How To Properly Interpret Blood Pressure Levels
Because blood pressure is different for every person, there are no specific limits except for excessively high blood pressure values for when it is advisable to see a doctor. However, if the levels rise excessively or the person has symptoms such as shortness of breath, sensations of pressure in the chest, dizziness, or nausea, they should seek medical attention immediately.
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What Is Normal Blood Pressure According To Age
Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is produced primarily by the contraction of the heart muscle. Its measurement is recorded by two numbers. The first is measured after the heart contracts and is highest. The second is measured before the heart contracts and the lowest. A blood pressure cuff is used to measure the pressure. Elevation of blood pressure is called “hypertension“.
The chart shows normal blood pressure according to age both male and female. Diastolic blood pressure and Systolic Blood Pressure are included in the chart.
Normal Blood Pressure By Age
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Being overweight is a risk factor for having high blood pressure, and your risk increases further if you are obese.
There are two ways to check if you are overweight:
- Body Mass Index – This is your weight in kilograms divided by your height in metres squared. In the UK, people with a BMI of between 25 to 30 are overweight, and those with an index above 30 are classed as obese. People with a BMI of 40 or more are morbidly obese.
- Waist size – Using a measuring tape place the tape round your waist between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hip bone. The table below indicates how much your health might be at risk, your ethnicity should also be taken into account.
|Over 80 cm|
The best way to tackle obesity is by reducing the amount of calories that you eat, and taking regular exercise. Your GP can provide you with further information and advice on how you can do this.
More about having a healthy weight
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Know Your Numbers: Blood Pressure
Knowing and understanding key heart numbers blood pressure, cholesterol and heart rate, along with your family history allow you and your health care team to determine your risk for developing heart and cardiovascular disease. Knowing your risk is critical to preventing heart disease and for taking steps to improve your overall heart health.
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.
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How Do I Know If I Have High Blood Pressure
Theres only one way to know if you have high blood pressure: Have a doctor or other health professional measure it. Measuring your blood pressure is quick and painless.
Talk with your health care team about regularly measuring your blood pressure at home, also called self-measured blood pressure monitoring.
High blood pressure is called the silent killer because it usually has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it.
Reading A Blood Pressure Chart
Your BP monitor will display two numbers. The first number is systolic blood pressure . The second number is diastolic blood pressure .
In Canada, the ideal or low-risk systolic pressure is 120 or less. By contrast, the optimal diastolic blood pressure is 80 or less. So, if your BP reading is 120/80 or 117/78, you have normal blood pressure levels.
Mean Diastolic Blood Pressure For Special Care And Routine Care At Entry And After 5
Concurrent with the completion of the HDFP, Stewart published results from a similar trial in 169 subjects with uncomplicated hypertension who were followed for a mean of 6.25 years. This study reported no differences in DBP or in risk factors for coronary heart disease between patients who had experienced ischemic heart disease events and those who had not. However, patients whose DBP was reduced to < 90 mm Hg had five times the rate of MI as those patients whose final DBP was 100 to 109 mm Hg . About 8 years later, another study by Cruickshank et al demonstrated that in patients with evidence of cardiac ischemia at baseline, the optimal blood pressure to minimize the risk of MI was between 85 and 90 mm Hg. With treatment to a higher or lower DBP, the risk of MI increased . This has been called the J-shaped curve and was found in this study only in subjects with evidence of ischemic heart disease. This phenomenon suggests that patients, at least those with cardiac ischemia, could be at risk of overtreatment with antihypertensive drugs. Because the coronary arteries are perfused during diastole, lowering DBP too far could be detrimental if coronary artery disease is present.
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.
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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.
What Does It Mean To Have High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension is a medical condition where your blood pressure numbers are consistently above normal.
However, your blood pressure naturally rises and falls throughout the day. It could go up in the doctor’s office if you have “white coat hypertension” or anxiety around medical professionals. Or you could have “masked hypertension” if your blood pressure is normal during a checkup but becomes higher later at work or home. That’s why to confirm a diagnosis of elevated blood pressure, yours will need to be measured with a blood pressure cuff multiple times under controlled conditions, says Dr. Lam.
A doctor can detect and treat high blood pressure depending on which stage you’re in, per the AHA. Here’s what each stage means:
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When To Check Blood Pressure
- If your blood pressure is normal , get it checked every year, or more often as your doctor suggests.
- If your blood pressure is elevated a systolic blood pressure between 120 and 129 or diastolic blood pressure of less than 80 your doctor will probably want to check it every 3-6 months. They will probably recommend lifestyle changes like more exercise and a better diet.
- If you have stage 1 hypertension 130-139 over 89-90 the doctor might suggest lifestyle changes and see you again in 3-6 months. Or they could tell you to make the changes and give you medication, then recheck your condition in a month. It depends on what other health conditions or risk factors you have.
- If you have stage 2 hypertension 140/90 or higher youâll likely get medication. Youll also need to make lifestyle changes and see the doctor again in a month.
