How Can I Control My Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is very common in older people. As we age, our vascular system changes. Arteries get stiffer, so blood pressure goes up. This is true even for people who have heart-healthy habits. The good news is that blood pressure can be controlled in most people.
There are many lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of high blood pressure:
If these lifestyle changes don’t lower your blood pressure to a safe level, your doctor will also prescribe medicine. You may try several kinds or combinations of medicines before finding a plan that works best for you. Medicine can control your blood pressure, but it can’t cure it. You will likely need to take medicine for the rest of your life. Plan with your doctor how to manage your blood pressure.
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Verywell Health / Chloe Jeong
Maintaining a healthy blood pressure is key to staying healthy. Therefore, monitoring yours on a regular basis can be a life-saver, according to Joyce M. Oen-Hsiao, MD, director of the cardiac rehabilitation program and medical director of the cardiac telemetry unit at the Yale New Haven Hospitals Heart and Vascular Center. Long-standing high blood pressure can cause damage to the small vessels in your body and also cause the heart to thicken and stiffen, she explains. Checking your blood pressure can help you and your doctor figure out if you need medications or that your medications are working.”
Here are the best blood pressure monitors on the market today.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure By Age
Blood pressure ranges for adults are:
- High: Systolic of 130 or above and/or diastolic of 80 or above
- High Blood Pressure Stage 1: Systolic of 130-139 or diastolic of 80-89
- High Blood Pressure Stage 2: Systolic of 140 or higher or diastolic 90 or higher
The normal Blood Pressure Ranges for Adults Chart
|Blood Pressure Category|
|Higher than 120|
The normal blood pressure for adolescents 13 years or older is less than 120/80 mmHg.
In younger children, the normal range for blood pressure is determined by the child’s sex, age, and height. The normal range is expressed as a percentile, similar to charts used to track children’s growth.
Blood pressure is separated into three categories based upon the child’s blood pressure percentile:
The normal blood pressure range for Children Chart
|Blood Pressure Category|
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Signs And Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure may not have any symptoms and so hypertension has been labeled “the silent killer.” Longstanding high blood pressure can lead to multiple complications including heart attack, kidney disease, or stroke.
Some people experience symptoms with their high blood pressure. These symptoms include:
- The Feeling of pulsations in the neck or head
Blood Pressure Chart By Age
A normal blood pressure is important to everyone. Many people have a higher or lower blood pressure, an abnormal blood pressure not only causes discomfort, but can be a risk factor to many severe diseases, including stroke and kidney failure.
Your total blood pressure reading is determined by measuring your systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Systolic BP, the top number, measures the force your heart exerts on the walls of your arteries each time it beats. Diastolic BP, the bottom number, measures the force your heart exerts on the walls of your arteries in between beats. A blood pressure reading is presented as systolic/diastolic, as in 120/80, 120 represents the systolic reading, while 80 represents the diastolic reading. The measurement unit for blood pressure is mm Hg. Below is a blood pressure chart by age.
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What Are The Causes Of High Blood Pressure
Elevated blood pressure increases your risk of chronic high blood pressure as you age. Taking steps to manage your blood pressure helps decrease this risk.
There are also some health conditions that increase your risks of chronic high blood pressure, including obesity and diabetes. Other causes include:
- Genetics/family history
- Lack of exercise
- Alcohol or tobacco abuse
As adults age, their odds of high blood pressure increase, with 90% of Americans forecasted to develop high blood pressure in their lifetimes. Black people tend to develop high blood pressure more often and earlier in life compared to white people. Hispanics, Asians, American Indians, and Pacific Islanders also stand an increased risk of high blood pressure compared to other ethnicities.
What Does Blood Pressure Refer To
Blood pressure refers to the force exerted by circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels and constitutes one of the bodies principal vital signs. The pressure of the circulating blood as blood moves through your arteries, arterioles, capillaries, and veins. The term blood pressure generally refers to your arterial pressure, i.e., the pressure in the larger arteries, arteries being the blood vessels which take blood away from the heart.
Blood pressure is always given as two numbers
- Systolic Pressure
- Diastolic Pressure
When the measurements are written, both are written as one above, or before, the other with the systolic being the first number, for example 120/75 .
