Most people know that high blood pressure is a health risk and that blood pressure that drops too low can also be a problem. But what about when it bounces back and forth between the two extremes? It turns out that’s not good for you, either. And when it happens at a younger age, it may signal an increased risk of other health problems later in life.
The human body has an amazing ability to adapt, but that doesn't mean it easily handles everything that's thrown at it. When blood pressure fluctuates too often, the body’s organs may have trouble adapting to the changes. If pressures don’t stay in a steady-state for very long, it can make it harder for organs to function properly long-term. It may also lead some organs to harden in the process.
Arteries can also harden, preventing them from carrying blood as easily. Even the heart muscle might start remodeling and failing due to the changes. Blood pressure fluctuations have been linked to several complications.
According to one study, frequent blood pressure changes may cause heart failure and stroke. Two independent cardiologists who were not affiliated with the study into how changes in blood pressure may correlate with these events agreed with the findings, saying that it may be important to take a more careful look at how blood pressure changes impact the body, even if a patient's average blood pressure is within the normal range.Research has also linked blood pressure fluctuations to an increased risk of dementia. In fact, patients with changes in blood pressure were twice as likely to develop the condition.
The most significant way to even out blood pressure and reduce spikes is through lifestyle changes. These include losing extra weight, taking up exercise, and eating healthy foods. If those changes aren't effective, doctors might choose to use medications to reduce blood pressure.
Study findings indicate that for some patients who had plenty of normal blood pressure readings as well as high readings medications might potentially drop those good readings into the “too low” range. In which case, doctors may need to take extra care in finding the right medication(s) or protocol(s) for these patients, but sometimes lifestyle changes aren't enough or the patient refuses to implement them and medications are necessary.
Keep in mind that blood pressure fluctuations are normal — our blood pressure goes up some when we are stressed, and then lowers as we return to a normal state. But when BP has strong spikes that send it into the high range, coupled with significantly lower readings that put it into the normal or low-normal range, action may be needed — and certainly, a doctor should be consulted at length. Ideally, the healthcare provider will focus on how they can improve health for patients who have blood pressure fluctuations in their 20s, so those same patients don't start having heart trouble in their 40s and 50s.
By implementing the right lifestyle changes in their 20s, people with fluctuating blood pressure readings may be able to more easily control their risks for health problems as they age. Working with a medical professional who understands the significance of blood pressure changes can help them do that, so they have the opportunity to take good care of their health early and prevent things before they become dangerous. While there's no guarantee of avoidance of heart issues later, there are indications that better blood pressure control may play a role that's very important for long-term good health.
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