Why Does Normal Blood Pressure Range Change With Age
What is generally considered to be a healthy blood pressure range increases with age. This is because changes in the cardiovascular system as a result of the aging process are inevitable, to a degree. Even if you remain active, eat well, and avoid unhealthy habits like smoking, aging leads to a gradual stiffening of large arteries, which can increase blood pressure.
Of course, this does not mean lifestyle choices are totally irrelevant. A 60-year-old who has consistently lived a healthy lifestyle may have lower blood pressure than a 30-year-old who has not.
World Health Day Campaign Objectives
The World Health Day 2013 campaign, which is held under the theme: Control your pressure, control your life, aims at the following:
- Reducing rates of heart attack and stroke
- Promoting awareness and healthy behaviour, improving detection methods and developing protective settings
- Raising awareness about the causes, consequences and prevention of hypertension
- Encouraging adults to check their blood pressure regularly and follow the advice of doctors and health care providers
- Promoting self-care to prevent hypertension and control its effects
- Providing universal access to blood pressure measurement devices
- Urging national and local authorities to develop settings that facilitate healthy behaviour.
Normal Vs Abnormal Blood Pressure
According to the AHA, a normal blood pressure reading for adults is a top number below 120 combined with a bottom number under 80 noted as 120/80 millimeters of mercury.
However, physicians start to get concerned when the top number heads north. “Blood pressure is considered ‘mildly elevated’ if it’s between 120 and 129 over less than 80,” says Willie E. Lawrence, Jr., MD, chief of cardiology with Midwest Heart & Vascular Specialists, in Kansas City, Missouri. “We define blood pressure greater than 130 over 80 or more as high blood pressure, or hypertension,” he says. “Once it’s above 130, that’s certainly considered high.”
Specifically, the AHA characterizes a blood pressure of 130 to 139 over 80 to 89 as “Stage 1” high blood pressure. Even more risky is “Stage 2,” which is when a reading is between 140 and 180 over 90 to 120.
“Now, where we get particularly concerned is when the top number is found to be greater than 180,” Dr. Lawrence says. “In truth, there are plenty of people who run around living their life with 180 and feel nothing. They may be asymptomatic. They may have no idea that anything is wrong. But unfortunately for them, in many cases, their first indication that something is very wrong ends up being a heart attack, a stroke or congestive heart failure.”
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What Else Might Raise Blood Pressure
A number of common drugs, supplements and compounds can raise what is essentially normal blood pressure out of the normal range. Stopping these substances can often return blood pressure to optimal levels. These substances include:
- Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy, especially with higher estrogen levels.19
- Oral decongestants found in some cold and allergy medications.20
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories for pain relief and inflammation.21
- Herbal supplements including St. Johns Wort, ginseng, ginkgo, blue kohosh.22
- A compound in licorice root called glycyrrhizin, which is found in licorice-flavoured herbal teas, candies, lozenges, herbal remedies and is very potent in raising blood pressure, prompting a number of case studies and a warning from the US Food and Drug Agency.23
- Alcohol dependence, especially if consumed in larger quantities on a daily basis.24
- Cocaine, methamphetamines and other recreational stimulant drugs.25
- Tobacco use, particularly smokeless tobacco.26
If you are taking any of these items regularly and receive a high blood pressure reading, stopping their use may help your blood pressure return to normal ranges.
What If Lifestyle Changes Dont Help Lower My Blood Pressure
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.
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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|
How Can You Reduce Your Risk Of High Blood Pressure
Fortunately, there are certain things you can do to help reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure. These include the following:
- Eat right: A healthy diet is an important step in keeping your blood pressure normal. The DASH diet emphasizes adding fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your diet while reducing the amount of sodium. Since it is rich in fruits and vegetables, which are naturally lower in sodium than many other foods, the DASH diet makes it easier to eat less salt and sodium.
- Keep a healthy weight: Going hand-in-hand with a proper diet is keeping a healthy weight. Since being overweight increases your blood pressure, losing excess weight with diet and exercise will help lower your blood pressure to healthier levels.
- Cut down on salt: The recommendation for salt in your diet is to have less than 2,400 milligrams of sodium a day . To prevent hypertension, you should keep your salt intake below this level. Don’t forget that most restaurant foods and many processed and frozen foods contain high levels of salt. Use herbs and spices that do not contain salt in recipes to flavor your food do not add salt at the table.
- Keep active: Even simple physical activities, such as walking, can lower your blood pressure .
- Drinkalcoholin moderation: Having more than one drink a day and two drinks a day can raise blood pressure.
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What Causes Low Blood Pressure
There are many possible reasons for low blood pressure, according to both Dr. Wong and Dr. Desai, including:
- Heart problems like heart failure or low heart rates
- Endocrine problems, such as parathyroid disease, adrenal insufficiency or hypoglycemia
- Side effects of medications for high blood pressure, prostatic hypertrophy, Parkinsons disease, depression and erectile dysfunction
- Massive weight loss
- Rapid heart rate
Choosing A Blood Pressure Monitor
If you’re planning to take your blood pressure at home, it’s important to have a reliable blood pressure monitor. The AHA recommends an automatic, cuff-style, bicep monitor, but there are other options.
