blood pressure ranges
The American Heart Association outlines that a normal blood pressure reading of 120/80 mm Hg for adults.

Blood pressure (BP) is the force that the blood column exerts against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood with every beat.

BP is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), and it is composed of two numbers (fraction). The first (upper) number refers to systolic BP, and the second (lower) number refers to diastolic BP.

Systolic refers to “contraction,” that is, the pressure exerted on the blood vessels when the heart contracts; diastolic refers to “dilatation,” that is when the heart is at rest and dilates between the beats.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), normal BP in adults is 120/80 mm Hg. However, according to the new guidelines issued by the AHA, the goal BP for all adults is now less than 130/80 mm Hg.

Heart rate or pulse is the number of times the heart beats per minute (BPM).

Normal resting heart rates are as follows:

  • Adults (18 years and older): 60 to 100 BPM
  • Children (6 to 15 years): 70 to 100 BPM
stroke

What Is Considered Stroke-Level High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure readings above 180/120 mmHg are considered stroke-level, dangerously high, and require immediate medical attention.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the leading cause of strokes in the U.S. However, understanding risk factors and blood pressure readings can help people seek appropriate treatment:

Table. The stages of hypertension
Blood pressure category Systolic (mm Hg) Diastolic (mm Hg)
Normal Less than 120 Less than 80
Prehypertension 120 to 129 Less than 80
Hypertension stage I 130 to 139 80 to 89
Hypertension stage II 140 or above 90 or above
Hypertensive crisis More than 180 More than 120

What is the ideal blood pressure for my age?

Estimated blood pressure (BP) ranges as recommended by the American Heart Association is as shown in the chart below:

Table. The recommended BP ranges by the American Heart Association
Age (years) SBP (mm Hg) DBP (mm Hg)
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

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What is a good pulse rate by age?

According to the American Heart Association, a normal resting heart rate is 60 to100 beats per minute (BPM) for people who are 15 years and older. However, a low heart rate is common in athletes, physically fit people, and people who take medications such as beta-blockers.

Certain diseases such as hypothyroidism and sick sinus syndrome may present with abnormally low pulse rates.

The normal heart rate by age is as shown in the chart below:

Table. The normal heart rate by age
Age Heart rate in BPM
Newborn baby 100 to 160
0 to 5 months 90 to 150
6 to 12 months 80 to 140
1 to 3 years 80 to 130
3 to 5 years 80 to 120
6 to 10 years 70 to 110
11 to 14 years 60 to 105
15 years and under 60 to 100

What factors influence blood pressure?

  • Age: Blood pressure (BP) tend to increase with age.
  • Gender: Women after puberty have low BP than men, whereas, after menopause, women tend high BP.
  • Genetics/family history: A family history puts you at risk of high BP.
  • Weight: Being overweight or obese increases your risk of high BP.
  • Diurnal variation: BP is lower in the morning and gradually increases throughout the day.
  • Stress: BP increases during stress, emotions, fear, and anger situations due to stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system.
  • Exercise: Physical activity increases BP, but regular exercises can keep BP in the lower range of normal.
  • Pregnancy: Progesterone relaxes the walls of blood vessels, causing decreased peripheral vascular resistance. Some women may develop pregnancy-induced hypertension.
  • Diseases: Diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, and pheochromocytoma can cause high BP.
  • Medications: Certain medications can affect BP such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, antianxiety medications, and prednisone.
  • Alcohol or tobacco consumption: Drinking too much alcohol can increase your BP.

5 categories of blood pressure

According to guidelines from the American Heart Association, blood pressure (BP) is categorized into the following:

  1. Normal: A BP reading of less than 120/80 mm Hg
  2. Elevated: A consistent systolic reading of 120 to 129 and a diastolic reading below 80 mm Hg
  3. Hypertension stage I: BP ranges from 130 to 139 systolic or 80 to 89 diastolic
  4. Hypertension stage II: BP ranges above 140 systolic or above 90 diastolic
  5. Hypertensive crisis: BP readings suddenly exceed 180 and/or 120 mm Hg, associated with organ damage

What are the types of abnormal heart rate?

A condition in which the heart beats with an irregular or abnormal rhythm is called arrhythmia.

Types of arrhythmias include:

  • Bradycardia: A heart rate below 60 beats per minute (BPM)
  • Tachycardia: A heart rate above 100 BPM
    • Atrial or supraventricular tachycardia: Occurs in the atria (upper chamber) of the heart
    • Sinus tachycardia: A faster heart rate in a normal-functioning heart
    • Ventricular tachycardia: Occurs in the ventricles (lower chamber) of the heart

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Medically Reviewed on 5/2/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Images

Identification of normal blood pressure in different age group. NIH: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4998762/

Edward Charbek. Normal vital signs. Medscape: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2172054-overview#a2

Understanding blood pressure readings: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/understanding-blood-pressure-readings

All about heart rate (pulse): https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/the-facts-about-high-blood-pressure/all-about-heart-rate-pulse