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How To Read High Blood Pressure

Track Your Blood Pressure Starting Today

How to Read Your Own Blood Pressure

There you have it, your easy-to-understand guide on the blood pressure chart in Canada. Just remember that 120/80 mmHg is the ideal BP level you should aim for. If it’s 135/85 mmHg or higher, see your doctor for a professional hypertension diagnosis.

It may also be a good idea to get extra health coverage to help with hypertension health costs. Specific health plans provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, such as high blood pressure.

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Whats Considered High Blood Pressure In Pregnant People

High blood pressure can also occur during pregnancy. According to the , about 8 percent of people develop some form of hypertension while pregnant.

  • Normal blood pressure during pregnancy is less than 120 mm Hg systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic.
  • Readings higher than 140 mm Hg systolic or 90 mm Hg diastolic are considered high.

There are two main categories of high blood pressure in pregnancy:

  • Chronic hypertension. This is when blood pressure is high before you become pregnant or when high blood pressure develops before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. These types of high blood pressure problems are specific to pregnant people and typically develop after 20 weeks of pregnancy. These blood pressure issues typically disappear after you give birth.

Your doctor may prescribe medications if you have high blood pressure during pregnancy.

What Does The Diastolic Blood Pressure Number Mean

The diastolic reading, or the bottom number, is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. This is the time when the heart fills with blood and gets oxygen.

This is what your diastolic blood pressure number means:

  • Normal: Lower than 80
  • Stage 2 hypertension: 90 or more
  • Hypertensive crisis: 120 or more. Call 911.

Our chart below has more details.

Even if your diastolic number is normal , you can have elevated blood pressure if the systolic reading is 120-129.

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What Does My Blood Pressure Reading Mean

Normal blood pressure is 120/80 or lower. High blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 140/90, you may have something called prehypertension. This means that you are at risk for high blood pressure.

Systolic pressure
High blood pressure: Stage 2 160 or higher 100 or over

*If you have diabetes or kidney disease, high blood pressure ranges may be lower than for other people. Or, if you are older than 65, goal blood pressure may be higher. Talk to your doctor about what is considered high blood pressure for you.

Black Teafor Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure Heart Stroke Foundation South Africa

There are many different blends and types of black tea available. Studies have found that black tea could be effective when controlling blood pressure because of the oxidation of leaves. Flavones, a variety of plant pigment with antioxidant properties, is also considered the reason behind its magical properties. It has also shown positive effects on endothelial cells, which are responsible for early blood pressure changes. It also controls weight and BMI, which are essential factors that contribute to blood pressure.

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Preventing High Blood Pressure

To keep your blood pressure in the normal range, your daily habits are key. These things help:

Donât smoke. Among the many health problems that smoking causes, it raises your blood pressure.

Make physical activity a habit. Most experts recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five or more times a week. Or you could do a harder activity for a shorter period of time per session.

Eat right. Read food labels to see how much sodium is in a serving. Check with your doctor to find out what your daily limit should be. Include a lot of vegetables and fruits, along with whatever else you choose to put on your plate.

Stick to a healthy weight. Extra pounds raise your blood pressure. If youâre not sure what a healthy weight would be for you, ask your doctor.

Get enough sleep. For most adults, thatâs 7-8 hours of sleep per night, on a regular basis.

If you drink alcohol, limit it to no more than one drink a day if youâre a woman and up to two drinks a day if youâre a man.

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How To Take Blood Pressure

You can take your blood pressure at home using a wrist blood pressure monitor or an upper arm cuff blood pressure monitor. Experts typically recommend upper arm cuffs because they are the most accurate. Upper arm cuffs can come with either a manual or digital monitor. Both work well, but if youre measuring your blood pressure on your own regularly, a digital one will likely be easiest to use correctly.

To take your blood pressure accurately with a digital upper arm cuff, start by sitting quietly in an upright position for a few minutes, allowing your body a moment to relax. Be mindful to uncross your legs and ankles, as well as use comfortable support for your back.

With the monitor sitting on a table in front of you, place your arm next to itat approximately heart leveland place the cuff around your bare upper arm about one inch above your elbow. Secure the cuff so that you can only slide a fingertip under the top edge.

Next, simply turn on the monitor, press the start button, and take normal breaths as the cuff inflates and deflates, measuring your blood pressure and producing your reading on the screen.

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What A Blood Test Can Do For High Blood Pressure

Once youve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, routine lab tests are recommended before a doctor determines your treatment . One of those tests will be a blood test. A blood test will show a doctor the levels of different substances in your blood for the following:

  • Your cholesterol levels.
  • Electrolytes like sodium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate.

Whats Considered Elevated Blood Pressure

How Blood Pressure Readings Work

Blood pressure numbers that are higher than 120/80 mm Hg are a warning sign. It means you need to pay attention to your blood pressure and focus on heart-healthy habits.

