The heart is responsible for supplying oxygen and energy to the entire body as it pumps blood through the body. The pressure with which the blood pushes against the walls of our blood vessels is called blood pressure (BP). Increased BP puts a strain on the blood vessels and heart and can lead to a heart attack or other heart conditions. BP is measured by two readings – systolic and diastolic.
Blood pressure readings
Every BP reading is defined by two numbers. The first one is the systolic BP, which is the increased pressure the heart exerts to send blood through the body, whereas the second one is the diastolic BP, which is a lower pressure when our heart is resting between beats. The readings are mentioned as a pair with the systolic value being the first, followed by the diastolic value.
What is normal blood pressure?
Blood pressure is measured in units of millimetres of mercury (mmHg). A normal BP is generally less than 120/80 mmHg, of which 120 is the systolic BP while 80 is the diastolic BP.
How to interpret blood pressure readings?
If your BP is 90/60 or less, you may have low BP.
If the readings are more than 90/60 and less than 120/80, then your BP is normal (ideal).
If your BP is more than 120/80 and less than 140/90, then it is considered to be higher than normal. You should try to keep it low by making lifestyle changes.
A reading of 140/90 or higher over a few weeks indicates that you might be having high BP (hypertension).
What is high blood pressure?
High BP occurs when your BP is consistently high. It is a condition in which one or both of the BP readings are consistently higher than 130/80 mmHg or if the readings show 140/90 mmHg.[4,5] This condition puts excess stress on your heart, and increases your risk of critical health problems such as stroke or heart attack or failure, and kidney failure.[1,5] There are no visible symptoms of high BP, so only regular BP check-ups can accurately detect it.
How do you define elevated blood pressure?
Elevated BP is defined as the state in which your BP is slightly above the normal value. It is a condition in which the systolic BP is between 120 and 130 mmHg, and the diastolic BP is under 80 mmHg. High BP and elevated BP both put you at a risk of heart attack, stroke or heart failure. The adoption of healthy lifestyle habits can help you keep the elevated BP under control. Elevated BP also has no visible symptoms.
It is crucial to maintain your BP within the normal range by adopting a healthy lifestyle that can halt the beginning of hypertension. Untreated high BP can cause many health problems; therefore, you need to bring it under control to avoid any further health complications.
- Blood Pressure UK. Blood pressure and you [Internet]. Available from: http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/BloodPressureandyou/Thebasics/Bloodpressure.
- American Heart Association. What is high blood pressure? [Internet]. [updated 2019 Oct 31; cited 2020 Jan 11]. Available from: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/the-facts-about-high-blood-pressure/what-is-high-blood-pressure.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. What is blood pressure and how is it measured? [Internet]. [updated 2019 May 23; cited 2020 Jan 11]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279251/.
- Blood Pressure UK. Blood pressure chart [Internet]. Available from: http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/BloodPressureandyou/Thebasics/Bloodpressurechart.
- MedlinePlus. High blood pressure-adults [Internet]. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000468.htm.
- Mayo Clinic. Elevated blood pressure [Internet]. [updated 2019 Oct 6; cited 2020 Jan 11]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prehypertension/symptoms-causes/syc-20376703.