Understanding Blood Pressure What Is It
Your blood pressure reading is a measurement of the pressure your blood applies across your artery walls. Your blood pressure changes a little throughout the day when you relax, your blood pressure lowers, and when you move around or feel stress, your blood pressure increases. But high blood pressure over a long term is associated with serious health risks, including heart, brain, and eye damage. Likewise, chronic low blood pressure sometimes comes with health risks. Fortunately, there are helpful ways to manage both high and low blood pressure.
High Blood Pressure Levels
Nearly half of American adults have hypertension, and only 1 in 4 adults have the condition under control, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Statistics from the World Health Organization reveal that an estimated 1.13 billion people have high blood pressure globally and that its a major cause of premature death.
Having high blood pressure negatively affects the body in many ways. Hypertension causes the heart to work harder than normal, it can damage arteries, enlarge the left ventricle of the heart, and even cause cognitive impairment, strokes, and heart failure. Chronically high blood pressure levels can damage retinas in the eyes, cause liver failure, kidney disease, and sexual dysfunction.
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Causes Of Low Blood Pressure
Any blood pressure level that goes below 90/60 mmHg is considered low. The most common reasons for lowered blood pressure are low blood volume , over treatment of high blood pressure, or taking certain medications that can lower blood pressure, says Susan Besser, MD, a primary care provider at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.
Here are some other common reasons for sudden drops in blood pressure levels and chronic hypotension:
- Certain medications, like heart medicines or depression medications
- Certain health problems like heart disease or thyroid disease
- Trauma that results in blood loss or blood infection
- Extreme changes in body temperature
Some people are more likely to have low blood pressure levels based on their age, sex, and medical history. Here are the top risk factors for getting hypotension:
- Older age
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High blood pressure can drive up your risk of developing serious health conditions, such as coronary heart disease and kidney disease. Lifestyle factors can cause your blood pressure to rise to an unhealthy level. Low blood pressure is less common but it can be just as concerning. How can you tell if your blood pressure is dangerously high?
High blood pressure is often related to lifestyle facts such as excessive drinking smoking, eating fatty foods and being overweight.
Living a sedentary lifestyle and not exercising enough can cause your blood pressure to rise.
High blood pressure is a major issue in the UK it affects around 25percent of all UK adults according to the NHS.
High blood pressure is also known as hypertension.
It can be hard to tell if you have the condition as symptoms only appear if your blood pressure gets extremely high.
Normal Blood Pressure Range For Children By Age And Gender
The normal bp range changes continuously for children throughout childhood, and the blood pressure is lowest in infancy and steadily increases till the child turns 10. Also, it is important to note that the normal BP is different for girls and boys belonging to the same age group.
As mentioned earlier, it is least likely for children to suffer from blood pressure problems unless they have an underlying condition such as a kidney disease or diabetes, and therefore, doctors rarely check the BP in children during their regular checkups.
Determining the normal blood pressure range in children is a little complicated, and it all depends on the size and age of the child. One rule of thumb that doctors use to determine BP troubles in children is that, a child is considered to be suffering from Prehypertension. If he/she has a blood pressure higher than that of 90% of the children of the same age and size. The child is said to have hypertension if he/she has a blood pressure higher than that of 95% of the children of the same age and size.
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Chart: What Are Normal Blood Pressure Ranges By Age For Women
As with men, women’s average BP ranges also vary by age group. The age group with the lowest normal blood pressure reading is different between the systolic and diastolic reading. Women ages 21-25 have the lowest normal diastolic reading , while women age 31-35 have the lowest normal systolic reading . The age group with the highest normal blood pressure reading is women ages 56-60 .
Stage 1 And Stage 2 High Blood Pressure In Women
Stage 1 hypertension is when your blood pressure is 140-159/90-99 mmHg. You would also be considered to have stage 1 hypertension if your systolic blood pressure is 140-159 and your diastolic blood pressure is under 90, or if your diastolic blood pressure is 90-99 and your systolic blood pressure is under 140 as states Heart.org of the AHA.
