

There is no cure for high blood pressure. But treatment can lower blood pressure that is too high. If it is mild, high blood pressure may sometimes be brought under control by making changes to a healthier lifestyle.

Why do I get 3 different blood pressure readings? ›

It's actually quite normal. A difference of more than 10 points, though, could suggest trouble. In younger people, side-to-side differences in blood pressure can occur when a muscle or something else compresses an artery supplying the arm, or by a structural problem that prevents smooth blood flow through an artery.

Can you live 20 years with high blood pressure? ›

It's important to remember that high blood pressure is not usually a death sentence. As long as you're regularly working with your doctor on treatment and managing your blood pressure levels, you will likely live a long life.

How can I stop worrying about my blood pressure? ›

Stress-reducing activities can help lower blood pressure
  1. Adjust your schedule. If you have too much to do, look at your calendar and to-do lists. ...
  2. Breathe to relax. Taking deep, slow breaths can help you relax.
  3. Exercise regularly. ...
  4. Try yoga and meditation. ...
  5. Get enough sleep. ...
  6. Change how you see challenges.
Dec 10, 2022

How do you feel when you have high blood pressure? ›

Moderate or severe headaches, anxiety, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, palpitations, or feeling of pulsations in the neck are some signs of high blood pressure. Often, these are late signs that high blood pressure has existed for some time, therefore annual checks are recommended for all adults.

What is an unhealthy diastolic number? ›

What would you define as “too low,” and why is that a problem? A diastolic blood pressure of somewhere between 90 and 60 is good in older folks. Once you start getting below 60, that makes people feel uncomfortable. A lot of older folks with low diastolic pressures get tired or dizzy and have frequent falls.

What does it mean when the bottom number of your blood pressure is high? ›

Diastolic blood pressure (DBP) is the pressure exerted on the walls of the arteries when the heart muscle relaxes between beats. A high diastolic reading has been linked to a higher risk of diseases involving the large artery called the aorta that carries blood and oxygen from the heart to the abdomen and chest.

Which is harder to lower systolic or diastolic? ›

Systolic blood pressure remains more difficult to control than diastolic blood pressure. Nevertheless, doctors should be able to lower systolic blood pressure to less than 140 mm Hg in about 60% of patients.

What is more reliable systolic or diastolic numbers when taking blood pressure? ›

Recent findings: Generally, in studies in which readings of systolic and diastolic blood pressure have been compared, systolic blood pressure has been a better predictor of risk.

Should I go to the hospital if my blood pressure is 140 over 90? ›

Your blood pressure is considered high (stage 1) if it reads 130/80. Stage 2 high blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. If you get a blood pressure reading of 180/110 or higher more than once, seek medical treatment right away. A reading this high is considered “hypertensive crisis.”

What is the new normal blood pressure for seniors? ›

The new guidelines change nothing if you're younger than 60. But if you're 60 or older, the target has moved up: Your goal is to keep your blood pressure at 150/90 or lower. If you have kidney disease or diabetes, your target used to be 130/80 or lower; now it's 140/90 or lower. Raymond R.

What is a good pulse rate? ›

A normal resting heart rate should be between 60 to 100 beats per minute, but it can vary from minute to minute. Your age and general health can also affect your pulse rate, so it's important to remember that a 'normal' pulse can vary from person to person.

Why is my first blood pressure reading always high? ›

Your first blood pressure reading will almost always be higher than the second due to a wide range of factors, both environmental and psychological. These factors include white coat syndrome, stress, and having a full bladder.

What is a sudden onset of high blood pressure? ›

Malignant hypertension is very high blood pressure that comes on suddenly and quickly. The kidneys filter wastes and excrete fluid when the pressure of blood in the bloodstream forces blood through the internal structures of the kidney.

What is the difference between too and bottom number blood pressure? ›

Two numbers are used to describe blood pressure. The top number is called “systolic blood pressure” (120) and measures blood pressure when the heart pumps. ​The bottom number is called “diastolic blood pressure” (80) and measures blood pressure when the heart rests between beats.

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