Know Your Blood Pressure Ranges

May 09, 2023

A vital health indicator that shows how well our hearts are working is blood pressure. Knowing your blood pressure range is crucial to maintaining good heart health since blood pressure determines how forcefully blood flows through our arteries. A sphygmomanometer, which measures systolic and diastolic pressure, is commonly used to test blood pressure. Your primary care provider can usually perform this as part of your medical tests.

What Is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the force exerted by the body's blood as it flows through its arteries against its walls. Blood is pumped by the heart into the arteries, which subsequently distribute it to every region of the body.

The contraction of our heart as it beats causes blood to be forced into the arteries, raising blood pressure. Systolic pressure is the highest value in a blood pressure reading and is referred to as systolic pressure. The heart relaxes after contracting, allowing blood to return to the heart. The lowest value in a blood pressure reading is what is referred to as diastolic pressure and is the bottom reading.

How to Measure Blood Pressure

A blood pressure test measures the pressure in the arteries as the heart pumps. It is typically carried out as part of a regular health examination or as a test for excessive blood pressure, or hypertension. An instrument known as a sphygmomanometer, which is frequently used in healthcare settings, can be used to monitor blood pressure. A cuff is wrapped around your upper arm and inflated to a pressure greater than the systolic pressure to measure your blood pressure. A medical expert then slowly deflates the cuff while monitoring the blood flow with a stethoscope and recording the systolic and diastolic pressures.

You can also use home monitors to check your blood pressure at home regularly. These blood pressure monitors are available for purchase online or at pharmacies and can be a useful tool for controlling blood pressure.

Blood pressure is represented as two values and is expressed in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Systolic pressure is the force exerted by the heart when it pumps blood out. Diastolic pressure, on the other hand, is the pressure that exists between the beats of the heart. For instance, if your blood pressure is "120 over 80" or 120/80mmHg, it indicates that your systolic pressure is of 120mmHg and your diastolic pressure is 80mmHg.

Why Is it Important to Know Our Blood Pressure Ranges?

Hypertension, often known as high blood pressure, is a serious medical condition that increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and other health issues. A lot of people don't know they have high blood pressure until they have a health emergency as it can be asymptomatic. Understanding our blood pressure ranges is crucial because it enables us to detect and treat excessive blood pressure before it causes major health issues.

Different Blood Pressure Ranges

Everyone over the age of 20 should have their blood pressure checked at least once every two years, according to the American Heart Association. Readings of blood pressure are categorized as follows:

  • Normal Blood Pressure: When the systolic pressure is less than 120 mm Hg, and diastolic pressure is less than 80 mm Hg.
  • Elevated Blood Pressure: Systolic pressure is between 120-129 mm Hg, and your diastolic pressure is less than 80 mm Hg.
  • Stage 1 Hypertension: Systolic pressure is between 130-139 mm Hg, or diastolic pressure is between 80-89 mm Hg.
  • Stage 2 Hypertension: Systolic pressure is 140 mm Hg or higher, or diastolic pressure is 90 mm Hg or higher.
  • Hypertensive Crisis: Systolic pressure is higher than 180 mm Hg, and/or diastolic pressure is higher than 120 mm Hg.

Factors That Affect Blood Pressure

  • Age: As we get older, our blood pressure tends to rise. Because our artery walls become stiffer and less elastic as we age, it is more difficult for them to expand and contract in response to changes in blood flow.
  • Sex: While men are more likely to have high blood pressure, the risk of high blood pressure rises in women after menopause. 
  • Family history: High blood pressure has been linked to a genetic component as it can run in families.
  • Weight: Being overweight or obese can raise your chance of developing high blood pressure because it puts more stress on your heart and blood vessels.

There are many factors that can affect your blood pressure and there are several activities you undertake to keep it in check. This is why it is important to know different blood pressure ranges, keep a regular check and know where you lie. Meet with a primary care provider of your choice and convenience to set up the right treatment plan for you.