What Is the Ideal Blood Pressure for an Individual With COPD?
Last updated: June 2023
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common condition in those with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). It is not clear why people with COPD are at a higher risk of hypertension, but it is thought to be linked to the lower levels of oxygen circulating in the blood.1
Why is high blood pressure a concern?
Hypertension can be concerning for a number of factors. There are often no symptoms associated with it, and hence it can go on for a long period of time before being identified. Uncontrolled hypertension for long periods of time can eventually increase the risk of:2
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Vision loss
- Angina (chest pain)
- Kidney disease
- Erectile dysfunction
Do I need to monitor my blood pressure?
Your doctor may suggest that you monitor your blood pressure. To do so, you may decide to use the self-serve blood pressure machine often available at drug stores. However, using this may not paint the full picture of what's going on, since you would only be measuring your blood pressure once in a while. This makes it difficult to capture patterns.
A more accurate way of measuring your blood pressure is by purchasing a home blood pressure monitor, which is available for purchase at pharmacies. These are often reimbursed by extended health insurance if determined to be medically warranted.
Taking an accurate blood pressure reading
The way you take your BP can have drastic effects on the reading and therefore affect the accuracy. When taking your blood pressure, it is important to:3
- Sit upright with your back against a chair, feet flat on the floor.
- Use the right cuff size and ensure it is positioned on your bare arms, with the bottom of the cuff 3 cm above the elbow.
- Do not speak or move as your blood pressure is being taken.
- Take at least 3 readings, and use the average of the 3 as your final recording.
What do the blood pressure readings mean?
There are 2 numbers that appear on your blood pressure monitor when you take a reading. For example, if your reading comes to 125/90 mmhg:4
- 125 is the first number, also known as the systolic blood pressure. It signifies how much pressure is on your artery walls when your heart takes a beat.
- 90 is the diastolic blood pressure. It measures the pressure when your heart is at rest.
- Mmhg, or millimeters of mercury, is the measurement of blood pressure.
Usually, the systolic blood pressure is more important, but both are taken into consideration.
What is the ideal blood pressure reading?
Once you are all set up and understand how to use your blood pressure machine, it is suggested that you connect with your doctor so that you understand what a healthy blood pressure target is for you.
In general, there are 2 different targets. For most people, a good blood pressure target is less than 140/90 mmhg. For people with diabetes, the target is set lower at 130/80.5Do you measure your BP at home? What target has your doctor set out for you? Share your experiences below!
Where do you stand with your COPD?