Diastolic Vs Systolic Blood Pressure
Diastolic pressure occurs whenever the heart relaxes, and blood fills it up. Systolic pressure occurs when the heart contracts and the blood gets pushed out of the heart.
According to health experts, both types of blood pressure are equal in importance. However, higher SBPs appear to come with higher risks of cardiovascular disease.
However, diastolic blood pressures can also go up due to a high-sodium diet. It also tends to be higher in patients with obesity and high alcohol consumption. Having a sedentary lifestyle and some types of medications can also make the DBP go up.
Aside from your SBP and DBP, you should also keep track of your pulse pressure.
Your pulse pressure is the actual difference between your SBP and DBP. So if your BP reading is 120/80, your pulse pressure is 40. Health experts say that the normal pulse pressure is 40 mmHg.
High Blood Pressure And Older Adults
On this page:
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major health problem that is common in older adults. Your bodys network of blood vessels, known as the vascular system, changes with age. Arteries get stiffer, causing blood pressure to go up. This can be true even for people who have heart-healthy habits and feel just fine. High blood pressure, sometimes called “the silent killer,” often does not cause signs of illness that you can see or feel. Though it affects nearly half of all adults, many may not even be aware they have it.
If high blood pressure isn’t controlled with lifestyle changes and medication, it can lead to serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease such as heart disease and stroke, vascular dementia, eye problems, and kidney disease. The good news is that blood pressure can be controlled in most people.
When To Call Your Doctor
The risks of both high and low blood pressure make monitoring your blood pressure at home essential to your overall health and well-being. Both Dr. Wong and Dr. Desai recommend calling your healthcare provider if your self-monitored blood pressure readings are greater than 180/120 mmHgeven if you have no other symptoms.
You should call 911 if these blood pressure readings are associated with symptoms of organ damage, such as headache, vision changes, weakness, numbness, chest pain or shortness of breath, says Dr. Wong.
Recommended Reading: Does Claritin Cause High Blood Pressure
Elevated Systolic Blood Pressure
An elevated blood pressure reading is when systolic blood pressure is between 120-129 mmHg and diastolic is less than 80 mmHg.
If systolic blood pressure is elevated, the risk of developing high blood pressure is greater. For consistent readings in this range a doctor will typically recommend the following:
- Recommend lifestyle changes.
- Attend scheduled physician visits.
Side Effects Of Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure may not be discussed as often as high blood pressure, but it should be addressed, as prolonged low blood pressure can negatively affect your organs.
A certain amount of blood pressure is needed to maintain blood flow to the organs, says Dr. Wong. The blood supplies oxygen and nutrients to these organs. If the blood pressure is too low, an adequate blood supply cannot get to these organs.
If left untreated, low blood pressure can increase your risk of fainting, heart attack and organ damage, adds Dr. Desai.
Also Check: Heart Attack With Low Blood Pressure
Systolic Blood Pressure Facts
- Both blood pressure numbers are important and either number, including systolic, can be used as a diagnosis for high blood pressure.
- For people aged 50 or older, doctors tend to monitor systolic blood pressure more closely.
- High systolic blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
- Isolated systolic hypertension is the most common form of high blood pressure 1.
- Its more typical for the elderly to have high systolic blood pressure but younger people can get it too.
Complications Of High Blood Pressure
Untreated or poorly managed high blood pressure can cause serious and even life threatening issues. It can damage your blood vessels as well as your organs. The longer your hypertension goes untreated, the more it can damage your body and affect your health.
Potential complications of high blood pressure include:
Recommended Reading: High Blood Pressure Muscle Pain
How Do Health Care Professionals Measure My Blood Pressure
First, a health care professional wraps an inflatable cuff around your arm. The health care professional then inflates the cuff, which gently tightens on your arm. The cuff has a gauge on it that will measure your blood pressure.