Although these numbers arent technically considered high blood pressure, youve moved out of the normal range. Elevated blood pressure may turn into high blood pressure, which puts you at an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Elevated blood pressure

When your systolic pressure is between 120 and 129mm Hgand your diastolic pressure is less than 80mm Hg, it means you have elevated blood pressure.

No medications are necessary for elevated blood pressure. But your doctor may talk with you about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, such as getting regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and managing your weight.

You may receive a diagnosis of stage 1 hypertension if:

  • your systolic blood pressure is between 130 and 139 mm Hg, or
  • your diastolic blood pressure is between 80 and 89 mm Hg

However, the AHA notes that if you get only one reading this high, you may not truly have stage 1 hypertension. What determines the diagnosis of hypertension at any stage is the average of your blood pressure numbers over a period of time.

Your doctor can help you measure and track your blood pressure to confirm whether its too high.

Stage 1 hypertension

If your systolic blood pressure is 130 to 139 mm Hgor your diastolic blood pressure is 80 to 89 mm Hg, its considered stage 1 hypertension.

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Interventional Trials For Diabetic Populations

High blood pressure is more common in people with diabetes. It was estimated that two-thirds of patients with type 2 diabetes have high blood pressure . Mozaffari et al. conducted a randomized clinical trial in which 100 mildly hypertensive patients with diabetes were randomly assigned into a green tea treatment group. The patients were instructed to drink green tea infusion three times a day, 2 h after each meal for four weeks. Blood pressure was measured at days one and 15, and at the end of the study. The results showed that the SBP of the green tea group was lower at the end of the study . The DBP was also lower by the end of the study . The therapeutic effectiveness of tea by the end of the intervention was 39.6% in the green tea group. This data indicates that mildly hypertensive type 2 diabetic individuals who drink green tea daily show significantly lower SBP and DBP. Another study was conducted in Japan with 60 volunteers who had fasting blood glucose levels of 6.1 mmol/L or non-fasting blood glucose levels of 7.8 mmol/L. The intervention group consumed a packet of GTE containing 544 mg polyphenols daily for the first two months, and then entered a two-month nonintervention period. Supplementation of GTE powder led to a significant reduction in DBP, but no significant changes in SBP.

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What Is High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is blood pressure that is higher than normal. Your blood pressure changes throughout the day based on your activities. Having blood pressure measures consistently above normal may result in a diagnosis of high blood pressure .

The higher your blood pressure levels, the more risk you have for other health problems, such as heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Your health care team can diagnose high blood pressure and make treatment decisions by reviewing your systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels and comparing them to levels found in certain guidelines.

The guidelines used to diagnose high blood pressure may differ from health care professional to health care professional:

  • Some health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 140/90 mm Hg or higher.2 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2003, as seen in the table below.
  • Other health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 130/80 mm Hg or higher.1 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2017, as seen in the table below.
systolic: 130 mm Hg or higherdiastolic: 80 mm Hg or higher

If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, talk with your health care team about your blood pressure levels and how these levels affect your treatment plan.

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What Questions Should I Ask My Provider

  • Are there supplements or non-prescription medicines that I shouldnt take?
  • Can I keep taking these medicines if I get pregnant?
  • What kinds of exercise should I do?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

If you dont treat high blood pressure, it can put you at risk for developing serious illnesses later in life such as heart attack, kidney failure and stroke. But if you follow your providers instructions, you can control your blood pressure. Be sure to take any medicines your provider ordered as instructed. Keep taking them even if your blood pressure numbers begin to fall into the normal range. Living a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy foods, watching your weight and getting regular exercise is also a great way to help control your blood pressure.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/21/2021.

References

What Affects A Blood Pressure Reading

Understanding Blood Pressure Readings

Many things can affect a blood pressure reading, including:

  • Nervousness about having your blood pressure taken. This is called white coat syndrome. As many as 1 in 3 people who have a high blood pressure reading at the doctors office may have normal blood pressure readings outside of it.1
  • What you ate, drank, or did before your reading. If you smoked, drank alcohol or caffeine, or exercised within 30 minutes of having your blood pressure measured, your reading might be higher.2
  • How you are sitting. Crossing your legs and letting your arm droop at your side rather than rest on a table at chest height can make your blood pressure go up.2

Its important to get an accurate blood pressure reading so that you have a clearer picture of your risk for heart disease and stroke.

A reading that says your blood pressure is lower than it actually is may give you a false sense of security about your health. A reading that says your blood pressure is higher than it actually is may lead to treatment you dont need.

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Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Adcocks, C., Collin, P., and Buttle, D. J. Catechins from green tea inhibit bovine and human cartilage proteoglycan and type II collagen degradation in vitro. J Nutr. 2002 132:341-346. View abstract.

