Blood pressure is the pressure of circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels. It’s a vital sign that healthcare professionals use to measure your health.
The American Heart Association has developed a comprehensive blood pressure chart, drawing insights from numerous studies.
A pivotal 2018 research piece by Muntner et al., featured in the Journal of Hypertension, suggests that blood pressure guidelines should incorporate both day-to-day and in-clinic readings.
Grasping the meaning behind your blood pressure numbers is key, as it’s often termed the “silent killer.”
The danger lies in its discretion; high or low blood pressure can imperceptibly impose significant health threats.
For a well-rounded grasp, it’s essential to be familiar with the key blood pressure categories:
- Hypertensive crisis
While medication often becomes necessary, doctors may recommend lifestyle adjustments in the early stages to potentially resolve blood pressure issues without drugs.
Blood pressure is measured using a sphygmomanometer, which includes an inflatable band and a gauge. This band is placed around the upper arm, inflated to halt blood flow momentarily.
As the band loosens, the gauge reads the force applied to the artery walls, giving systolic (peak pressure) and diastolic (resting pressure) numbers.
In exploring the tools for this crucial health metric, the Oxiline Pressure X Pro and CheckMe BP2 are notable devices, and they receive attention in this discussion.
The significance of monitoring blood pressure is so critical that there’s a strong push for an accessible downloadable/printable chart, which is available at the conclusion of this piece.
What’s A Blood Pressure Chart?
A blood pressure chart is an essential device for interpreting vital signs, transforming readings into a snapshot of your heart’s health.
This tool is precisely structured to mark out the varying levels of blood pressure—whether they’re low, normal, or high. Here are the current categories according to the American Heart Association.
Systolic (Top number)
Diastolic (Bottom number)
Normal Blood Pressure
Less than 120
Less than 80
Elevated Blood Pressure
120 - 129
Less than 80
Hypertension Stage 1 (High Blood Pressure )
130 - 139
80 - 89
Hypertension Stage 2 (High Blood Pressure)
140 or higher
90 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis (call 911)
Higher than 180
Higher than 120
The chart is a conversation starter with your doctor, shedding light on your condition and the possible avenues for treatment. Essentially, it’s a cornerstone for promoting awareness and advancing the management of heart health.
It should be noted that the chart doesn’t include low blood pressure, which can sometimes be as urgent as high levels.
Interestingly, dangerously low blood pressure is rarer than high blood pressure, with the body often giving warning signs before reaching a critical point.
A significant update from earlier guidelines is the American Heart Association’s reclassification of 130/80 mmHg as the starting point for high blood pressure, lowering it from the former 140/90 mmHg standard.
This change comes after findings indicated that high blood pressure complications can start at the lower benchmark of 130/80 mmHg.
Dr. Paul K. Whelton, the lead author of the guidelines published in the journals Hypertension and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, highlights the risks of blood pressure levels between 130-139/80-89 mmHg:
“With these readings, the risk of cardiovascular problems is doubled compared to those with normal blood pressure.”
Dr. Whelton adds: “We need to be clear about this increased risk. While it may not call for medication immediately, it’s a red flag that should prompt us to lower blood pressure through non-medical approaches.”
Yet, global norms still follow the previous range, as normal blood pressure levels are subject to a wide range of influences such as lifestyle, diet, climate, etc., and vary from one geographic area to another.
Mastering the blood pressure chart is both essential and urgent; the figures it shows can indicate life-threatening conditions. Next, we’ll explore what each number signifies and what they mean for your health.
How To Read Blood Pressure Chart?
To comprehend your blood pressure, you watch for two numbers, representing different facets of your heart’s activity.
These figures are often split by a slash, like so: 120/80 mmHg.
The first figure stands for systolic blood pressure, while the second is diastolic blood pressure.
Grasping the meaning behind these numbers is vital—they offer deep insights into your cardiac well-being, paving the way for prompt detection and handling of heart-related issues.
