What is Blood Pressure? Blood pressure refers to the force exerted by circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels and constitutes one of the principal vital signs. The pressure of the circulating blood decreases as blood moves through arteries, arterioles, capillaries, and veins; the term blood pressure generally refers to arterial pressure, i.e., the pressure in the larger arteries, arteries being the blood vessels which take blood away from the heart.
NOTE: Blood pressure is NOT the same as heart rate (pulse). You can check what your heart rate for your age should be here.
You can calculate your predicted maximum heart rate by using the calculation: 220 - (age) = Age Predicted Maximum Heart Rate, or see our Target Heart Rate Calculator and Chart.
Blood pressure is always given as two numbers;
- Systolic Pressure (when the heart beats)
- Diastolic Pressure (when the heart relaxes)
When the measurements are written down, both are written one above, or before, the other with the systolic being the first number.
Low Blood Pressure Range
Blood pressure that is too low is known as hypotension.
|Systolic pressure (mm Hg)||Diastolic pressure (mm Hg)||Pressure Range|
|90||60||Borderline Low blood Pressure|
|60||40||Too Low Blood Pressure|
|50||33||Dangerously Low Blood Pressure|
Normal Blood Pressure Range
Blood pressure reading below 120/80 is considered normal.
|Systolic pressure(mm Hg)||Diastolic pressure (mm Hg)||Pressure Range|
|130||85||High Normal Blood Pressure|
|120||80||Normal Blood Pressure|
|110||75||Low Normal Blood Pressure|
High Blood Pressure Range
If one or both numbers are usually high, you have high blood pressure (Hypertension).
|Systolic pressure (mm Hg)||Diastolic pressure (mm Hg)||Stages of High Blood Pressure|
What should my blood pressure be according to my age?
This chart shows the average blood pressure range by age.
|Age||Systolic BP||Diastolic BP|
Blood Pressure Chart for Children
|Age||Males (mmHg)||Females (mmHg)|
|1 - 3||80/34 - 120/75||83/38 - 117/76|
|4 to 6||88/47 - 128/84||88/50 - 122/83|
|7 - 10||92/53 - 130/90||93/55 - 129/88|
The Signs and Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
Signs of high blood pressure include, headache dizziness, pounding in ears, and a bloody nose. These symptoms typically don't occur until high blood pressure has reached an advanced and even a possibly life threatening stage. see other Signs of High Blood Pressure
What causes high blood pressure?
For most people who suffer with hypertension, there is no obvious cause why their blood pressure is high. This condition is called essential hypertension and it is especially important that it is kept under control. More information on What causes High Blood Pressure?
Measuring your blood pressure.
Healthcare professionals use a stethoscope and a manual sphygmomanometer to measure your blood pressure. Typically they take the reading above your elbow. The sphygmomanometer has a bladder, cuff, bulb, and a gauge. When the bulb is pumped it inflates the bladder inside the cuff, which is wrapped around your arm. This inflation will stop the blood flow in your arteries. The stethoscope is used to listen for sound of the heartbeat, and no sound indicates that there is no flow. As the pressure is released from the bladder, you will hear the sound of the blood flowing again. That point becomes systolic reading. The diastolic reading is when you hear no sound again, which means that the blood flow is back to normal.
Blood pressure 100 plus your age
Medical research shows that as we age blood pressure rises slightly to accommodate an increased demand of oxygen and nutrients. It is completely natural for the first number (systolic) to be 100 plus our age. A recent study by a group of UCLA researchers came very close to corroborating Dr. Piette's guide for blood pressure of 100 plus your age for men, subtracting 10 for women, and this is after this rule had been in use for five or more decades. Are we now being taught that Dr. Piette's guide for blood pressure is wrong merely for drug company profit?
Symptoms of heart attack
The heart requires blood to bring oxygen, and nutrients to its muscle tissue. The narrowing of the arteries due to blockage can cause high blood pressure. If this blockage occurs in the arteries of the heart, coronary arteries, heart muscle damage can occur, resulting in a heart attack
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, however most heart attacks start slowly with mild pain and discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. Shortness of breath may occur, as well as nausea, or lightheadedness. It is vital to get help immediately if any of these symptoms occur.
Symptoms of a stroke
The brain requires unobstructed blood flow to nourish its many functions. Very high, sustained blood pressure will eventually cause blood vessels to weaken. Over time these weaken vessels can break, and blood will leak into the brain. The area of the brain that is being fed by these broken vessels start to die, and this will cause a stroke. Additionally, if a blot clot blocks a narrowed artery, blood ceases to flow and a stroke will occur.
Symptoms of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body, confusion, trouble speaking, or seeing, sudden severe headache. If you or someone with you has one or more of these signs, don't delay, call 911.
You are at risk for cardiovascular disease if:
- You have diabetes.
- Your diet is high in saturated fats.
- You consume more than two alcoholic drinks per day.
- You have high blood pressure or need medication to control your blood pressure.
- You have high cholesterol levels or need medication to control your cholesterol level.
- You exercise less than 30 minutes per day - Inactivity puts a person at higher risk of developing heart disease.
- You are overweight - Persons that have an excess of body fat are at a higher risk than persons of normal weight.
- You are over 40 or a post-menopausal woman - Risk of heart disease increases over the age of 45 in males, over 55 in females.
- Family History - Children of parents that developed heart disease before the age of 55 have a higher risk of developing heart disease.
- You smoke - Cigarette smokers are at greater risk than pipe and cigar smokers, but all forms of tobacco are proven to be detrimental to the hearts health.
If you answered yes to one or more of the above, you should talk to your doctor about how you can reduce your risk through lifestyle modifications. Your doctor will determine if preventative therapies such as ASPIRIN 81mg are right for you.
Medications for reducing high blood pressure
There are several types of blood pressure medications and if one doesn't work, then ask your doctor to switch to another until your blood pressure becomes stable.
Adalat - A dihydropyridine calcium blocker. It is mostly used for treating hypertension and Angina Pectoris. Other conditions that benefit from Adalat are Raynaud's phenomenon, Tetanus and Angina Pectoris. Brand names of the drug include Procardia and Nifedical. More information on Adalat
Aldactone - While regularly prescribed for high-blood-pressure patients, the drug can also be prescribed along with other drugs. However, the drug is useful only for controlling, rather than curing, high blood pressure. More information on Aldactone
What is Angina?
Angina is a form of heart disease where the blood flow to the heart is restricted by a blockage in one or more of the arteries that carry blood into the heart. Usually, the first sign Angina is a pain in the chest, not unlike a squeezing or pressing sensation. Introduction to Angina
Printable Blood Pressure Chart
(right click chart below and select print)
You may also be interested in our Blood Type Chart - which provides information regarding blood types including charts and donor compatibility.