Blood pressure is the force applied to the walls of the blood vessels, arteries and veins when the heart pumps blood around the body. Blood pressure, which is counted in millimeters of mercury, has two separate readings. The systolic reading measures the blood pressure when the heart is beating or contracting. The diastolic reading is the measure of pressure between contractions, and is always a lower figure.
In the past a normal blood pressure range was considered less than 130/85 and more than 90/60, but the parameters have changed in the past few years. Now a consistent reading of 120/80 or more is considered a sign of prehypertension, a warning to change your habits and lower your blood pressure. The new normal blood pressure range is between 90/60 and 119/79.
A blood pressure measurement of 90/60 is considered borderline low. A reading of 60/40 is too low and medical treatment is required to correct it. If a person’s blood pressure measures as little as 50/33 they are in danger of permanent damage to the internal organs because oxygen and nutrients cannot get to them. Extremely low blood pressure or hypotension can cause coma or death. Very young children and athletes generally have measurements at the lower end of the normal blood pressure range.
If your blood pressure readings are consistently between 120/80 and 140/90 you do not have hypertension, but you could be headed in that direction if you do not change your ways. A reading of 120/80 is now at the top of the normal blood pressure range. A normal blood pressure reading should ideally be less than 120/80 so if yours is higher you might want do more exercise eat less junk food and cut down on salt, sugar, alcohol, nicotine and saturated fat.
If your blood pressure reading is between 140/90 and 160/100 you have stage one hypertension. You should try to amend your lifestyle and if that isn’t enough to get you down to a normal blood pressure range then perhaps you should ask your doctor about prescription medication.
If your blood pressure exceeds 160/100 you definitely require medication to correct the problem because you are at very high risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, aneurysm or renal failure. Bear in mind that severe hypertension puts excessive tension on the heart and can cause the blood vessels in major organs to burst open. Severe hypertension can and does kill people every day.
Regular blood pressure testing is very important for several reasons. First, one test is not enough to determine if your measurements are within the normal blood pressure range. Everybody’s blood pressure changes quite radically according to how relaxed they feel and what they happen to be doing. Several tests are needed to determine a person’s average blood pressure.
Furthermore, it is only through regular testing that you can determine whether your blood pressure is lower or higher than it should be. Therefore you should get regular tests from your health care provider. Alternatively you could purchase a home monitor so that you can test to see if your measurements are within the normal blood pressure range as and when you wish to.