Let’s dive deeper into the meanings of systolic and diastolic pressures and their distinctions.
What is the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure?
Systolic and diastolic blood pressures are distinct phases of the heartbeat cycle. Systolic is the peak pressure when your heart is pushing blood out, and diastolic is the lowest pressure when your heart is resting between beats.
In a reading like 120/80 mmHg, the first number is the systolic and the second is the diastolic:
- Systolic pressure, the top number, is normal if it’s under 120 mmHg. Elevated systolic pressure can indicate your heart is working too hard.
- Diastolic pressure, the bottom number, should be under 80 mmHg in a healthy reading, reflecting the time when your arteries are at ease.
Researchers at Tulane University pointed out in “High Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Disease,” published in the Journal of Hypertension, that unusual readings in either systolic or diastolic pressures could herald health concerns.
It’s key to realize that both numbers are significant. While systolic gets more attention, diastolic pressure is equally telling.
For further insights into systolic versus diastolic pressures and their implications for heart function, a dedicated resource can be consulted.
The mmHg notation, standing for millimeters of mercury, is the standard unit for measuring blood pressure, offering a clear picture of cardiovascular health.
What Does mmHg Mean in Blood Pressure?
MmHg signifies millimeters of mercury and is the traditional unit to measure blood pressure.
As explained in the Elsevier book “Cardiology Clinic” by Drs. Gbenga Ogedegbe and Thomas Pickering, mercury-based sphygmomanometers set the benchmark for measuring blood pressure, hence the prevalence of mmHg.
MmHg measures how high a blood column can be driven by vascular pressure in a manometer.
A blood pressure reading has two components: systolic (pressure with heartbeat) and diastolic (pressure between beats), usually expressed as one number over the other, like 120/80 mmHg.
This unit provides healthcare professionals with a consistent measure to assess and track blood pressure, crucial for managing heart health.
While Pascal (Pa) is the standard SI unit for pressure, and its kilopascal (kPa) form is often used, it’s not interchangeable with mmHg.
Are kPa And mmHg The Same When Measuring Blood Pressure?
kPa and mmHg are different units of pressure. The question of using kPa over mmHg was raised by Gianfranco Parati and colleagues in “Blood pressure measurement in research and in clinical practice: recent evidence”, considering kPa’s relevance beyond mercury-based devices.
One mmHg is roughly equivalent to 0.133 kPa.
Clinically, blood pressure is usually recorded in mmHg, though kPa may appear in research or technical settings.
To convert mmHg to kPa, multiply the mmHg value by 0.133. To go from kPa to mmHg, divide by 0.133 or multiply by 7.501.
For example, a blood pressure of 120/80 mmHg would be about 15.99/10.66 kPa when converted.
It’s important to note that blood pressure is typically not measured in kPa in medical contexts; mmHg remains the universal standard for blood pressure readings.
What Are The Blood Pressure Stages?
The American Heart Association outlines five key blood pressure categories to aid individuals and healthcare professionals in evaluating cardiovascular wellness:
- High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 1
- High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 2
- Hypertensive Crisis
While these are the standard categories, blood pressure can also be detailed as hypotension or severe hypotension for more nuanced clinical assessment.
Let’s dive into the specifics of each category and their impact on heart health.
Severe Hypotension (Very Low Blood Pressure)
Severe Hypotension is marked by alarmingly low blood pressure readings, typically below 80/50 mmHg, which can jeopardize organ function by limiting essential blood flow.
This condition is a cardiovascular emergency requiring immediate action.
Severe hypotension can stem from dehydration, significant blood loss, heart conditions, endocrine disorders, sepsis, or certain medications. Symptoms often include dizziness, fainting, and fatigue, which, if untreated, can escalate to critical organ damage. Interventions may involve medications, nutritional adjustments, and addressing the primary causes. Prevention includes staying hydrated, balanced nutrition, and regular blood pressure checks.