Blood pressure measurement is NOT the same as your heart rate or maximum heart rate measurement. Check what your heart rate for your age should be. You can calculate your predicted maximum heart rate by using the calculation: 220 – = Age Predicted Maximum Heart Rate – or see our Target Heart Rate Calculator and Chart.
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Maintain A Healthy Weight
Carrying excess weight can be dangerous to your heart health, as it requires your arteries to work harder. Set goals and track progress with a simple at home scale .
If you are overweight, If youre overweight, talk to your doctor about a weight loss regimen. Losing as little as 5 pounds can make a difference!
Being overweight or obese is also a risk factor for heart disease and type 2 diabetes, two conditions associated with high blood pressure.
What If Just The First Blood Pressure Number Is High
For older people, often the first number is 130 or higher, but the second number is less than 80. This problem is called isolated systolic hypertension, which is due to age-related stiffening of the major arteries. It is the most common form of high blood pressure in older people and can lead to serious health problems in addition to shortness of breath during light physical activity, lightheadedness upon standing too fast, and falls. Isolated systolic hypertension is treated in the same way as regular high blood pressure but may require more than one type of blood pressure medication. If your doctor determines that your systolic pressure is above a normal level for your age, ask how you can lower it.
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Hypertension Symptoms And Risks
Risks associated with high blood pressure can become life-threatening if not adequately monitored or addressed .
Most people with high blood pressure, particularly prehypertension and stage 1 hypertension, dont experience any symptoms.
Even at stage 2, hypertension may not cause any noticeable effects. Those who do experience symptoms may notice:
- Recognize lifestyle habits that increase your blood pressure
- Monitor in-between routine doctor visits
- Keep track of blood pressure while on medication
Pediatric Vital Signs Normal Ranges Summary Table:
Values were derived from numerous sources and reflect the most up-to-date guidelines. Normal ranges may include measurements that deviate from these values. Note that the patient’s normal range and clinical condition should always be considered.
* For Newborn infants, BP values vary considerably during the first few weeks of life and the definition of HTN in preterm and term neonates also varies. Data have been compiled on neonatal BP values and the summary table is available. Please note that no alternative data have been developed recently. For further information, please see the following articles:
Dionne, J. M., et al. . “Hypertension in infancy: diagnosis, management, and outcome.” Pediatr Nephrol 27: 17-32.
Dionne, J. M., et al. . “Hypertension Canada’s 2017 Guidelines for the Diagnosis, Assessment, Prevention, and Treatment of Pediatric Hypertension.” Can J Cardiol 33: 577-585.
“Report of the Second Task Force on Blood Pressure Control in Children–1987. Task Force on Blood Pressure Control in Children. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, Maryland.” Pediatrics 79: 1-25.
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Which Number Is More Important
Typically, more attention is given to systolic blood pressure as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50. In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to the increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term buildup of plaque and an increased incidence of cardiac and vascular disease.
However, either an elevated systolic or an elevated diastolic blood pressure reading may be used to make a diagnosis of high blood pressure. According to recent studies, the risk of death from ischemic heart disease and stroke doubles with every 20 mm Hg systolic or 10 mm Hg diastolic increase among people from age 40 to 89.
General Blood Pressure Ranges
The chart below provides a general overview of blood pressure ranges updated to match the new American Heart Association guidelines. Take your blood pressure and identify your systolic & diastolic readings to compare ranges on the chart, OR enter your results in the blood pressure calculator to learn more about causes, symptoms, and treatment for your blood pressure readings
Keep in mind that it is possible for your readings to be affected by other factors like age, medication, & sometimes even gender. Check out the chart below for a breakdown of blood pressure ranges by age.
Remember, your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers – systolic and diastolic – diagnosing high or low blood pressure only requires one of these numbers to be outside of the healthy range.
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Normal Bp Range For Adults By Age
Understanding the normal BP range with age can help the doctor and you to estimate your cardiovascular health. Blood pressure levels can fluctuate significantly from one reading to the next and it is important to remember that just one abnormally high reading does not signify that you have high blood pressure. Doctors usually use an average of multiple blood pressure readings taken over a period of several days to arrive at a diagnosis of high blood pressure.
