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What Is Standard Blood Pressure

What If Lifestyle Changes Dont Help Lower My Blood Pressure

What is a Normal Blood Pressure Reading?

If diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes dont work to lower your blood pressure, your healthcare provider prescribe hypertension medications. Your provider will take into account these drugs effect on other conditions you may have, such as heart or kidney disease, and other drugs youre taking.

You might need to take hypertension medicine from now on. Be sure to follow your providers dosing directions exactly.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/20/2020.

References

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
  • Vasodilators

How To Control Blood Pressure

There are many things you can do to manage your blood pressure. Healthy eating, physical activity, managing weight and stress, and taking your medications as prescribed can all help.

Healthy eating

With time, your taste buds will adjust to the natural flavours of food without added salt.

Talk to a registered dietitian to learn more about healthy eating.

Healthy eating tips

Vegetables and fruits more often Limit processed, smoked and cured foods
Low-fat dairy products Adding salt at the table and use a minimum amount in cooking
Legumes more often Seasonings that contain the words salt or sodium, such as garlic salt, celery salt, Kosher salt, sea salt or monosodium glutamate
Whole grains, such as whole-wheat breads, cereal, pasta and brown rice Limit frozen convenience foods and fast-food restaurant meals
Lean meats and poultry without added salt
To flavour your foods with herbs, spices, fresh garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon or vinegar instead of salt
To eat fish at least twice a week
Unsalted or no added salt items

Physical activity

Build physical activity into your day. Regular physical activity can improve blood pressure and heart health. Aim for 150 minutes of physical activity per week.

Check with your health-care team about the exercise routine that is suitable for you. Both aerobic and resistance exercises are recommended for people with diabetes.

Be a non-smoker

Manage stress

Limit alcohol intake

Medication

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Home Blood Pressure Monitoring Research

The Annals of Internal Medicine included a systematic review of home blood pressure monitoring. This study provided data that showed the association between home blood pressure monitoring and the prediction of cardiovascular events or mortality.

Notably, there are fewer studies that link home blood pressure monitoring to cardiovascular outcomes or mortality when compared to ABPM. Due to the lack of evidence linking home blood pressure monitoring to cardiovascular outcome and mortality, the USPSTF only recommends home blood pressure monitoring when ABPM is not available.

What Does A Blood Pressure Reading Look Like

blood pressure standard levels

When you have your blood pressure measured, you will be given two numbers, a top number and a bottom number.

  • Systolic blood pressure. This is the first, or top, number. This is the highest level your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats, forcing blood around your body.
  • Diastolic blood pressure. The second number, or bottom number, is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart relaxes between beats.

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury . If the first number is 120 and the second number is 80, this would be written as 120/80mmHg, and youd call it 120 over 80.

This video explains more about systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

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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.

Normal Blood Pressure By Age

As you age, your body goes through many changes that can put you at risk for other conditions. If youre over 50, having a higher than usual systolic pressure might increase your risk of developing heart disease.Systolic blood pressure tends to increase steadily over time due to stiff arteries, a build-up of plaque, and a higher rate of cardiac and vascular disease.This means older adults need to be even more vigilant about monitoring their blood pressure and practicing heart-healthy self-care.

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What Is Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force applied by the blood over the inner walls of the arteries. Although the average blood pressure for a person remains constant, it shows minor fluctuations throughout the daydeclining while relaxing and momentarily increasing while being excited or under stress. An increase in the resting blood pressure can scar, stiffen, or harden the arteries.

Blood pressure is written as systolic and diastolic values. Hence, BP 120/80 mm Hg means 120 is the systolic number, and 80 is the diastolic number.

How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed

What is normal blood pressure?

To figure out your blood pressure rate, your health care provider takes blood pressure readings at different times. You need more than 1 reading because blood pressure changes depending on what you are doing and varies during the day. For example, your blood pressure can increase when you are nervous or in a hurry.

If your blood pressure is high while with your health care provider but normal otherwise, you may just be nervous. This effect is common. Even people already being treated for high blood pressure go through this.

What matters is what happens to your blood pressure outside your health care providers office. If you have high blood pressure, you should use a home blood pressure monitor. Ask your health care provider how to use the monitor correctly.

