blood pressure check
A normal blood pressure check should be below 120/80 mmHg in adults (18 years and older).

According to the American Heart Association, the normal blood pressure check should be below 120/80 mmHg in adults (18 years old and older).

Blood pressure is the force applied by the blood over the inner walls of the arteries. Although the average blood pressure for a person remains constant, it shows minor fluctuations throughout the day—declining while relaxing and momentarily increasing while being excited or under stress. An increase in resting blood pressure can scar, stiffen, or harden the arteries.

Blood pressure is written as systolic and diastolic values. Hence, BP 120/80 mm Hg means 120 is the systolic number, and 80 is the diastolic number.

Table. Normal blood pressure by age
Age (Years) Systolic blood pressure (SBP) in mmHg Diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in mmHg
Male
21 to 25 120.5 78.5
26 to 30 119.5 76.5
31 to 35 114.5 75.5
36 to 40 120.5 75.5
41 to 45 115.5 78.5
46 to 50 119.5 80.5
51 to 55 125.5 80.5
56 to 60 129.5 79.5
61 to 65 143.5 76.5
Female
21 to 25 115.5 70.5
26 to 30 113.5 71.5
31 to 35 110.5 72.5
36 to 40 112.5 74.5
41 to 45 116.5 73.5
46 to 50 124 78.5
51 to 55 122.55 74.5
56 to 60 132.5 78.5
61 to 65 130.5 77.5

Why should blood pressure be kept in check?

Higher than normal blood pressure can result in heart attack, heart failure, and increase the risk of stroke, kidney failure, and aneurysmal rupture.

  • Elevated blood pressure: It refers to blood pressure readings consistently ranging from 120 to 129 mmHg systolic and less than 80 mmHg diastolic. People with elevated blood pressure are at the risk of developing high blood pressure unless steps are taken to control it. This puts them at the risk of developing sudden blindness, peripheral arterial diseases, and dementia.
  • Hypertension stage I: In this condition, blood pressure readings consistently range from 130 to 139 mmHg systolic or 80 to 89 mmHg diastolic. Doctors may prescribe blood pressure medications and some lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of heart disease, kidney ailments, and stroke.
  • Hypertension stage II: Refers to blood pressure readings of 140/90 mmHg or higher. The doctors may prescribe a combination of both medications and lifestyle changes.
  • Hypertensive crisis: It refers to an emergency where the blood pressure suddenly exceeds 180/120 mmHg. Contact the physician immediately if the following symptoms are experienced:

How can I keep my blood pressure in check?

Lifestyle changes and regular exercises can help maintain normal blood pressure in healthy individuals.

Some of the suggested lifestyle changes are:

  • Quit smoking
  • Lose weight
  • Avoid alcohol or at least limit the intake
  • Eat a low-sodium, low-fat diet, such as the dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) diet
  • Avoid too much stress
  • Eat foods rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium, such as bananas and milk
  • Regular monitoring of blood pressure after reaching the age of 35 years
  • Practice meditation and other stress-relieving exercises
  • Cut back on caffeine

However, if a person has high blood pressure, they should take prescribed blood pressure medications, which may include:

Low blood pressure can be prevented or treated using the following methods:

  • Consume a diet high in salt
  • Limit alcoholic drinks
  • Stay hydrated, especially during the hot weather or during viral flu
  • Drink more nonalcoholic drinks
  • Exercise regularly to encourage blood flow
  • Avoid sitting or standing quickly
  • While rising, take care to sit upright for a few seconds and then get off the bed
  • Stay away from heavy lifting
  • Avoid standing still for a prolonged time
  • Avoid straining while passing stools
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to hot water, such as sauna, hot water springs, and spas
  • Compression stocking covering the thigh and calf restricts the blood flow to the lower part of the body
  • Try eating smaller, more frequent meals to avoid post-meal dizziness
  • Any consumption of over-the-counter medications should be reported to the physician

SLIDESHOW

How to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise and Tips See Slideshow

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Medically Reviewed on 1/25/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

National Institutes of Health. High Blood Pressure and Older Adults. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/high-blood-pressure-and-older-adults