When selecting a blood pressure monitor, consider the following:
- Fit: To ensure a proper fit, measure around your upper arm and choose a monitor that comes with the correct size cuff.
- Number of people: If more than one person will be using the monitor, make sure to choose one that fits everyone.
- Features: Some blood pressure monitors offer extra tech features, like Bluetooth and app connectivity. If you don’t think you’ll benefit from these extras, go ahead and choose one that is efficient, easy to use, and more affordable.
- Budget: High-quality blood pressure monitors vary dramatically in price, from around $25 to well over $100. Keep in mind that a good monitor is a great investment and that you will be using it daily for several years.
- Other considerations: The AHA notes that when selecting a blood pressure monitor for a senior, pregnant person, or child, you should make sure it is validated for these conditions.
If you need help selecting an at-home device, check out these blood pressure monitors, which were vetted by the Verywell team based on the above criteria.
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Where Can I Learn How To Take My Blood Pressure Myself
In Germany and other countries, people with high blood pressure can attend patient education courses that teach a number of things, including how to measure your blood pressure. As part of specialized disease management programs for people who have narrow coronary arteries , statutory health insurers offer additional healthcare services. These include patient education about high blood pressure. Some doctors practices don’t offer these courses, though.
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.
Measuring Blood Pressure With A Sphygmomanometer
A sphygmomanometer has three parts:
- a cuff that can be inflated with air,
- a pressure meter for measuring air pressure in the cuff, and
- a stethoscope for listening to the sound the blood makes as it flows through the brachial artery .
The scale of the pressure meter ranges from 0 to 300 mmHg. The pressure meter has a rubber pump on it for inflating the cuff and a button for letting the air out.
To measure blood pressure, the cuff is placed around the bare and stretched out upper arm, and inflated until no blood can flow through the brachial artery. Then the air is slowly let out of the cuff.
As soon as the air pressure in the cuff falls below the systolic blood pressure in the brachial artery, blood will start to flow through the arm once again. This creates a pounding sound when the arteries close again and the walls of the vessels hit each other after a heart beat. The sound can be heard by placing the stethoscope close to the elbow. Right when you start to hear this pounding for the first time you can read your systolic blood pressure off the pressure meter.
The pounding sound stops when the air pressure in the cuff falls below the diastolic blood pressure in the brachial artery. Then the blood vessels remain open. Right when the pounding stops, you can read the diastolic blood pressure off the pressure meter.
Normal Blood Pressure Range By Age And Sex
Normal blood pressure is also affected by sex, as men have a slightly higher healthy range than women. The normal BP ranges for men and women of different ages are listed below.
21-25 years old: Systolic BP: of 120.5, Diastolic BP of 78.5
26-30 years old: Systolic BP: of 119.5, Diastolic BP of 76.5
31-35 years old: Systolic BP: of 114.5, Diastolic BP of 75.5
36-40 years old: Systolic BP: of 120.5, Diastolic BP of 75.5
41-45 years old: Systolic BP: of 115.5, Diastolic BP of 78.5
46-50 years old: Systolic BP: of 119.5, Diastolic BP of 80.5
51-55 years old: Systolic BP: of 125.5, Diastolic BP of 80.5
56-60 years old: Systolic BP: of 129.5, Diastolic BP of 79.5
61-65 years old: Systolic BP: of 143.5, Diastolic BP of 76.5
21-25 years old: Systolic BP: of 115.5, Diastolic BP of 70.5
26-30 years old: Systolic BP: of 113.5, Diastolic BP of 71.5
31-35 years old: Systolic BP: of 110.5, Diastolic BP of 72.5
36-40 years old: Systolic BP: of 112.5, Diastolic BP of 74.6
41-45 years old: Systolic BP: of 116.5, Diastolic BP of 73.5
46-50 years old: Systolic BP: of 124, Diastolic BP of 78.5
51-55 years old: Systolic BP: of 122.5, Diastolic BP of 74.5
56-60 years old: Systolic BP: of 132.5, Diastolic BP of 78.5
61-65 years old: Systolic BP: of 130.5, Diastolic BP of 77.5
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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. You’ll also need to make lifestyle changes and see the doctor again in a month.
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.
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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.
What Are The Causes Of Hypertension
What is a normal blood pressure
Furthermore, mushrooms contain numerous antioxidant substances that shield your blood vessels from oxidative harm, which is the reason why theyre so healthful in regulating the overall integrity of vessels endothelium. Certain mushrooms have a documented benefit in the management of blood pressure.
SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS: These are considered as low calories diets while enriched in minerals and antioxidants. These are ideal foods for people trying to lose weight which is the major risk factor of hypertension.
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Isolated Systolic Hypertension In Younger Adults
The elderly are not the only ones who can get isolated systolic hypertension. Younger people get it also but many times they slip through the cracks and dont receive the proper diagnosis 6. This can happen for several reasons including:
- High systolic blood pressure in the young is often considered an anomaly that will go away.
- Younger people often have worse diets consisting of fast foods and high sodium.
- Athletes in school often take steroids to increase their athletic performance and build up strength and muscle.
- Some risk factors affect all ages including young adults.
- Younger people often skip regular physicals.