Checking your blood pressure regularly is one of the most important tests you can and should do on your own. Invest in a blood pressure monitor or check your blood pressure regularly at your doctor’s as the numbers you get tell you a lot about your health.
Checking your blood pressure, however, has no sense if you can’t understand the numbers your see. Therefore, learn some essential facts about the blood pressure and find out how to read the numbers and how to recognize some worrying signs.
Why Is Blood Pressure So Important
If somebody asked you a question what blood pressure is, would you know how to answer it? The majority of people would have a problem with answering this simple question.
As the term suggests it’s simply the pressure that your blood puts on your vessels when it travels around the body. Your blood forms in your heart and it travels from there to all the important organs of your body. Therefore, the pressure it travels with is an essential factor that can measure the state of your well-being.
Basically, your blood pressure can be low, normal, or high, with the normal one being the most desired one. Blood pressure which is too high or too low may result in very serious health problem. What’s more, abnormal blood pressure is often the first sign that there is something wrong with your health.
Therefore, it’s extremely important to understand the numbers and blood pressure readings. Once you notice that your blood pressure is too high or too low, consult your doctor immediately.
Diastolic and Systolic Blood Pressure
Everybody knows that two numbers appear when we check our blood pressure, but what do they exactly mean? In fact, the two numbers are known as diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
The first number you see is always higher and it shows the amount of pressure that is put on your arteries when your heart beats. This first number is known as systolic pressure.
The second number you see is always lower and it presents the pressure put on your arteries between your heart beats, when your heart refills with blood. This second number is known as diastolic pressure.
In a medical world there are specific recommendations for these numbers, which show if your pressure is fine and you are healthy or if you deal with so called hypotension or hypertension. The former one means that your blood pressure is too low while the latter one suggests it’s too high.
We talk about hypotension when your blood pressure is lower than 90/60 mmHg. Normal, healthy pressure is lower than 120/80 mmHg. The state of so called prehypertension is between the numbers 120/180 and 129/80.
Prehypertension is the first sign that something wrong is beginning to happen. It’s not a condition yet, but if at this point you ignore it, it’s highly probable that you will develop hypertension in the future.
Therefore, prehypertension should also be consulted with your doctor. Introducing some changes into your diet is often just enough to stop the development of hypertension.
Higher blood pressure means that there is the state of hypertension, which means that your blood pressure is too high. The stage one of hypertension is between 130/80 to 139/89 mmHg, stage two of hypertension is when your blood pressure is higher than 140/90 mmHg.
Blood pressure of 180/120 mmHg and higher is known as hypertension crisis and it’s a state which requires immediate medical help.
Have a look at the chart which clearly presents these categories:
|Blood Pressure Classification||The First Number: Systolic Blood Pressure (mmHg)||The Second Number: Diastolic Blood Pressure (mmHg)|
(Low blood pressure)
|Less than 90|
Less than 60
Normal Blood Pressure
Less than 80
Hypertension Stage 1 (High Blood Pressure)
|Hypertension Stage 2 (High Blood Pressure)||140 and higher|
90 and higher
Hypertension Crisis (Call 911)
|140 and higher|
90 and higher
Both numbers can tell you important information about your health, but systolic number is more important as some abnormalities in this sphere may cause more serious health problems, especially if it concerns elderly people.
Blood Pressure – Your Age And Gender
Two very important factors while understanding blood pressure readings include your age and whether you’re a man or a woman. The chart below can be a wonderful guideline to check if your blood pressure is normal.
Some slight changes may appear only between the age group of 15 and 19 as the systolic number may be higher in case of taller individuals.
|Age (mmHg)||Female Blood Pressure (mmHg)||Male Blood Pressure (mmHg)|
|60 or older||134/84|
A common mistake is that people of different age and gender compare their blood pressure readings or understand them the same way. Now, you will be aware that healthy blood pressure depends on gender and it changes with your age.
Read next page (button below) to read more about Blood Pressure Levels, Hypertension and Hypotension.