Agarwal, A., Prasad, R., and Jain, A. Effect of green tea extract in reducing oxidative stress seen in patients of pulmonary tuberculosis on DOTS Cat I regimen. Phytomedicine. 2010 17:23-27. View abstract.

Ahmed, S., Wang, N., Lalonde, M., Goldberg, V. M., and Haqqi, T. M. Green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate differentially inhibits interleukin-1 beta-induced expression of matrix metalloproteinase-1 and -13 in human chondrocytes. J Pharmacol.Exp.Ther. 2004 308:767-773. View abstract.

Al-Sowyan, N. S. Difference in leptin hormone response to nutritional status in normal adult male albino rats. Pak.J Biol.Sci. 1-15-2009 12:119-126. View abstract.

Alemdaroglu, N. C., Dietz, U., Wolffram, S., Spahn-Langguth, H., and Langguth, P. Influence of green and black tea on folic acid pharmacokinetics in healthy volunteers: potential risk of diminished folic acid bioavailability. Biopharm.Drug Dispos. 2008 29:335-348. View abstract.

Alexopoulos, N., Vlachopoulos, C., Aznaouridis, K., Baou, K., Vasiliadou, C., Pietri, P., Xaplanteris, P., Stefanadi, E., and Stefanadis, C. The acute effect of green tea consumption on endothelial function in healthy individuals. Eur.J Cardiovasc.Prev.Rehabil. 2008 15:300-305. View abstract.

What Do The Numbers Mean

When a healthcare professional takes your blood pressure, its expressed as a measurement with two numbers, one number on top and one on the bottom , like a fraction. For example, 120/80 mm Hg.

Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury. Thats what the mm/Hg stands for. Heres what the numbers mean:

  • Your systolic pressure is the pressure of the blood in your arteries when your heart contracts or beats.
  • Your diastolic pressure is the pressure of the blood in your arteries between beats, when your heart relaxes.

Both numbers are important in determining the state of your heart health.

Numbers greater than the ideal range may be a sign that your heart is working too hard to pump blood to the rest of your body.

For a normal reading, your blood pressure needs to show:

  • a systolic pressure thats above 90 mm Hg and less than 120 mm Hg, and
  • a diastolic pressure thats between 60 mm Hg and less than 80 mm Hg

The American Heart Association considers blood pressure to be within the normal range when both your systolic and diastolic numbers are in these ranges.

If youre in the normal range, no medical intervention is needed. However, its important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and moderate weight to help prevent high blood pressure from developing.

You may need to be even more mindful of your lifestyle if high blood pressure runs in your family.

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Diagnosing High Or Low Blood Pressure

Only one of your numbers needs to be higher than it should be to be diagnosed with high blood pressure, and only one needs to be lower than it should be to be diagnosed with low blood pressure.

So if your top number is over 140 or the bottom number is over 90, you may be diagnosed with , regardless of the other number. If your top number is under 90 or your bottom number is under 60, you may be diagnosed with . Use the to see where your numbers sit.

If your top number is consistently higher than 140mmHg, but the bottom number is healthy – this is known as Isolated Systolic Hypertension. If the bottom number is consistently higher than 90mmHg but the top number is healthy – this is known as Isolated Diastolic Hypertension.

Making sure your readings arent a one-off

A single high reading doesnt necessarily mean you have high blood pressure, as many things can affect your blood pressure throughout the day, such as the temperature, when you last ate, and if youre feeling stressed.

Your doctor or nurse will probably want to measure your blood pressure a number of times over a few weeks to make sure the reading wasnt just a one off and that your blood pressure stays high over time.

Read about how , getting a , the you might have if you have a high blood pressure reading, and .

Read more

Find out why systolic blood pressure is the most important when it comes to keeping an eye on your numbers.

Checking Blood Pressure At Home

How to measure your own blood pressure

Keeping track of blood pressure at home is important for many people, especially if you have high blood pressure. This helps you and your doctor find out if your treatment is working.

Your doctor may also suggest that you check your pressure at home if they think you may have “white coat hypertension.” It’s a real condition. The stress of being in a doctor’s office raises your blood pressure, but when you’re home, it’s normal.

Ask your doctor to recommend an easy-to-use home blood pressure monitor. Make sure the cuff fits properly. If your arm is too big for the cuff, the reading may be higher than your blood pressure really is. Ask your doctor for a larger cuff or make sure you buy a home monitor with a cuff that fits you.

You also can use a wrist blood pressure monitor, but they often aren’t as accurate. Follow the directions that come with the device to make sure you are using it correctly.

No matter which type of blood pressure monitor you have, it’s a good idea to take it to your doctor’s office. You can compare its reading to the numbers your doctor gets. Avoid caffeine, cigarettes, and exercise for at least 30 minutes before the test.

When you take your blood pressure at home, sit up straight in a chair and put both feet on the floor. Ask your doctor or nurse to show you the right way to position your arm so you get accurate readings.

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