9 Myths About Blood Pressure
- Separate Fact from FictionAbout one in three American adults has high blood pressure. Having untreated high blood pressure can lead to serious health problems, including coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and kidney failure. Do you have the facts about blood pressure? Check out the following slides to see if you have believed any myths.
- Is Lower Always Better? Myth No. 1Low blood pressure isn't anything to worry about.
Fact: Low blood pressure, or hypotension, can be a concern if it causes symptoms, such as dizziness, fainting, or even shock. Dizziness or fainting could lead to a serious fall. Shock, if not treated immediately, could end in death. However, it's true that low blood pressure is actually normal for some people.
- Can Younger People Wait? Myth No. 2It's not important to have your blood pressure checked until you reach age 40.
Fact: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for high blood pressure starting at age 18. However, others might recommend starting even sooner. During adolescence, age, body size, and level of sexual development have roles in determining blood pressure.
- I Don't Have Symptoms! Myth No. 3Nervousness, sweating, and trouble sleeping are some symptoms of high blood pressure.
Fact: High blood pressure doesn't have symptoms. In fact, nearly one-third of U.S. adults with high blood pressure don't even know they have it. A simple blood pressure measurement can find those affected, yet still undiagnosed.
- Double Trouble: Myth No. 4If you have high cholesterol, you must have high blood pressure, too.
Fact: Many of the same poor lifestyle choices, such as eating a high-fat diet or not exercising enough, tend to increase cholesterol levels and blood pressure. However, it's possible to have high cholesterol without having high blood pressure.
- Putting on the Brakes: Myth No. 5Once you start feeling better, it's OK to stop taking your medicine for high blood pressure.
Fact: If your doctor has prescribed medicine for your high blood pressure, follow his or her exact directions closely. It would be dangerous for you to decrease dosage or stop taking the medication without your doctor's approval.
- A Man's Disease? Myth No. 6Only men have to worry about getting high blood pressure.
Fact: Women can have high blood pressure, too. Some women who might be at an increased risk for high blood pressure include those who are:
- Taking a birth control pill
- Related to people with high blood pressure
- Post menopause
- If It's "Over the Counter"...Myth No. 7All over-the-counter cold and flu medications are safe for people with high blood pressure.
Fact: The active ingredients in decongestants can increase blood pressure and could possibly interfere with blood pressure medications. Be sure to buy cold and flu medications that don't have decongestants. Always ask the pharmacist for help if you any medication concerns.
- Insulin a Cause? Myth No. 8Taking insulin causes arteries to harden and high blood pressure.
Fact: In the past, some doctors were concerned that insulin might contribute to hardening of arteries and high blood pressure. But we now know this isn't the case. By stabilizing blood glucose levels, insulin actually helps prevent further blood vessel damage in diabetics.
- It's Just at the Doctor's Office...Myth No. 9Your blood pressure readings at the doctor office continue to be high, but your blood pressure is probably fine at home. You just get nervous going to the doctor.
Fact: It's possible to have white-coat hypertension, which is when nervousness temporarily raises blood pressure during a doctor visit. But never ignore multiple readings that suggest high blood pressure. Try logging your blood pressure measurements at home over a period of time, and then share them at your next doctor visit.
9 Myths About Blood Pressure