23-06-2021 / Heart & Vascular

What is Normal Blood Pressure?

A normal blood pressure level in a healthy human being is around 120/80 mmHg. This blog will educate you about normal blood pressure, elevated blood pressure, hypertension, and hypertensive crisis.

What is Normal Blood Pressure?
Mazia AhmedMazia Ahmed

Mazia Ahmed

MSc Nutrition Science, Ph.D. Scholar

Table of Content

Introduction

Blood pressure (BP) is generally interpreted as the pressure of blood that propels against the walls of your arteries. Arteries generally carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Your blood pressure usually rises and falls throughout the day.

Blood pressure is generally measured using two numbers:

  • Systolic blood pressure: It measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.

  • Diastolic blood pressure: It is the second number that measures your arteries' pressure when your heart rests between beats.

If the pressure measurement comes 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, it is generally said as "120 over 80," or written down as "120/80 mmHg." A normal blood pressure level in a healthy human being is around 120/80 mmHg.

What does my blood pressure reading mean

What is Systolic Blood Pressure?

When your heart beats, it clasps and pushes your blood through your arteries to the rest of your body. This force exerted by the heart creates pressure on the blood vessels, which is your systolic blood pressure.

Here's how to know your systolic blood pressure number:

  • The Normal is around 120

  • The Elevated one is 120-129

  • Stage 1 high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension, has a count of 130-139

  • Stage 2 hypertension has 140 or more.

  • The hypertensive crisis generally has a count of 180 or more. 

What is Diastolic Blood Pressure?

The diastolic blood pressure reading (the bottom number) is the pressure in the arteries of your body when the heart rests between the beats. This is the time when your heart fills with oxygenated blood.

  • The average reading is around 80

  • The stage 1 hypertension has reading; 80-89

  • The Stage 2 hypertension has reading 90 or more

  • Hypertensive crisis has reading: 120 or more.

Even if your diastolic number is considered normal when you have around 80 mm Hg pressure, you can also have an elevated blood pressure of systolic reading is 120-129.

6 Blood Pressure Categories

The categories of blood pressure are:

1. Normal

Blood pressure ranging between 120/80 mm Hg is considered the normal pressure for a person. If your blood pressure results fall into the normal or slightly elevated category, you should follow a healthy lifestyle like eating a nutritionally balanced diet and regular exercise.

2. Elevated

Elevated blood pressure is a condition when your blood pressure readings vary consistently, ranging from 120-129 systolic, and it can be around 80 mm Hg diastolic. People with elevated blood pressure are liable to get high blood pressure unless actions are taken to control this elevated condition.

3. Hypertension Stage 1 Hypertension Stage 1 is when the blood pressure constantly varies from 130-139 systolic or 80-89 mm Hg diastolic. In this stage of high blood pressure, doctors generally recommend some lifestyle changes. On your doctor’s advice, you may also consider adding blood pressure medicines that are generally based on your risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases (ASCVD), such as having a heart attack or stroke.

4. Hypertension Stage 2

Hypertension Stage 2 is a health situation when your blood pressure consistently ranges at 140/90 mm Hg or can be higher in number. At this stage, doctors generally prescribe a mixture of blood pressure medications and lifestyle changes.

5. Hypertensive crisis

  • This stage of high blood pressure generally requires medical attention. If your blood pressure readings suddenly increase 180/120 mm Hg, you should wait for five minutes and then recheck your readings. If your readings are still unusually high, you should contact your doctor immediately. In this case, you are experiencing a hypertensive crisis.

  • When your blood pressure reading is higher than 180/120 mm Hg, you can experience signs of possible organ damage in your body, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness/weakness, change of vision, or difficulty speaking.

  • In case of either an elevated systolic or elevated diastolic blood pressure, these readings may be used to make a diagnosis of your high blood pressure. According to a recent study, the risk of demise from ischemic heart disorder and stroke generally becomes twice with every 20 mm Hg systolic or 10 mm Hg diastolic pressure increase. This commonly occurs in people with the age group of 40 to 89.