Stage 2 hypertension is when your blood pressure is over160/100 mmHg, or if your systolic blood pressure is over 160, or if your diastolic blood pressure is over 100. Stage 2 hypertension puts you at higher risk for complications of high blood pressure than stage 1 hypertension does.
High blood pressure is not unique to women, it affects nearly 1 out of every 3 American adults according to the Centers for Disease Control , and another 1 out of 3 are pre-hypertensive and at risk for developing hypertension.
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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.
Whats A Normal Reading
For a normal reading, your blood pressure needs to show a top number thats between 90 and less than 120 and a bottom number thats between 60 and less than 80. The American Heart Association considers blood pressure to be within the normal range when both your systolic and diastolic numbers are in these ranges.
Blood pressure readings are expressed in millimeters of mercury. This unit is abbreviated as mm Hg. A normal reading would be any blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg and above 90/60 mm Hg in an adult.
If youre in the normal range, no medical intervention is needed. However, you should maintain a healthy lifestyle and healthy weight to help prevent hypertension from developing. Regular exercise and healthy eating can also help. You may need to be even more mindful of your lifestyle if hypertension runs in your family.
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How Is Blood Pressure Measured
Your blood pressure is measured as two numbers. The first shows your heart at work, when it is exerting pressure to fill your arteries with blood. The second represents your heart at rest, filling with blood between beats. These are called the systolic and diastolic values, respectively.
For example, a blood pressure rate of 124/85 mm Hg, as shown in the graphic. The top number is the systolic rate and the bottom the diastolic. They are both measured in millimeters of mercury .
This video lecture explains systolic and diastolic pressure .
Your doctor or other medical practitioners have likely checked your blood pressure before. He or she would have wrapped an inflatable cuff around your upper arm and used a stethoscope to record both the systolic and diastolic pressures.
Causes Of Hypertension In Children
1. Primary hypertension
Primary hypertension means that the hypertension does not seem to be caused by some other underlyng medical condition. Many doctors think that the incidence of childhood or adolescent hypertension has been rising along with the obesity epidemic. The majority of teens and children over age 6 with hypertension have a family history of hypertension and/or are overweight.
2. Secondary hypertension
Secondary hypertension is caused by a known underlying medical condition. Of these, about
- 80 percent of children have some kind of kidney disease or blood vessel abnormalities
- 5 percent have an endocrinological disorder
- 2 to 5 percent have heart disease
Hypertension in infants with hypertension almost always has a secondary cause. In addition, premature infants have a higher incidence of hypertension.
Among kids with hypertension, especially those who are very young, secondary hypertension is more common than primary hypertension. But among children who are older than 6 to 8 years old, the ratio of primary to secondary hypertension is approaching 50/50.
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What Is A Healthy Pressure Range
Blood pressure measures the force your heart uses to pump blood around the body.
Blood pressure is recorded in millimetres of mercury its measured using two recorded numbers, the systolic and diastolic pressure.
The first number is the systolic pressure is the force that your heart pumps blood around the body.
The second number in your reading is the diastolic pressure.
This number shows the resistance to blood flow in the blood vessels.
Healthy blood pressure should sit between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
If your readings sit above 120/80mmHg you could be at risk of high blood pressure.
Elevated blood pressure readings range from 120 to 129 systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic.
Brits with elevated blood pressure are at risk of developing high blood pressure without preventative steps, such as changing unhealthy lifestyle habits.
But blood pressure increases as you get older according to the medical website Thrombocyte so what is a healthy level for your age?
How Can I Control My Blood Pressure
You can often lower your blood pressure by changing your day-to-day habits and by taking medication if needed. Treatment, especially if you have other medical conditions such as diabetes, requires ongoing evaluation and discussions with your doctor.
Lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent and lower high blood pressure:
In addition to recommending lifestyle changes, your doctor will likely prescribe medication to lower your blood pressure to a safe level. Isolated systolic hypertension, the most common form of high blood pressure in older adults, is treated in the same way as regular high blood pressure but may require more than one type of blood pressure medication. You may try several kinds or combinations of medications before finding a plan that works best for you. Medication can control your blood pressure, but it can’t cure it. If your doctor starts you on medication for high blood pressure, you may need to take it long-term.