Hypotension (Low Blood Pressure)
Hypotension occurs when blood pressure falls below the normal range, potentially affecting organ blood supply, yet it’s often not considered alarming unless symptomatic.
Typically defined as readings below 90/60 mmHg but above the severe threshold, hypotension might arise from dehydration, medical conditions, significant blood loss, poor nutrition, or certain medications. Symptoms mirror those of severe hypotension. While it can become serious, initial measures include hydration, dietary changes, and gradual positional shifts, supplemented by medical advice.
Normal Blood Pressure
A normal blood pressure reading, typically less than 120/80 mmHg, reflects an optimal range that ensures efficient organ blood flow.
Maintaining such levels is vital for reducing cardiovascular strain and promoting systemic circulation. Key strategies include a heart-friendly lifestyle, regular monitoring, and medical consultations, especially with preexisting risk factors.
Prehypertension (Elevated Blood Pressure)
Prehypertension, with levels slightly above normal but not yet in the hypertension range, is a critical stage for intervention to avert the development of full hypertension.
Readings range between 120/80 mmHg and 129/89 mmHg. It can result from lifestyle factors and, if unmanaged, may progress to hypertension, increasing the risk of heart conditions. Prevention and treatment focus on lifestyle enhancements and regular blood pressure checks.
Stage 1 Hypertension
This early hypertension phase, with systolic readings between 130-139 mmHg or diastolic between 80-89 mmHg, serves as a cautionary signpost for potential heart issues.
Common causes include unhealthy diet, obesity, and inactivity. While symptoms may not always be apparent, the risk of heart complications is present. Management involves dietary and lifestyle adjustments, possibly supplemented by medication, alongside routine monitoring.
Stage 2 Hypertension
A more critical hypertension level, stage 2 is indicated by readings of 140/90 mmHg or higher. Medical consultation is imperative, as persistent high readings can lead to serious health concerns.
Causes and symptoms are an extension of stage 1, with added risks of major cardiovascular events. Treatment is typically more intensive, involving multiple medications and lifestyle strategies. Consistent monitoring and adherence to treatment plans are essential.
When blood pressure soars above 180/120 mmHg, it constitutes a hypertensive crisis, a condition demanding immediate medical intervention.
Triggered by various factors, from medication noncompliance to acute health events, symptoms are severe and varied. A hypertensive crisis can quickly escalate to organ damage, categorized as an emergency if this occurs.
Hospitalization is usually required, with immediate treatment to lower pressure and address any complications. Prevention hinges on diligent blood pressure management and avoiding triggers.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure Across By Age And Gender?
Normal blood pressure doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all number—it shifts with age and varies between genders, as shown in a 2001 Journal of Hypertension study by the AHA.
While the general target for adults is 120/80 mmHg, it’s important to note that “normal” can differ with age, gender, and other demographics like ethnicity and physical condition.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure For Men?
For men, a normal blood pressure is typically under 120/80 mmHg. However, this can be influenced by age, lifestyle, and health status:
- Young adults (20s-30s) usually hover around the 120/80 mmHg mark, deemed ideal for health.
- Middle-aged men (40s-50s) might average slightly above this standard.
- For senior men (60+), it’s common to see numbers around 140/90 mmHg, with systolic pressure often increasing with age.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure For Women?
For women, a healthy blood pressure generally sits below 120/80 mmHg, though this figure can shift due to health and age-related factors.
Dr. Jennifer Wong has noted the heightened cardiovascular risk for women with systolic pressures over 110 mmHg:
- Young adult women (20s-30s) typically match the 120/80 mmHg standard.
- Middle-aged women (40s-50s) may experience hormonal-induced blood pressure changes but often remain near the baseline.
- Senior women (60+) might see an uptick to levels similar to senior men, with 140/90 mmHg or higher readings being usual.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure For Children?
Children’s normal blood pressure starts lower than adults’ and increases as they grow, influenced by age, gender, and height:
- Infants (0-12 months) range from about 75/50 to 90/65 mmHg as they begin to develop normal pressure levels.