Your Blood Pressure Numbers And What They Mean
Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.
- Diastolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
Low Systolic Blood Pressure
If the systolic blood pressure is lower than normal, it’s called hypotension. If this low blood pressure is serious enough, it can cause lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting. If it lasts long enough and it isn’t treated, it may cause organs like your kidneys to start shutting down.
Systolic hypotension can occur if the amount of blood in your body becomes too low. This can happen if you are severely dehydrated or you have major bleeding there just isn’t enough blood to push through the body.
Sometimes this low blood pressure happens when you change positions suddenly. You may feel dizzy when you stand up because gravity is pulling blood down toward your feet. This is a common condition called orthostatic hypotension.
Treatment For High Blood Pressure
Specific treatment for high blood pressure will be determined by your child’s doctor based on:
Your child’s age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of the condition
Your child’s tolerance to specific medications, procedures, or treatments
Expectations for the course of the condition
Your opinion or preference
If a secondary cause has been found, such as kidney disease, the underlying disease will be treated. If no cause has been determined, the first treatment approach is lifestyle therapy, including the following:
Increasing physical activity
These interventions can lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, improve the strength of the heart, and lower blood cholesterol. These are all important steps in preventing heart disease as an adult.
Medications to control high blood pressure are only needed in about 1 percent of children with the disorder. Consult your child’s doctor for more information.
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Average Blood Pressure By Age
As you get older, your blood vessels tend to become stiffer and plaque can build up in them, which can raise your blood pressure. If your blood pressure becomes too high, you’re at a greater risk for heart disease, strokes, and more.
In 2015, the average blood pressure worldwide was 127/79 mm Hg in men, and 122/77 mm Hg in women, according to a study analysis published in Lancet.
When researchers for the National Center for Health Statistics looked at average blood pressure in U.S. adults between 2001 and 2008, the average reading was 122/71 mm Hg. The breakout was 124/72 mm Hg for men, and 121/70 mm Hg in women. It rose by age and was significantly higher in Black people.
The researchers found the following breakdown by age, sex, and race or ethnicity:
|Blood Pressure by Age|
As the population ages and life expectancy increases, high blood pressure is becoming more common.
Understanding Blood Pressure Infographic
Having blood pressure outside the normal range puts your health in jeopardy. If its too high, youre at risk of serious medical conditions, including heart attacks and stroke. Blood pressure thats too low can be life-threatening in severe cases.
Regardless, ALWAYS discuss readings and health conditions with your physician to ensure accurate results and the safest actions for your health.
Keep in mind that you can have high blood pressure and not even know it. This silent condition might be doing untold harm to your body. Knowing your numbers is the only way to find out for sure if your blood pressure readings fall within the optimal range, and making smart lifestyle choices is the only way to keep them there!
Stay consistent with your health. Use the infographic below as a reminder and helpful guide to understanding your blood pressure readings. View below or click image for free PDF 🙂
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Discuss Medication With A Doctor
When dealing with high blood pressure readings, it’s necessary to consult with your doctor to find proper ways to manage and prevent hypertension.
Depending on your age, lifestyle, and blood pressure readings, your doctor may recommend medication as part of a treatment program for hypertension.
It’s not clear if medication is beneficial for adults who have prehypertension alone. However, if you have another medical condition along with prehypertension, such as diabetes or kidney disease, your doctor might decide its best to start treatment as early as possible.
Those with stage 1 and stage 2 hypertension may be prescribed one or more of the following drugs:
- ACE inhibitors
High Systolic Blood Pressure
The heart muscle pushes out blood with higher pressure when a person is exercising, under stress, or at similar times when the heart rate is increased. The systolic pressure goes up with it.
In these cases, the increased pressure is normal. However, when the pressure is high while a person is resting, that’s considered high blood pressure.
That’s why it is so important to take your blood pressure during periods of quiet rest to diagnose hypertension, or high blood pressure.
High systolic blood pressure is usually caused by narrowing of the arteries, which makes the heart have to work harder to push blood through.
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