The force exerted on the walls of arteries by the circulating blood is called Blood Pressure. When the heart pumps blood into the arteries, it produces blood pressure and it constitutes one of the body’s most vital signs. Blood pressure is measured by an instrument called ‘sphygmomanometer’ in the units of millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The blood pressure measurement is recorded by two numbers. The first one is the systolic pressure (high value) which is measured when the heart contracts and pumps blood into the arteries. The second value is the diastolic pressure (low value) which is measured when the heart muscles relax and allow the blood to enter the heart. The measured values are written as systolic and diastolic numbers.
For example, if a person has 120/80 mmHg blood pressure, it means his systolic pressure is 120 and diastolic is 80. An elevated or increased blood pressure is called Hypertension. A decreased or very low blood pressure is referred to as Hypotension.
Normal Blood pressure
When the systolic pressure is 120 (±10) mmHg and diastolic pressure is 80 (±5) mmHg then it is called Normal Blood pressure.
Normal Blood Pressure Range:
High Normal Blood Pressure: 130/85 mmHg
Normal Blood Pressure: 120/80 mmHg
Low Normal Blood Pressure: 110/75 mmHg
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
There are three stages of hypertension. These are as follows:
Stage one hypertension: In stage one; the systolic blood pressure is continuously in-between 130-139 mmHg and diastolic pressure is consistently in the range of 80-89 mmHg. The health experts may prescribe some medicines to lower down the elevated blood pressure or some
lifestyle modifications to decrease the possibility of stroke and heart ailments.
Stage two hypertension: In this stage, the blood pressure values are continuously in the range of 140/90 mmHg or even beyond that. Usually, the doctors prescribe both medications along with lifestyle modifications.
Hypertensive crisis (stage three and four): In a hypertensive crisis, the blood pressure abruptly increases above 180/120 mmHg. This is an emergency situation and requires immediate medical intervention. The person should immediately contact a general physician if the symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, numbness, back pain, difficulty in speaking, change in vision, etc. are experienced.
High Blood Pressure Range:
Stage 1: 140/90 mmHg
Stage 2: 160/100 mmHg
Stage 3: 180/110 mmHg
Stage 4: 210/120 mmHg
Treatment: Regular exercise and lifestyle modifications can help in reducing elevated blood pressure. The patient should not smoke, avoid alcohol, eat a low-salt and low-fat diet, limit caffeine intake, eat foods rich in magnesium, calcium, and potassium ( for example, banana and
milk), and check the blood pressure regularly after 35 years of age. The patient should also practice stress-relieving exercises and meditation. The diabetes doctors may prescribe medicines such as diuretics, vasodilators, beta-blockers, etc. to cure high blood pressure. Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension) Systolic blood pressure below 90 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure below 60 mmHg is generally called Hypotension. It can cause fainting and dizziness and in some severe cases, it can even be fatal as blood fails to reach the brain.
Low Blood Pressure Range:
Borderline Low Blood Pressure: 90/60 mmHg
Too Low Blood Pressure: 60/40 mmHg
Dangerously Low Blood Pressure: 50/33 mmHg
Treatment: To treat or prevent low blood pressure, the patient should increase his/her fluid intake and should remain hydrated. There should be a limited consumption of alcoholic beverages. The patient should also exercise regularly which will help in increasing the blood flow. Other lifestyle changes include avoiding standing or sitting quickly as it can cause dizziness. While getting up from bed, the patient should first sit upright for a few moments and then get off the bed. Lifting heavy objects and standing for a long time should be avoided. The hypotensive patient should
take smaller, frequent meals. The doctors may prescribe medicines like fludrocortisone and midodrine to cure low blood pressure.
Blood Pressure Chart:
The ideal blood pressure according to age and gender is displayed in the following table:
|1-2||83/38 – 117/76||80/34 – 120/75|
|3-6||100/61 – 104/68||100/59 – 105/68|
|7-10||106/69 – 112/73||106/70 – 111/73|
|11-14||114/74 – 119/77||113/74 – 120/75|
|15-18||120/78 – 120/80||120/76 – 120/80|