Your blood pressure is the force of your blood against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps. Every time your heart beats (this is the heart contracting), it pumps blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats and lowest when the heart rests between beats. Blood pressure readings use two numbers, read one over the other. The top number (systolic pressure) measures blood pressure when the heart beats. The bottom number (diastolic pressure) measures blood pressure in between heartbeats. A normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 or slightly lower. If you have a blood pressure reading of 140/90 or higher, you're considered to have high blood pressure (also known as hypertension).
High blood pressure usually doesn't have any symptoms, so you may not realize you have it.
Several breast cancer treatments can cause high blood pressure:
- hormonal therapy:
- targeted therapy:
Some pain medicines you may be taking during breast cancer treatment also can cause high blood pressure.
Managing high blood pressure
High blood pressure increases your risk of heart problems, stroke, and kidney problems. If you have chest pains, a severe headache, nausea, dizziness, or lose your sight, call your doctor immediately.
If you have a history of high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about the best ways to control it. You may be able to take medication. You also can try these tips to keep your blood pressure in a healthy range:
- Exercise regularly. This keeps your heart fit and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
- Reduce stress. Try relaxation techniques such as guided imagery or mediation.
- Don't smoke. Smoking can raise your blood pressure.
- Eat a healthy diet. Fill your plate with foods low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine because they can raise your blood pressure.
For more tips, ask the members of the Breastcancer.org Discussion Boards for advice.