Monitoring blood pressure is crucial for good health and it changes based on age and gender. Your BP or blood pressure is the force your heart uses to pump blood in your body. Use the blood pressure chart below to better understand if your readings are normal by comparing it to standard levels from the American Heart Association https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/understanding-blood-pressure-readings.
Blood Pressure Readings Explained
Understanding Blood Pressure Chart Numbers
Normal Blood Pressure
Imagine your heart as a pump. It beats, or pumps, about 60 to 100 times a minute when you’re resting. With each beat, it pushes blood through your arteries to the rest of your body. When talking about normal blood pressure, it means that your heart is doing its job without working too hard.
Doctors use two numbers to measure blood pressure. The top number is the systolic pressure. It measures how much force your blood is putting on your artery walls when your heart beats.
The bottom number is the diastolic pressure. It measures the force when your heart is resting between beats. Normal blood pressure is usually around 120 over 80 or lower.
Elevated Blood Pressure
This is a warning sign. It means your blood pressure is higher than the normal range, but not enough to be considered high blood pressure.
It’s like when your car’s gas light comes on. It’s not empty yet, but if you don’t do something soon, it could become a problem. The top number is usually between 120-129 and the bottom number is less than 80.
High Blood Pressure Stage 1
You are considered to have high blood pressure stage 1 when your blood pressure consistently ranges from 130-139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic.
At this stage, doctors usually suggest lifestyle changes, like more exercise or a healthier diet, to bring your blood pressure down.
High Blood Pressure Stage 2
If your blood pressure stays at 140/90 or higher, it is considered high blood pressure stage 2.
Things are really starting to get serious. Doctors will usually prescribe medication at this stage. They will also suggest lifestyle changes to reduce your blood pressure.
A hypertensive crisis is when your blood pressure goes above 180/120. This is a medical emergency and you need to get to a hospital right away. Symptoms could include severe headaches, chest pain, vision problems, and difficulty breathing.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
Consuming too much salt and processed foods, and not enough fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
✅ Physical Inactivity
Not getting enough exercise can lead to weight gain.
Being overweight or obese can put extra strain on your heart.
Smoking can damage your blood vessels.
Drinking alcohol excessively
Chronic stress can cause a temporary rise in blood pressure, and some people may respond to stress by eating more, smoking, or drinking alcohol.
As you age, the risk of high blood pressure increases, especially once you reach middle age.
✅ Genetics and Family History
If your parents or other close family members have high blood pressure, you’re more likely to develop it too.
✅ Chronic Conditions
Certain conditions, like diabetes and kidney disease, can increase your risk.
Some ethnic groups are at a higher risk.
5 Easy Ways To Reduce Your Risk of Developing High Blood Pressure
Try to follow the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) plan, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy foods. It also suggests reducing foods high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and trans fats.
Limit Salt Intake
Aim to consume no more than 1 teaspoon of salt a day. Too much sodium can raise your blood pressure.
Engage in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. This can lower your blood pressure and help you manage your weight.
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men.
Nicotine in tobacco products can raise your blood pressure. Quitting smoking can significantly reduce your risk of high blood pressure and improve your overall health.