More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Feeling the Pressure? One out of three American adults has hypertension. What you need to know
Monday, Sep. 06, 2004
By Sanjay Gupta, Time Magazine

The news about high blood pressure keeps getting worse. Sure, we doctors are better than ever at treating the condition, which increases the chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke or developing kidney damage. But we're losing the struggle to prevent hypertension from happening in the first place. New data published in Hypertension last week show, for the first time, that 1 out of 3 adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure. That's up from 1 out of 4 adults a decade ago. Twenty years ago, the number of Americans with high blood pressure was coming down.

In part, we are the victims of our own success. More people are living longer, and blood pressure tends to rise with old age. But Americans are also growing fatter than ever, and it's pretty clear that being overweight or obese greatly increases your risk of high blood pressure.

For the record, a reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher means you have hypertension. You are also considered hypertensive if you have a history of elevated blood pressure or take medication for it.

The good news is that simple lifestyle changes can make an enormous difference. No, you don't have to lose all the excess rolls of fat around your middle. In fact, you don't necessarily have to lose any weight as long as you start moving around and getting more exercise — at least half an hour a day most days of the week. Best of all, of course, is to combine the exercise with some weight loss. Losing as little as 5 lbs. can lower your blood pressure and decrease the need for medication, according to Dr. Daniel Jones of the American Heart Association.

What you eat can also help decrease your blood pressure significantly. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan, which emphasizes lots of fruits and vegetables, fish, low-fat dairy products and a modest quantity of unsalted nuts, has been clinically proved to lower blood pressure in numerous studies over the past seven years. Remarkably, this holds true even if you don't lose weight on the DASH plan.

You won't know if you're in danger, however, unless you get your blood pressure checked at least once a year. Remember: if it's too high, there's plenty you and your doctor can do about it.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I just took my blood pressure yesterday and it was 89 over 64 is that good or bad?

That's low so it's definitely not hypertension. Normal is roughly 120 over 80, or in that range.

If you used one of the drug store machines, be aware that they are often not very accurate... it's best to repeat the readings 2 or 3 times.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Low Blood Pressure, Hypotension

Low Blood Pressure

Also called: Hypotension, LBP

You've probably heard that high blood pressure is a problem. So what about low blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Each time your heart beats, it pumps out blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure. When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is the diastolic pressure. Your blood pressure reading uses these two numbers. Both are important. Usually they're written one above or before the other, such as 120/80. If your blood pressure reading is 90/60 or lower, you have low blood pressure.

Some people have low blood pressure all the time. They have no symptoms and their low readings are normal for them. In other people, blood pressure drops below normal because of some event or medical condition. Some people may experience symptoms of low pressure when standing up too quickly. Low blood pressure is a problem only if it causes dizziness, fainting or in extreme cases, shock.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I used the one my mom got from her doctor would that be accurate?

Usually, if you have fresh batteries and put the cuff on correctly.

I usually suggest if you get a reading that's higher or lower than usual for you to remove the cuff, replace it, and try again to double-check it.

The other thing to note is that it's best if you are sitting or lying down and relaxed for a few minutes prior to taking the reading.


If you're not suffering any side-effects, like dizziness, sweating, or nausea, I wouldn't worry about your blood pressure, Christina. Mine runs somewhat low, as well, and always has. For me, it's perfectly normal. In all probability, if you don't have symptoms, it's normal for you, as well. :)
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