Typically, blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) and has two statistics:
The pressure measured as your heart pushes the blood out.
The pressure measured when your heart rests between beats.
For instance, if your blood pressure ranges between 120/80 or 120 over 80, it means:
The systolic pressure is 120 mm Hg.
The diastolic pressure is 80 mm Hg.
As per the range mentioned below, anything above 120/80 is considered as high blood pressure, whereas anything below this range is considered low blood pressure.
Blood pressure ranges/readings are taken as 120/80 and read as - 120 over 80. The first number is known as the systolic pressure and the next number is called the diastolic pressure. Blood pressure ranges accepted by doctors worldwide are as follows:
Normal: Less than 120/80
Elevated: Between 120-129/less than 80
Stage-1 High Blood Pressure: Between 130-139/80-89
Stage-2 High Blood Pressure: Above 140/90
Hypertension Crisis: Higher than 180/120
If your blood pressure is above the normal range, seek immediate medical attention. Further, let us understand each blood pressure range in detail.
Blood pressure between 120/80 mm Hg is said to be normal. When your blood pressure is normal, no medical interference is needed. It is best to continue or improve your existing lifestyle to manage it. Further, it is advised to maintain your weight to avoid hypertension and other weight-related health issues. Exercising regularly and eating balanced meals helps you maintain normal blood pressure and a healthy lifestyle.
Blood pressure between 120-129/less than 80 mm Hg is said to be elevated. While these readings are not categorised as high blood pressure, note that you have moved a bit outside the normal range. There are high chances that this can turn into a high blood pressure situation in the near future, further increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Doctors usually do not prescribe any medication for elevated blood pressure. However, adopting a healthy lifestyle and consuming a balanced diet is recommended. If you are under some kind of stress (related to work or family), it is advised to look for ways to release this tension. You can opt for yoga or exercise regularly to get your blood pressure under control.
You will be diagnosed with stage-1 hypertension when your blood pressure is between 130-139/80-89 mm Hg. While you are not at any severe health risk just yet, it is advisable to get your blood pressure within the normal range gradually.
For this, doctors can suggest taking medication, following a healthy lifestyle, and exercising daily. A follow-up is needed in three to six months to check whether these lifestyle changes are working in your favour or not.
When older people suffer from stage-1 hypertension, they are likely to develop other health issues such as memory problems and dementia.
Stage-2 hypertension is severe. It happens when your blood pressure is above 140/90 mm Hg. Your doctor will recommend one or more medications to manage your blood pressure. However, you should not solely depend on treatment when recovering from stage-2 hypertension. More emphasis should be given to lifestyle habits and necessary changes must be implemented as soon as possible.
When your blood pressure is higher than 180/120 mm Hg, it indicates hypertension crises. In other words, you are at risk of developing some serious health concerns. This blood pressure range requires immediate medical attention even if there are no accompanying symptoms.
Seek immediate medical help if you experience:
Shortness of breath
Symptoms of stroke, such as paralysis or a loss of muscle control in the face or an extremity
Blood in your urine
In some cases, high blood pressure readings can be temporary, i.e. it might return to normal on its own. Seek multiple readings to confirm hypertension crises. If the range is consistent, seek medical help as soon as possible.
High blood pressure is often associated with unhealthy lifestyle habits. These include:
Being overweight or obese (check your weight category with our BMI calculator)
Not exercising enough
When high blood pressure is left unmanaged, it can increase your risk of developing several long-term health issues such as heart diseases and kidney problems.
Low blood pressure issues are rare. It can be genetic or can occur as a result of ageing. In some cases, it is a side-effect of certain medications or an underlying health condition such as dehydration. In pregnant women, low blood pressure is a temporary factor.
Doctors can recommend medication or change in diet to combat low blood pressure issues. Low blood pressure is usually one of the symptoms of some severe health issues. Treating the underlying condition can help manage blood pressure problems.
Although your blood pressure is normal, it is advisable to get it checked once in six months.
Those with elevated blood pressure should get it checked every three to six months.
It is best to get your blood pressure checked every three months if you are suffering from stage-1 hypertension. Based on the results, your doctor might continue or make changes to the medications.
Get your blood pressure checked once a month if you have stage-2 hypertension. Moreover, prioritise lifestyle changes and take medication.
Those who need their blood pressure checked regularly can purchase an easy-to-use home blood pressure monitor. Ensure that the cuff fits properly as it can affect the blood pressure readings. On the other hand, you can also use a wrist blood pressure monitor too. However, this device is often not very accurate.
For accurate readings, it is best to get your blood pressure checked at your doctor’s office. Based on the results, he/she will be able to guide you towards recovery.
Even with a normal blood pressure range, it is always best to take preventive measures beforehand. It further helps reduce your risk of developing hypertension, heart diseases, and stroke. Moreover, it is essential to note that as you grow older, preventive measures become all the more crucial.
Older citizens are likely to experience blood pressure-related health issues. Medical conditions such as diabetes and kidney diseases can accelerate your risk of developing hypertension. Hence, get in touch with a doctor and manage your blood pressure and overall health before the situation worsens.
Here are a few tips that can help you manage your blood pressure.
People with high blood pressure are advised to reduce their salt intake. While the recommended amount is 2,300 mg per day, people with hypertension might need to limit this amount to 1,500 mg per day.
People with blood pressure issues are also advised to reduce their caffeine intake. Many times, caffeine plays a vital role in blood pressure readings.
People suffering from blood pressure issues are told to exercise daily to maintain a healthy blood pressure reading. So, engage in some physical activity for 30 minutes every day. Moreover, you can try some gentle yoga routines to keep your blood pressure under control.
If you are obese or overweight, you are prone to having blood pressure issues. Therefore, doctors recommend maintaining a healthy weight. You can use a BMI calculator to check your weight category. Depending on the results, manage your diet and workout routine to maintain a healthy weight.
Blood pressure can fluctuate due to stress. Therefore, it is advised to manage your stress with activities such as yoga, meditation, and sports. Find some basic yoga sequences to lead a healthy life here.
People with blood pressure issues are advised to reduce their alcohol intake or stop drinking altogether. Moreover, completely refrain from smoking. Both these habits are very harmful to your overall health.
Maintaining normal blood pressure is imperative to avoid future health complications such as heart diseases and stroke. By following a combination of a healthy lifestyle and proper medication, you will be able to get your blood pressure under control.
Besides, know that health issues can arise at any time. It is best to keep yourself and your family covered with an adequate health insurance plan so that planned or unplanned medical expenses are not a burden on you.