Do I Have High Blood Pressure
Anyone can have high blood pressure. Some medical conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, kidney disease, and thyroid problems, can cause high blood pressure. Some people have a greater chance of having it because of things they can’t change. These are:
- Age. The chance of having high blood pressure increases as you get older, especially isolated systolic hypertension.
- Gender. Before age 55, men have a greater chance of having high blood pressure. Women are more likely to have high blood pressure after menopause.
- Family history. High blood pressure tends to run in some families.
- Race. African Americans are at increased risk for high blood pressure.
High blood pressure often has no signs or symptoms, but routine checks of your blood pressure will help detect increasing levels. If your blood pressure reading is high at two or more check-ups, the doctor may also ask you to measure your blood pressure at home.
There are important considerations for older adults in deciding whether to start treatment for high blood pressure if it is above 130/80, including other health conditions and overall fitness. Your doctor may work with you to find a blood pressure target that is best for your well-being and may suggest exercise, changes in your diet, and medications.
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More Than Blood Pressure
The new guidelines have other changes, too. First, they don’t offer different recommendations for people younger or older than age 65. “This is because the SPRINT study looked at all patients regardless of age and didn’t break down groups above or below a certain age,” says Dr. Conlin.
The guidelines also redefined the various categories of hypertension. It eliminated the category of prehypertension, which had been defined as systolic blood pressure of 120 to 139 mm Hg or diastolic pressure of 80 to 89 mm Hg. Instead, people with those readings are now categorized as having either elevated pressure or Stage 1 hypertension .
A reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher is considered Stage 2 hypertension, and anything higher than 180/120 mm Hg is hypertensive crisis.
Habits For Promoting Healthy Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is greatly influenced by lifestyle, so most healthy people can properly manage blood pressure without medical intervention.
Keeping body weight within a normal range, eating a heart-healthy diet, decreasing mental stress and having a regular aerobic exercise routine can have a profound effect on blood pressure, Kazemi said.
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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.
What Causes High Blood Pressure
The cause of high blood pressure, or hypertension, is often unknown. It develops over time and often happens as a result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Occasionally, some people have hypertension caused by an underlying condition, such as kidney disease, adrenal gland tumors or thyroid disorders, says Dr. Wong. Other conditions like pregnancy, diabetes and obesity can also increase your risk.
Some people are susceptible to high blood pressure from certain medications, such as birth control pills, some decongestants and even some over-the-counter pain relievers, says Wong. Illicit drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines may also raise blood pressure.
High blood pressure is extremely common. A 2017 to 2018 survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics found 45.5% of U.S. adults have hypertensionOstchega Y, et al. Hypertension prevalence among adults aged 18 and over: United States, 2017-2018. National Center for Health Statistics. Accessed 7/16/2021. .
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What Can I Do To Prevent Heart Disease
There are many steps you can take to keep your heart healthy.
Try to be more physically active.Talk with your doctor about the type of activities that would be best for you. If possible, aim to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Every day is best. It doesnât have to be done all at once.
Start by doing activities you enjoyÃ¢brisk walking, dancing, bowling, bicycling, or gardening, for example. Avoid spending hours every day sitting.
If you smoke, quit.Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. Smoking adds to the damage to artery walls. Itâs never too late to get some benefit from quitting smoking. Quitting, even in later life, can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer over time.
Follow a heart-healthy diet. Choose foods that are low in trans and saturated fats, added sugars, and salt. As we get older, we become more sensitive to salt, which can cause swelling in the legs and feet. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and foods high in fiber, like those made from whole grains. Get more information on healthy eating from NIA. You also can find information on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension eating plan and the U.S. Department of Agricultureâs Food Patterns.
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How Is Blood Pressure Measured
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury and is given as 2 figures:
- systolic pressure the pressure when your heart pushes blood out
- diastolic pressure the pressure when your heart rests between beats
For example, if your blood pressure is â140 over 90â or 140/90mmHg, it means you have a systolic pressure of 140mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 90mmHg.
As a general guide:
- ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg
- high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher
- low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower
What Is A Normal Blood Pressure Reading
Do you know what your blood pressure reading should be?
Blood pressure is the force at which your heart pumps blood around the body and is recorded with 2 numbers. The higher of the numbers is an indication of when the heart is pumping the lower number is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels. Its widely publicised that high and low blood pressure can induce health problems, but what about healthy blood pressure?
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What Is The Recommended Blood Pressure Range For People With Diabetes
Its important to keep your blood pressure within a healthy range. This reduces your chances of your body developing further health complications.
Blood pressure should be below 140/80mmHg for people with diabetes or below 130/80mmHg if you have kidney or eye disease or any condition that affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain. But it is important to speak to your healthcare team about your individual target.
Whilst you may not have any symptoms of high blood pressure, it can be harmful to your health if left untreated. This is due to the increased pressure placed on your heart, eyes, kidneys and other organs.
As weve said previously, heart attack or stroke are some of the conditions your body becomes more vulnerable to with high blood pressure. Other conditions you become more at risk of include:
- Cardiovascular dementia
- Heart failure
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