6. Low Blood Pressure

A systolic blood pressure reading lower than 90 mmHg or 60 mm Hg for the diastolic pressure is generally referred to as low blood pressure or hypotension. Abnormally low blood pressure can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting. Low blood pressure can also be life-threatening in severe cases. The causes of low blood pressure can range from dehydration to severe medical disorders. 

Measuring Blood Pressure in mmHg

  • The full form of the abbreviation mmHg is millimeters of mercury. Mercury can be generally used in the first accurate pressure gauges. It is still used in medical science as the standard unit of measurement for blood pressure in your body.

  • While these readings are indicators of health condition, blood pressure and heart rate generally have two different measuring types. 

Measuring Blood Pressure at Home

Factors affect Blood Pressure Reading
  • Checking blood pressure at home is very important for many people nowadays, particularly if you have hypertension. It is helpful for you and your doctor to find out if your treatment and lifestyle are working or not.

  • It would be best to ask medical experts to recommend an easy-to-use home blood pressure monitor. 

  • It doesn't matter which type of blood pressure monitor you have. It is an excellent idea to take your case to your doctor's office. You should always compare its reading to the numbers your doctor gets. You should also avoid caffeine, cigarettes and exercise for at least 30 minutes before doing this test. When you check blood pressure at home, you should sit up straight in a chair and put your feet on the floor. It will help if you ask your doctor or nurse to show you the right way and position your arm to get accurate readings.

  • Always take the blood pressure readings at the same time of day so that you get consistent readings. Try to take a few readings at a gap of about one minute. Make sure to note down the results. Carry the blood pressure readings to your doctor's clinic so that you can talk about any changes in your blood pressure readings. It will be easy for your physician to decide whether you need medications in addition to lifestyle changes.

Which Number is More Important?

  • Systolic readings generally require more attention in the case of blood pressure, which is the first significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50. In most people, systolic blood pressure generally rises steadily with age due to the increasing stiffness of large arteries of your body and long-term buildup of plaque, and an increased incidence of cardiac and vascular diseases.

  • In a case of either elevated systolic or elevated diastolic blood pressure, the pressure readings may be used to make a diagnosis for your high blood pressure. According to a recent study, the risk of death from ischemic heart disease and stroke doubles with every 20 mmHg systolic or 10 mmHg diastolic increase among people from 40 to 89 years of age.

4 Effective Ways to Reduce Your Blood Pressure

1. Stop Smoking

Quitting smoking is very good for your all-around health. Smoking causes an immediate but temporary increase in your blood pressure and an increase in your heart rate as well.

The long-term use of smoking or chewing chemicals in tobacco can increase your blood pressure by damaging your blood vessel walls, causing inflammation, and narrowing your arteries. The hardened arteries will cause higher blood pressure in the body. 

2. Don't Eat Processed Food.

Processed Meat

Most of the extra salt in your diet comes from processed foods and foods from restaurants, and they are generally not from your salt shaker at home. Popular high-salt items include deli meats, canned soup, pizza, chips, and other processed snacks found in shops and restaurants.

3. Reduce Excessive Stress

We all live in stressful times, and we all have our hard times. Workplace and family demands, national and international politics, and many other factors all contribute to stress. Finding ways to reduce your stress is very important for your health and your blood pressure.

4. Make sure to get good, restful sleep.

Your blood pressure typically lowers down when you're sleeping. If you don't sleep well, it will affect your blood pressure, and you may have high blood pressure. People who experience sleep deprivation, especially people who are in a middle-aged group, have an increased risk of high blood pressure in their bodies.

3 Top Things to Know about Blood Pressure

Word of Wisdom

Keeping your blood pressure in the normal range is very important in preventing diseases such as heart disease and having a stroke. A combination of having healthy lifestyle habits and medications can also help you lower your blood pressure. If you're overweight, weight loss is very important in keeping your blood pressure down.

You should never forget that a single blood pressure reading doesn't necessarily evaluate the health of your body. The average blood pressure readings that can be taken over time is the most accurate one. It is often ideal to have your blood pressure measured by a doctor at least once a year. 


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