Understanding Blood Pressure Readings and What is “Normal”

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Having high blood pressure can put your health at risk. Learn more about what your blood pressure readings mean.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can increase your risk of having a heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and other serious medical issues. Questions to ask a pharmacist include what your blood pressure readings indicate. Knowing your reading and what it means can help you determine if you need to learn how to control it.

What Is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure refers to the amount of pressure your blood puts on the walls of your arteries. If this pressure is too high, it can lead to problems with your heart and other parts of your body. Knowing whether you need to be monitoring your blood pressure depends on how high your readings are.

Blood Pressure Readings

When you have blood pressure readings done, you will see two numbers with one above the other. Your systolic number is the one on top, while the diastolic number if the one on the bottom. The systolic number shows your blood pressure when your heart muscle contracts. The diastolic number shows your blood pressure when your heart muscle rests between contractions.

Normal Blood Pressure Readings

If your blood pressure is in the normal range, you will have readings that are below 120 for systolic and below 80 for diastolic. With this reading, you should continue maintaining healthy lifestyle choices so your blood pressure has a reduced risk of increasing. Keep in mind that your risk of having high blood pressure increases as you age. Taking steps now can help prevent that from happening or delay the onset of hypertension if you have other risk factors as well, such as family history of this condition.

Prehypertension Readings

If your blood pressure reading is between 120 and 139 for systolic and between 80 and 89 for diastolic, it is considered prehypertension. This means that you are at an increased risk of high blood pressure or hypertension. At this point you should make changes to your lifestyle, such as eating healthier and exercising.

Stage 1 Hypertension Readings

If your blood pressure is between 140 and 159 for systolic and between 90 and 99 for diastolic, it means you have stage 1 hypertension. Although you have hypertension, you can still bring your blood pressure down to normal levels with healthy lifestyle changes. Your doctor will want to check your blood pressure after you have made these changes to see if they are working. If your blood pressure is still high, you might need to take medication to bring it down and reduce your risk of complications.

Stage 2 Hypertension Readings

If your blood pressure is 160 or higher for systolic and 100 or higher for diastolic, it means you have stage 2 hypertension. This stage of hypertension is more serious than stage 1, but you can still lower it through medication and healthy lifestyle changes.

If you have questions about your blood pressure, contact Smith-Caldwell Drugstore at 501-392-5470 to schedule Blood Pressure Monitoring with one of our experienced pharmacists today.