Blood pressure is one of the most important vital statistics we count on to determine our health. Whenever we go to the doctor, that’s the first thing the nurse does, right? If blood pressure is so important, do we know what is a good blood pressure? Often, you hear numbers and a certain look on your doctor’s face, depending on your results. HPFY can give a little insight into what is considered normal blood pressure.
When we get our blood pressure results, what exactly do these numbers mean? The numbers you hear when your doctor or nurse takes your blood pressure are the systolic and diastolic values. To most of us, these terms mean nothing, but they are quite important. Systolic pressure is the pressure that is created by the heart while beating, as opposed to diastolic pressure, which is the pressure in between beats of your heart.
Your systolic pressure is the first number in blood pressure readings, while diastolic pressure is the lower number (hopefully) and is recorded in mmHg (which is millimeters of mercury). Depending upon your readings your doctor may determine that your blood pressure is high, low, or just right. Let’s hope for the Goldilocks zone where everything is just right!! Low or high blood pressure can be classified as:
While a normal, optimal, or good blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg or lower, here are some rough guidelines that can be different from patient to patient. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings for hypertension can be as follows:
While high blood pressure gets more attention, the complications from low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, can be just as serious. Lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings can become common as we age. With fainting and dizziness a key symptom of low blood pressure, falls can become common for those who suffer from low blood pressure. These falls can lead to breaks and fractures that have serious complications, especially in the elderly. Blood pressure readings can indicate a more serious underlying health issue. Some systolic and diastolic low blood pressure readings can include:
Your blood pressure results will dictate how often you should actually be checking your blood pressure. Your doctor may suggest checking for normal blood pressure once a year or more, depending on family history or lifestyle choices. If your doctor discovers that your blood pressure is elevated (pre-hypertension), he/she may want your blood pressure checked every 3-6 months. This can also apply to a diastolic pressure of lower than 80. This can also be accompanied by lifestyle changes and/or exercise suggestions.
For higher blood pressure readings, your doctor may opt for the same 3-6 months checkup as well as medication to lower your blood pressure. Often, your doctor may suggest testing your blood pressure at home since a real condition elevates your blood pressure in the doctor’s office. This can be called White Coat Hypertension and is related to the stress of visiting the doctor. You could do this with a portable blood pressure monitor or a wrist blood pressure monitor. These can allow you to regularly check your blood pressure in the comfort of your home.
Regardless of your blood pressure reading, it is a great piece of advice to closely monitor it for changes that may indicate a serious health issue. Whether you have your blood pressure tested at the doctor’s office or at home, any change should be relayed to your physician in the event medical intervention is necessary. Be proactive and stay healthy!!
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Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.
In 2006, ...
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