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Heart Rate And Exercise

In discussions about high blood pressure, you will often see heart rate mentioned in relation to exercise. Your target heart rate is based on age and can help you monitor the intensity of your exercise.

  • If you measure your heart rate before, during and after physical activity, youll notice it will increase over the course of the exercise.
  • The greater the intensity of the exercise, the more your heart rate will increase.
  • When you stop exercising, your heart rate does not immediately return to your normal heart rate.
  • The more fit you are, the sooner your heart rate will return to normal.

Learn more:

Blood Pressure Thats Too Low

Low blood pressure is known as hypotension. In adults, a blood pressure reading of 90/60 mm Hg or below is often considered hypotension. This can be dangerous because blood pressure that is too low doesnt supply your body and heart with enough oxygenated blood.

Some potential causes of hypotension can include:

  • heart problems

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What Are The Blood Pressure Limits For The Dot Physical What If My Blood Pressure Is Too High

  • Your blood pressure needs to be under 140/90.
  • Stage 1 hypertension , blood pressure between 140/90 – 159/99: 1-year medical certificate, must be renewed every 12 months.
  • Stage 2 hypertension , blood pressure between 160/100 – 179/109: 3 month medical certification. Full disqualification if not under control after 3 months, until controlled. Will be required to renew every 12 months.
  • Stage 3 hypertension, blood pressure at or over 180/110: Automatic disqualification, 6 month certification once blood pressure is under control, must be renewed every 6 months.
  • Blood pressure can be controlled with or without medication.
  • A New Definition Of High Blood Pressure

    Blood Pressure Chart and 5 keys to healthy Blood Pressure

    The guidelines, in a nutshell, state that normal blood pressure is under 120/80, whereas up until Monday, normal was under 140/90.

    Now, elevated blood pressure is systolic blood pressure between 120 and 129. That used to be a vague category called “prehypertension.”

    Stage 1 high blood pressure is now between 130 and 139 systolic or between 80 and 89 diastolic .

    Stage 2 high blood pressure is now over 140 systolic or 90 diastolic.

    The measurements must have been obtained from at least two careful readings on at least two different occasions. What does careful mean? The guidelines provide a six-step tutorial on how, exactly, to correctly measure a blood pressure, which, admittedly, is sorely needed. My patients often have their first blood pressure taken immediately after they have rushed in through downtown traffic, as theyre sipping a large caffeinated beverage. While we always knew this could result in a falsely elevated measurement, it is now officially poor clinical technique resulting in an invalid reading.

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    Charted Blood Pressure Ranges

    The following table provides a rough guide to understanding blood pressure as you age. Start by taking your blood pressure to find your systolic & diastolic pressure. Then, locate your age range in the right-hand column to see where your readings fall.

    Age

    *Remember to always consult with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan when it comes to your blood pressure readings.

    Medications For High Blood Pressure

    There is a large variety of medicines available to lower and manage high blood pressure. Your doctor may call them antihypertensives, .

    These medications do not cure high blood pressure, but they do help manage it. Once you start to take medicines to manage your blood pressure, you may need to take them for the rest of your life. However, the dose of these medicines may change over time.

    If you need to take medication, your doctor will advise you on the correct type and dose. Two or more different medications are often needed to manage blood pressure.

    Make sure you take your medicines regularly. Some things that may help you remember to take them include:

    • Building them into your daily routine by taking them at the same time each day.
    • Keeping them somewhere that will remind you such as next to your alarm, or with your coffee or tea.
    • Using a weekly pill box.
    • Asking a family member or friend to remind you.
    • Always carrying a list of your medicines and their doses with you.
    • Entering a daily alarm in your mobile phone or download an app to remind you.

    Take any blood pressure medicine exactly as prescribed. Dont stop or change your medicine, unless your doctor advises you to.

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    Measuring Your Blood Pressure

    Healthcare professionals use a stethoscope and a manual sphygmomanometer to measure your blood pressure. Typically they take the reading above your elbow. The sphygmomanometer has a bladder, cuff, bulb, and a gauge. When the bulb is pumped it inflates the bladder inside the cuff, which is wrapped around your arm. This inflation will stop the blood flow in your arteries.

