Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"What would cause my bottom number on my blood pressure be very high?"
I am a 27 year old female. I have been have this symptom for at least 2 years. I have a family history of some bad heart problems and strokes. I have had three children by c-section and I usually get a bad headache and blurred vision when my blood pressure goes off.
Your blood pressure consists of two numbers because as the heart beats blood into the blood vessels the pressure within the vessels goes up and down every beat. When you heart beats, it pushes blood into the main arteries. This causes a rise in the pressure within the arteries that we call the "systolic" blood pressure. When the heart relaxes, the blood pressure falls, but doesn't go to zero. This lull in the blood pressure is called the "diastolic" blood pressure. This is the bottom number. In general, we don't like the bottom number to be much above 85. If this number is too high, then the top number is usually high too. If only the bottom number is high, you may need a very low dose of a blood pressure medication. We call this isolated diastolic hypertension. It isn't that common, and usually does not cause any symptoms in people your age. In terms of your headaches, your description sounds suspicious for migraines. Migraine headaches are usually one sided and throb at the same rate as your heart rate. Visual symptoms such as blurry vision are common. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a look at your blood pressure and determine if you need any lifestyle changes or blood pressure medication. In addition, you can describe you headaches to the doctor and get the appropriate treatment.
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