Blood Pressure

Do you have high blood pressure? Some people have misconceptions of what blood pressure is. Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by the blood when blood circulates upon the walls of the blood vessels. The heart beats normally at a normal resting 60-100 beats per minute for people 18 years and above. This involuntary action of the heart also means that the heart releases blood into the arteries. When the heart beats and pumps blood, the blood pressure is higher. This is referred to as systolic pressure. The blood pressure declines when the heart is at rest and this usually occurs between beats. This is called as diastolic pressure.

Normal blood pressure

When your health provider checks your blood pressure, he or she usually tells you two recordings: the systolic (high one) and the diastolic (lower one). The readings are in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

Normal blood pressure can vary among people according to age.

CATEGORIESSYSTOLIC in mm HgDIASTOLIC in mm Hg
Infants (1 to 12 months)75-10050-70
Toddlers (1 to 3 years age)80-11050-80
Preschoolers (3 to 5 years old)80-11050-80
School Age (6 to 13 years age)85-12050-80
Adolescents (13 to 18 years old)95-14060-90
Adult (18 years old and above)90-11960-79

An adult’s normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg.

If a person measures 125/85, it is called High Normal. Constant monitoring of blood pressure is needed to avoid developing high blood pressure in as short as four years in people with High Normal Blood Pressure reading. A lifestyle change may be imperative to achieve normal blood pressure.

When a person has elevated blood pressure, he is already considered hypertensive. A reading between 120/80 and 139/89 is called prehypertension  while a reading of at least 140/90 is classified as hypertension.

Measuring blood pressure

To measure blood pressure, two instruments are needed: a stethoscope and a sphygmomanometer or simply sphygmometer. Nowadays, however, digital blood pressure readers are available so that blood pressure monitoring can be done regularly. The reliability of the reading, though, is not as accurate as that of the stethoscope and the sphygmomanometer.

Studies of hypertensive individuals revealed that many of them did not know they have hypertension or high blood pressure because there are no symptoms whatsoever. Blood pressure when it exceeds the normal range can lead to other debilitating disorders like stroke, heart diseases and other complications. When this happens, the risk of hypertension becoming a life-threatening disease is increased. It is very important to constantly record your blood pressure reading so that medications will be given.