    The stethoscope is used to listen for sound of the heartbeat, and no sound indicates that there is no flow. As the pressure is released from the bladder, you will hear the sound of the blood flowing again. That point becomes your blood pressure systolic reading. The diastolic reading is when you hear no sound again, which means that the blood flow is back to normal.

    What Is High Blood Pressure

    What is a normal blood pressure reading?

    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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    High Blood Pressure Categories

    You can divide high blood pressure into five categories, according to guidelines from the American College of Cardiology:

    • Normal: Normal blood pressure in adults is any blood pressure below 120/80.
    • Elevated: In adults, elevated blood pressure is a systolic reading of 120-129 and a diastolic reading below 80.
    • Hypertension stage I: This stage includes blood pressures ranges of 130-139 or 80-89 .
    • Hypertension stage II: This stage includes blood pressures ranges above 140 or above 90 .
    • Hypertensive crisis: Severely elevated blood pressure is defined as greater than 180 and/or 120 and associated with new or worsening organ damage.

    New Recommendations On Monitoring Blood Pressure

    The new guidelines also encourage additional monitoring, using a wearable digital monitor that continually takes blood pressure readings as you go about your life, or checked with your own cuff at home. This additional monitoring can help to tease out masked hypertension or white coat hypertension . There are clear, helpful directions for setting patients up with a home blood pressure monitor, including a recommendation to give people specific instructions on when not to check blood pressure and how to take a measurement correctly . The home blood pressure cuff should first be validated .

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    High Blood Pressure And Daily Activity

    Check with your doctor before starting a new activity or increasing your level or intensity. Be active safely. Build up your levels of activity gradually.

    Try to do at least 30 to 45 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. This can be done in bouts of 10 minutes or longer, if that is more convenient.

    Physical activity is any form of bodily movement performed by our large muscle groups. Moderate-intensity physical activity , such as brisk walking or cycling, is enough to provide health benefits.

    Walking is a great activity for all ages. You may like to join one of the Heart Foundations community walking groups.

    Some types of exercises, such as body presses and lifting heavy weights, can raise your blood pressure. Avoid these if you have high blood pressure.

    What Are The Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure

    Blood pressure numbers explained

    The only way you can know for sure if you have high blood pressure is by having a nurse or doctor measure it. Monitoring your blood pressure at home also helps keep your blood pressure in check. Most often, high blood pressure is “silent,” meaning it has no other signs to warn you, according to the CDC.

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    Can I Be A Truck Driver With High Blood Pressure

    Drivers with hypertension are NOT automatically disqualified from driving. Recent changes to the FMCSA blood pressure guidelines means that drivers with high BP can still be medically certified, but for a shorter time period depending on the severity of their hypertension, as long as their blood pressure is managed, with or without medication, to be at or under 140/90. See: Hypertension.

    What Is Blood Pressure And How Is It Measured

    The heart supplies the organs and tissues of the body with blood. With every beat, it pumps blood into the large blood vessels of the circulatory system. As the blood moves around the body, it puts pressure on the walls of the vessels. Blood pressure readings are made up of two values:

    • Systolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart beats while the heart muscle is contracting and pumping oxygen-rich blood into the blood vessels.
    • Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure on the blood vessels when the heart muscle relaxes. The diastolic pressure is always lower than the systolic pressure.

    Blood pressure is measured in units of millimeters of mercury . The readings are always given in pairs, with the upper value first, followed by the lower value.

    So someone who has a reading of 132/88 mmHg has a

    • systolic blood pressure of 132 mmHg, and a
    • diastolic blood pressure of 88 mmHg.

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    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.

    Does High Blood Pressure Increase Heart Rate

    Intensive Versus Standard Blood Pressure Control: Understanding The SPRINT Trial

    Heart rate and blood pressure do not necessarily increase at the same rate. A rising heart rate does not cause your blood pressure to increase at the same rate. Even though your heart is beating more times a minute, healthy blood vessels dilate to allow more blood to flow through more easily. When you exercise, your heart speeds up so more blood can reach your muscles. It may be possible for your heart rate to double safely, while your blood pressure may respond by only increasing a modest amount.

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