Blood Pressure Chart: High, Low, Normal Readings
Synopsis: Blood pressure chart showing what your blood pressure levels and numbers mean, including normal blood pressure and the difference between systolic and diastolic readings. Blood pressure measurements are written as one above, or before, the other, with the systolic reading being the first number and the diastolic blood pressure measurement the second number, for example, 120/75 or (120 over 75). Systolic Pressure is the blood pressure reading when your heart beats. This reading is always the first or top number. Diastolic Pressure is blood pressure measurement when your heart relaxes. This is always the second or bottom number.
- Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the measurement of the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association divides blood pressure into four general categories. Ideal blood pressure is categorized as normal. Increased blood pressure may be classified as elevated, stage 1, or stage 2, depending on the specific numbers. High blood pressure (hypertension) can be dangerous if not treated. It can put you at risk for stroke, heart failure, kidney failure, and other medical problems.
NOTE: High blood pressure often does not cause any signs of illness that you can see or feel. It is important to make an appointment with your doctor or another healthcare provider to check your blood pressure.
What Does Blood Pressure Refer To?
Blood pressure refers to the force exerted by circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels and constitutes one of the body's principal vital signs. The pressure of the circulating blood decreases as blood moves through your arteries, arterioles, capillaries, and veins. The term blood pressure generally refers to your arterial pressure, i.e., the pressure in the larger arteries, arteries being the blood vessels that take blood away from the heart. 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, both are written as one above or before, the other with the systolic being the first number, for example, 120/75 (120 over 75). Blood pressure measurement is NOT the same as your heart rate (pulse) or maximum heart rate measurement. Check what your heart rate for your age should be. 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.
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 gauge. When the bulb is pumped, it inflates the bladder inside the cuff wrapped around your arm. This inflation will stop the blood flow in your arteries.
The stethoscope is used to listen for the sound of the heartbeat, and no sound indicates no flow. As the pressure is released from the bladder, you will hear the blood flowing again. That point becomes reading your blood pressure systolic. The diastolic reading is when you hear no sound again, which means the blood flow is back to normal.
|Blood Pressure||Systolic mm Hg||Diastolic mm Hg|
|Normal||Less Than 120||and||Less Than 80|
|Blood pressure numbers of less than 120/80 are considered within the normal range. Keep up heart-healthy habits, follow a balanced diet, and exercise regularly.|
|Elevated||120 - 129||and||Less Than 80|
|This level of blood pressure is when readings consistently range from 120-129 systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic. Steps should be taken to control your blood pressure.|
|Hypertension Stage 1||130 - 139||or||80 - 89|
|At this stage of high blood pressure, doctors are likely to prescribe lifestyle changes. They may consider adding blood pressure medication based on your risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack or stroke.|
|Hypertension Stage 2||140 or Over||or||90 or Over|
|At this stage of high blood pressure, doctors are likely to prescribe a combination of blood pressure medications and lifestyle changes.|
|Hypertensive Crisis||Over 180||and/or||Over 120|
|This level of high blood pressure requires medical attention immediately. You may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness or weakness, change in vision, or difficulty speaking.|
|Normal, healthy, and unhealthy blood pressure ranges as recommended by the American Heart Association.|
NOTE: A healthcare provider recommends you get your blood pressure checked at least once a year. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure (or other related conditions), your doctor may recommend getting it checked more often.
Human Blood Pressure Facts
- The general pattern is that blood pressure rises with age, so normal variations are higher for older adults.
- Blood pressure can be higher in obese people because the heart has to work harder to perfuse the body's tissues.
- Factors that influence blood pressure include age, sex, ethnicity, weight, exercise, emotions/stress, pregnancy, and diurnal rhythm, as well as medication use and disease processes.
- Blood pressure is similar in childhood for males and females. After puberty, females have a lower blood pressure than males, whereas, after menopause, females have a higher blood pressure than males.
- The sympathetic nervous system is stimulated by exercise, stress, anxiety, pain, anger, and fear, which increases blood pressure. Blood pressure returns to baseline within five minutes of rest following activity.
- The diurnal cycle influences blood pressure to be lower in the morning and increase throughout the day until early evening. This is one reason healthcare providers document the time a client's blood pressure is taken.
- Research has revealed that ethnicity may be a predictor of blood pressure, but this causation is not necessarily biological but rather sociocultural. When determining the risk for high blood pressure, it is important to consider ethnicity as a contributing factor.
- Blood pressure varies throughout the duration of pregnancy. It decreases about halfway through the first trimester until mid-pregnancy due to progesterone effects that relax the walls of blood vessels, causing decreased peripheral vascular resistance. It returns to pre-pregnancy values toward the end of pregnancy.
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Disabled World is an independent disability community founded in 2004 to provide disability news and information to people with disabilities, seniors, their family and/or carers. See our homepage for informative reviews, exclusive stories and how-tos. You can connect with us on social media such as X.com and our Facebook page.
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