The health care professional will slowly let air out of the cuff while listening to your pulse with a stethoscope and watching the gauge. This process is quick and painless. If using a digital or automatic blood pressure cuff, the health care professional will not need to use a stethoscope.
The gauge uses a unit of measurement called millimeters of mercury to measure the pressure in your blood vessels.
If you have high blood pressure, talk to your health care team about steps to take to control your blood pressure to lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Use this list of questions to ask your health care team pdf icon to help you manage your blood pressure.
Normal Systolic Blood Pressure
A normal systolic blood pressure reading is less than 120 mmHg and a diastolic number less than 80 mmHg indicates normal blood pressure 2.
For consistent blood pressure readings in this range, a doctor will typically suggest the following:
- Follow a heart healthy diet.
- Engage in regular physical activity.
- Continue to avoid unhealthy habits like excess alcohol or smoking.
- Monitor blood pressure readings.
- Attend regular physicals.
I explain how and why normal blood pressure is no longer 120/80 in my article, Normal Blood Pressure Surprisingly Its Not 120 Over 80.
Read Also: High Blood Pressure Side Effect
Why Does Blood Pressure Increase With Age
Doctors dont completely understand why blood pressure tends to rise with age. Blood pressure is the force of blood as it flows through the arteries. As you age, your arteries may narrow and become stiff. Narrow arteries lead to an increase in blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage the walls of the arteries and the heart itself.
In some cases, high blood pressure could be a result of lifestyle, the environment, certain medications, or other conditions such as sleep apnea, kidney disease, or thyroid problems.
What You Should Know About Fluctuating Blood Pressure In The Elderly
As you help monitor your loved ones blood pressure, keep in mind that numbers fluctuate slightly throughout the day thats normal. Several factors influence your blood pressure numbers. For example, your blood pressure may be lower if youre resting and higher if youre stressed. This means you may have a normal reading in the morning and an elevated number in the afternoon.
If youre concerned about excessive fluctuation in your loved ones blood pressure numbers:
- Read instructions to ensure youre using your home blood pressure monitor equipment correctly. Variations in how you measure your loved ones blood pressure can result in different readings.
- Bring your home monitor to your next doctors appointment to compare readings.
- Be aware of white coat hypertension. In some cases, a persons blood pressure may be high at a doctors office but normal at home. This could be attributed to the stress related to a doctors appointment.
Your loved ones doctor may want you to keep a blood pressure diary with several readings a day for a couple of weeks to monitor any variations.
Also Check: Heart Attack Symptoms Low Blood Pressure
What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean
Blood pressure is measured using two numbers:
The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.
If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say, 120 over 80, or write, 120/80 mmHg.
Tips For Taking Blood Pressure Medication
Untreated high blood pressure can increase your risk of serious health problems. If your doctor prescribes medication to lower your blood pressure, remember:
- If you take blood pressure medication and your blood pressure goes down, it means medication and lifestyle changes are working. If another doctor asks if you have high blood pressure, the answer is, “Yes, but it is being treated.”
- Healthy lifestyle changes may help lower the dosage you need.
- Get up slowly from a seated or lying position and stand for a bit before walking. This lets your blood pressure adjust before walking to prevent lightheadedness and falls.
- Tell your doctor about all the drugs you take. Don’t forget to mention over-the-counter drugs, including vitamins and supplements. They may affect your blood pressure. They also can change how well your blood pressure medication works.
- Blood pressure medication should be taken at the same time each day as part of your daily routine. For example, take it in the morning with breakfast or in the evening before brushing your teeth. If you miss a dose, do not double the dose the next day.
- Remember to refill your medication before you run out and bring it with you when traveling. Its important to keep taking your medication unless your doctor tells you to stop.
- Before having surgery, ask your doctor if you should take your blood pressure medication on the day of your operation.
