To understand what high blood pressure is you must first understand how blood pressure is measured. Blood pressure is the force in the arteries when the heart beats (systolic pressure) and when the heart is at rest (diastolic pressure). Your blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury or mm Hg. High blood pressure is also known as hypertension and is characterized in an adult when the systolic pressure is equal to or greater than 140 mm Hg and the diastolic pressure is equal to or greater than 90 mm Hg.
Consistent high blood pressure increases your chance of getting heart disease that can lead to a heart attack and/or a stroke. High blood pressure is not just a problem for people over the age of 35, and young people can even have high blood pressure. High blood pressure is more common in those who are African-American, middle-aged or elderly, obese, heavy drinkers, and women who are taking birth control pills. People with other illnesses such as diabetes mellitus, gout or kidney disease are also prone to high blood pressure. People with a family history of high blood pressure may also be prone to the same problem, although just because others in your family have high blood pressure, it does not necessarily mean that you will.
What is Considered Normal Blood Pressure?
The normal systolic mm hg is less than 120 and the diastolic mm Hg is less than 80. For pre-hypertension, the systolic mm Hg is between 120 and 139 and the diastolic mm Hg is between 80 and 89. High blood pressure in stage 1 will give a reading of 140 to 159 for the systolic mm Hg and 90 to 99 for the diastolic mm Hg. In stage 2 of high blood pressure, the readings will be 160 or higher for the systolic mm Hg and 100 or higher for the diastolic mm Hg.
Normal blood pressure is measured by systolic pressure over diastolic pressure. Normal blood pressure is generally considered 120 systolic over 80 diastolic or anything below 120/80. Of course, blood pressure can be too low as well, but in general, doctors like to see a normal blood pressure of 120/80 and below.
Normal Blood Pressure Guidelines
When your blood pressure goes beyond the normal blood pressure range you are looking at the risk of some serious health problems. Every 20 point increase in your systolic blood pressure and 10 point increase in your diastolic blood pressure doubles the chance you will have a heart attack or stroke. So, if your blood pressure is 140/90 you have a 50% higher chance of heart attack or stroke. Many times high blood pressure does not have symptoms, so you should have regular checkups to make sure you still have normal blood pressure.
If your normal blood pressure starts creeping upwards then you will need to control it to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. The best way to maintain normal blood pressure is through diet and exercise. Of course, there are prescription drugs to help maintain normal blood pressure, but if you can maintain it yourself through diet and exercise that is the best plan.
You can also learn to take your blood pressure and measure the results, more or less, by simply understanding what is considered normal blood pressure and what is not. Of course, you might want to talk to your physician about what normal blood pressure applies to you. Lifestyle changes can help keep your blood pressure under control. Simple things such as cutting back of sustaining from alcohol and smoking and bring your blood pressure under control. Talking with your physician concerning your diet and high blood pressure may be all that you need, but in some cases, medication is necessary to control high blood pressure.