- Toddlers (1-2 years) see a gradual rise to between 80/50 and 100/70 mmHg.
- Preschoolers (3-5 years) continue this trend, moving to 85/55 to 105/75 mmHg.
- School-aged kids (6-9 years) have blood pressure that may start reflecting the influence of lifestyle, reaching 90/60 to 120/80 mmHg.
- Pre-teens (10-12 years) often experience hormonal shifts and growth spurts, leading to a range of 95/65 to 125/85 mmHg.
- Teenagers (13-18 years) have a broader range due to ongoing hormonal, lifestyle, and growth changes, generally between 100/70 and 130/90 mmHg.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure For Young Adults?
For young adults, typically in their late teens to early 30s, normal blood pressure usually sits below 120/80 mmHg. This age group is expected to have the most optimal blood pressure levels, with the understanding that cardiovascular risk increases with age. Factors like stress, diet, physical activity, and genetics can affect these numbers.
- Normal: Below 120/80 mmHg indicates good heart health.
- Elevated: Systolic 120-129 / Diastolic <80 mmHg could progress to hypertension without lifestyle changes.
- Hypertension Stage 1: Systolic 130-139 / Diastolic 80-89 mmHg may require lifestyle changes or medication.
- Hypertension Stage 2: Systolic ≥140 / Diastolic ≥90 mmHg generally necessitates both medication and lifestyle changes.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure For The Elderly?
Elderly individuals, typically over 65, ideally should have blood pressure below 120/80 mmHg. However, slightly higher readings, such as up to 140/90 mmHg, may be acceptable in some cases, especially if lowering blood pressure leads to adverse effects. Consultation with healthcare professionals is crucial for personalized assessments.
- Normal: Below 120/80 mmHg, though slightly higher may be acceptable.
- Elevated: Systolic 120-129 / Diastolic <80 mmHg may signal cardiovascular risk.
- Hypertension Stage 1: Systolic 130-139 / Diastolic 80-89 mmHg often calls for medical intervention.
- Hypertension Stage 2: Systolic ≥140 / Diastolic ≥90 mmHg indicates a need for more intensive treatment.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, normal blood pressure should be below 120/80 mmHg, but variations can occur due to the body’s physiological changes. Monitoring is essential as blood pressure changes can signal complications.
- First Trimester: Usually similar to pre-pregnancy levels.
- Second Trimester: May decrease, often reaching the lowest levels mid-pregnancy.
- Third Trimester: Typically climbs back to first-trimester levels or higher.
- Elevated: Systolic 120-129 / Diastolic <80 mmHg during pregnancy may be concerning.
- Hypertension: At or above 140/90 mmHg requires medical attention.
- Preeclampsia: High blood pressure after 20 weeks of pregnancy, needing close monitoring.
What Is An Average Blood Pressure By Race/Ethnicity?
Blood pressure averages can differ among racial and ethnic groups due to genetic, socioeconomic, dietary, stress levels, and healthcare access factors.
- White Americans: Systolic average around 135.9 mmHg, diastolic around 72.8 mmHg.
- Hispanic Americans: Systolic average around 139.6 mmHg, diastolic around 76.1 mmHg.
- Black Americans: Systolic average around 141.0 mmHg, diastolic around 76.6 mmHg.
- Asian Americans: Systolic average around 140.3 mmHg, diastolic around 76.3 mmHg.
- Others: Systolic average around 134.7 mmHg, diastolic around 75.8 mmHg.
It’s vital to address this topic sensitively and avoid generalizing, considering individual health profiles and lifestyles.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure For Pets?
Blood pressure in pets varies by species and breed, with normal ranges for dogs and cats as follows:
- Dogs: 110-160/60-100 mmHg, with variances between large and small breeds.
- Cats: 120-170/55-100 mmHg, less often used diagnostically.
- Birds and Exotic Pets: Ranges vary significantly, and standard values are less established due to scarce research.
