Understanding The Main Blood Pressure Ranges

If you have often been baffled by blood pressure readings, you’re not alone. What’s normal and what’s not normal can be confusing. Think of this as a course in blood pressure 101, understanding the main blood pressure ranges.

Lesson #1 – What Is Blood PressureDoctor taking woman's blood pressure

Blood pressure means how strongly the blood in our veins pushes against our blood vessel walls. If it rises above a certain level, it means you should pay attention because your heart is working too hard.

This is the definition of high blood pressure or hypertension. Having consistently high blood pressure can lead to some serious health conditions. You can develop kidney disease, heart failure, stroke, or hardening of the arteries known as atherosclerosis.

Lesson #2 – Understanding What The Main Blood Pressure Numbers Mean

The upper number in measuring blood pressure is known as Systolic pressure. This measures the amount of pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.

The lower number indicates Diastolic pressure. This measures how much pressure blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.

  • Normal blood pressure = less than 120 (systolic) / less than 80 (diastolic)
  • Elevated blood pressure = 120-129  / less than 80
  • High blood pressure or hypertension (stage 1) =  130-139  / 80-89
  • High blood pressure (stage 2) = 140+  / 90+
  • Crisis = 180+  / 120+  Do not delay to call 911 if your blood pressure reaches this stage.

Once a consistent blood pressure reading is recognized by your cardiologist, you will receive recommendations regarding changing your lifestyle, and/or adding medications unless you are in the normal range.

Lesson #3 – Understanding Who Is At Risk For High Blood Pressure

Anyone can have high blood pressure, but some adults are more at risk than others.

Getting older increases your risk of high blood pressure.

Your gender can affect blood pressure. Men have a higher risk before age 55, whereas women have increased risk after menopause.

If you have members of your family with high blood pressure, your risk increases.

African Americans have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure.

Lesson #4 – Understanding How To Manage Your Blood Pressure

Regular exercise, a healthy diet and weight, limiting your consumption of alcohol and salt, along with controlling stress can all contribute to maintaining normal blood pressure. And YES, stop smoking.

Contact New Jersey Cardiology Associates if you are concerned about your elevated blood pressure. Call your preferred location directly, or request an appointment online. We have clinics in West Orange, Belleville, Toms River, and Clifton.