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Normal Blood Pressure Range
A normal blood pressure reading indicates that the heart and blood vessels are not working too hard pushing blood and that the blood is not exerting too much pressure on the walls of the vessels, says Aseem Desai, M.D., a cardiologist at Providence Mission Hospital in Southern California. Recent data from the American Heart Association suggests the optimal normal reading for adults over 20 is lower than 120/80 mmHgVirani S, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics 2021 update . American Heart Association Journal. 2021 143:e254-e743. .
Dr. Desai notes blood pressure can vary depending on a persons age, gender, race and ethnicity, but it should still fall within the general normal range. While numbers lower than 120/80 are generally considered normal, Dr. Desai adds, The target blood pressure for treatment varies depending on age and associated co-morbidities .
Previously, guidance for normal blood pressure for adults varied by gender and specific age, but new data states normal blood pressure for adults as a collective is less than 120/80 mmHgHigh Blood Pressure Symptoms and Causes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 7/16/2021. .
When it comes to race and ethnicity, Dr. Desai says certain groups have a higher rate of hypertension. Non-Hispanic Black people have a significantly higher rate of hypertension compared to non-Hispanic white people, and Hispanics and non-Hispanic Asians have lower rates than the first two, he says.
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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Check Your Blood Pressure At Home
The new guidelines note that blood pressure should be measured on a regular basis and encourage people to use home blood pressure monitors. Monitors can range from $40 to $100 on average, but your insurance may cover part or all of the cost. Measure your blood pressure a few times a week and see your doctor if you notice any significant changes. Here are some tips on how to choose and use a monitor.
- Select a monitor that goes around your upper arm. Wrist and finger monitors are not as precise.
- Select an automated monitor, which has a cuff that inflates itself.
- Look for a digital readout that is large and bright enough to see clearly.
- Consider a monitor that also plugs into your smartphone to transfer the readings to an app, which then creates a graph of your progress. Some devices can send readings wirelessly to your phone.
What Is A Normal Blood Pressure Reading
You can get a blood pressure reading with various blood pressure monitors at Urgent Care NYC. These include a wrist monitor, an ambulatory blood pressure monitor, or the good old fashioned kind complete with inflatable ball and mercury bubble. No matter which monitor you use, however, a normal blood pressure reading will always fall within a certain range. To understand what makes up a normal blood pressure reading, its important to know what blood pressure is. The heart pumps blood through the four heart chambers and into major arteries that transport blood throughout the body via the circulatory system. Each time the heart muscle contracts, it creates pressure known as systolic blood pressure. This pressure is measured to produce the first numbers got through a blood pressure reading. When the heart muscle relaxes, between beats, is the moment that systolic blood pressure can be measured.
Blood Pressure Range
For most healthy people, blood pressure falls within a certain range. Those who suffer from stress, high cholesterol or obesity often have increased heart rates that are known as high blood pressure. On the other end of the range, some people also suffer from low blood pressure, but this is almost always because of illness or blood loss. Extremely low blood pressure can cause shock and in the end, death.
Blood Pressure in Children
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What Complications Are Associated With Hypertension
While kids with hypertension are unlikely to have heart attacks and strokes, it still has significant risks. Hypertension causes changes in the structures of the blood vessels and heart. Since hypertension in children has historically been understudied, there isnt a lot of data about exactly what these changes mean. But we do know that in adults, hypertension increases the chance of complications in the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys. Theres also compelling evidence that some of these changes are seen in children with high blood pressure.
These changes affect:
Blood vesselshigh blood pressure can damage blood vessels throughout the body, which makes it harder for organs to work efficiently.
Kidneysif the blood vessels in the kidneys are damaged, they may stop removing waste and extra fluid from the body. This extra fluid can raise blood pressure even more.
Other organsif left untreated, hypertension makes it harder for blood to reach many different parts of the body, including the eyes and the brain, and can lead to blindness and strokes.