Why Monitoring Blood Pressure Is So Important?
Keeping track of blood pressure is a key indicator of heart health. Its importance is multifaceted:
- Early Detection: Regular checks can pinpoint high blood pressure early, often before symptoms show, allowing for prompt and more effective treatment.
- Treatment Monitoring: For those on blood pressure medications, it verifies treatment success and flags the need for adjustments.
- Prevention of Complications: Consistent monitoring can avert severe health issues like heart attacks and strokes by managing high blood pressure before it escalates.
- Lifestyle Impact Awareness: Understanding the effects of diet, activity, stress, and habits like smoking on blood pressure can motivate healthier choices.
- Management of Comorbidities: Blood pressure is affected by and can affect conditions like diabetes and kidney disease, so monitoring assists in overall health management.
- Crisis Prevention: Regular monitoring can help prevent a hypertensive crisis, a dangerous spike in blood pressure requiring emergency care.
- General Health Insights: Routine checks can shed light on overall cardiovascular health, encouraging proactive health measures.
- Motivation for Healthy Changes: Noting blood pressure trends can inspire lifestyle improvements for better health outcomes.
How To Check Blood Pressure At Home?
To accurately measure blood pressure at home, follow these steps:
- Choose a Monitor: Pick a dependable home blood pressure monitor, such as the Oxiline Pressure X Pro or CheckMe BP2.
- Get Settled: Sit at a table with your arm at heart level, back supported, feet flat, and relax for a few minutes before starting.
- Cuff Placement: Wrap the cuff around your upper arm, bare-skinned and snug, without tightening excessively.
- Relax: Rest for about 5 minutes before taking measurements to ensure accuracy.
- Take Readings: Turn on the monitor and take a few readings, spaced a minute apart. Average these for the most reliable result.
Adhering to these steps will help ensure your home readings are as dependable as those taken by a healthcare provider.
What Are The Top Blood Pressure Monitors For Home Use?
The leading blood pressure monitors for home accuracy hail from three manufacturers: Oxiline, CheckMe, and QardioArm. Here’s how they stack up:
- Oxiline: Renowned for the clear display of blood pressure ranges and high precision in measuring blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse. It also features a built-in schedule for tracking future readings.
- CheckMe: Known for its portability and Bluetooth connectivity, CheckMe monitors like the BP2A make data easily accessible on your smartphone. They offer simple operation with a single button and provide both blood pressure and ECG information.
- QardioArm: Distinguished for monitoring irregular heartbeats and delivering accurate blood pressure readings. It pairs with mobile devices to present data in graph and chart formats for easy interpretation.
While all three are top choices, Oxiline Pressure X Pro is often favored for its innovative approach. Clinicians sometimes recommend it for patient use due to its reliability. CheckMe also ranks highly, especially for those who want to track their cardiac health comprehensively, with seamless smartphone integration.
What Are The Natural Ways To Reduce Blood Pressure?
To manage blood pressure naturally, consider the following lifestyle and dietary adjustments:
- Diet: Embrace the DASH diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy, with reduced sodium and increased potassium and fiber.
- Exercise: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise weekly, plus strength training twice a week.
- Lifestyle: Cut out smoking entirely, limit alcohol and caffeine, manage stress through relaxation techniques, and ensure you get enough sleep.
- Hydration: Drink ample water to stay well-hydrated throughout the day.
- Supplements: Explore natural supplements like omega-3 fatty acids, garlic, and flaxseed to support blood pressure health, but always consult with a healthcare provider first.
For those keen on holistic heart health, it’s important to know your blood pressure numbers as a starting point.
Where To Get Printable Blood Pressure Chart?
A printed blood pressure chart is a convenient tool for monitoring and visualizing your blood pressure trends.
To get a printable version for yourself or to assist a healthcare provider or family member, you can subscribe to relevant health newsletters.
These often provide downloadable charts straight to your inbox, allowing you to maintain a physical record of your readings for easy reference and discussion during medical appointments.