Don’t Miss: Can Apple Watch Tell Your Blood Pressure
What Can Parents Do
Ask your doctor to measure your childs blood pressure starting at age 3. Helping children keep a healthy weight, eat nutritious foods, and get regular physical activity can lower their blood pressure and reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease later in life. Try these tips to help your child keep a healthy weight and normal blood pressure:
Food and Drinks
- Offer nutritious, lower-calorie foods such as fruits and vegetablesexternal icon in place of foods high in added sugars and solid fats. Try serving more fruits and vegetables at meals and as snacks.
- Provide foods that are low in sodium . Sodium raises blood pressure. Nearly 9 in 10 U.S. children eat more sodium than is recommended. Learn more about sodium.
- Make sure water is always available as a no-calorie alternative to sugary drinks, and limit juice.
- Help your child get the recommended amount of physical activity each day. Choose from many age-appropriate activities.
- Be aware of your childs growth. Learn how obesity is measured in children, and use CDCs Child and Teen BMI Calculator to screen your child for potential weight issues.
- Be a role model! Eat healthy meals and snacks, and get the right amount of physical activity every day.
- Help shape a healthy school environment using CDCs Parents for Healthy Schools resources.
Rising Numbers Can Be Dangerous
“We view a top number of 180 or more over anything over 120 as a possible sign of a ‘hypertensive crisis,’ and at that point we certainly have to be very concerned,” Dr. Lawrence says.
As Mayo Clinic researchers point out, blood pressure readings at that level threaten the integrity of blood vessels, which can become chronically inflamed. Once that happens, the vessels can start to leak fluid or blood, undermining the heart’s ability to effectively pump blood throughout the body.
The result could very well be a stroke or heart attack. Short of that, in some instances, a person in a state of hypertensive crisis may experience symptoms, including severe chest pain or headache, nausea, shortness of breath or even a seizure, explains Mayo Clinic. However, there’s no guarantee that any noticeable symptoms will arise.
The takeaway: Make blood pressure screenings part of your health care routine. The results can be literally life-saving.
Read Also: Does Hot Sauce Cause High Blood Pressure
What Do The Blood Pressure Numbers Mean
When blood pressure is measured, the result is given as two numbers, such as 120/80. The first number is the amount of force used when the heart beats . The second number is the pressure in the arteries between heart beats . Pressures are measured in millimeters of mercury . High blood pressure is defined as pressures above 140/90 for a period of time. Prehypertension is defined as a systolic pressure from 120139 millimeters of mercury or a diastolic pressure from 8089 mm Hg. Because blood pressure changes often, your health care provider will check it on several different days before deciding whether your blood pressure is too high. Blood pressure is considered high when it is elevated above 140/90 for a period of time. For people with chronic kidney disease, the recommended level is below 130/80.
What Should I Do If I Have High Blood Pressure
If your healthcare provider has diagnosed you with high blood pressure, they will talk with you about your recommended blood pressure target or goal. They may suggest that you:
- Check your blood pressure regularly with a home blood pressure monitor. These are automated electronic monitors and are available at most pharmacies or online.
- Quit smoking and/or using tobacco products.
- Work on controlling anger and managing stress.
Don’t Miss: Claritin D And High Blood Pressure
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
The Blood Pressure Chart
Once you know your numbers, you can use the blood pressure chart to see what they mean and if your blood pressure is in the healthy range. The chart is suitable for adults of any age, as the cut-off point for diagnosing high blood pressure doesnt change with age.
How to use the blood pressure chart
Simply find your top number on the left side of the chart and your bottom number on the bottom. Where the two lines meet is your blood pressure.
Get ready for Christmas early with our range of beautiful cards, wrapping paper and gifts including personalised notebooks. Whether you’re looking for something traditional or modern, we’re sure you will find something you love. Shop now at Care Cards who will post the items on our behalf. 25% goes to fund our life-saving work.
You May Like: Calibrating Blood Pressure Monitor Omron
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.
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 .
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.
Recommended Reading: High Blood Pressure Mayo