Diagnosed with hypertension 20 years ago, the author has strived to manage the condition with both conventional and alternative remedies.
What Is a Normal Blood Pressure Range?
A normal blood pressure reading is considered to be below 120/80 mm Hg, according to the American Heart Association. Any reading above this is considered to be high blood pressure. However, there are several stages of hypertension, as shown in the blood pressure chart, shown below.
Low blood pressure, or hypotension, is considered to be under 90/60 mm Hg.
Therefore, a normal range is between 90/60 and 120/80 mm Hg.
Nonetheless, it should be noted that it is perfectly normal for your blood pressure range to fluctuate throughout the day. It usually falls during the night, whilst you are asleep and then rises throughout the day, typically peaking late afternoon / early evening. There are, however, several factors which can interfere with this cycle such as anxiety and stress, irregular sleep patterns, possibly due to shift work, and excessive caffeine.
In order to assess what a normal blood pressure range is for yourself, it would be prudent to take several blood pressure readings throughout the day, over a short period of time. After a week or so, you should have enough data to establish a reliable baseline against which you can monitor your future readings.
Why Is Blood Pressure Important?
Like myself, you may have reached an age where you have lost friends, acquaintances or loved ones, at far too young an age. While several have been lost to cancer, some of the most shocking deaths have been due to heart failure. Why? The suddenness and unexpectedness of the death. Often there is no warning, until it is too late.
Research undertaken in London, by Feng J. He and Graham A. MacGregor, established that raised blood pressure is the major cause of death in the world, accounting for for 60% of strokes and 50% of coronary heart disease. They also contend that the risk of cardiovascular disease starts at as low as 115 mmHg of systolic or 75 mmHg of diastolic pressure (115/75 mmHg), even though the accepted cut-off point for hypertension is 140/90 mmHg. They also estimate that, in the vast majority of countries, more than 80% of adults are at risk from high blood pressure.
Hypertension is the biggest risk factor for heart disease, stroke and cardiovascular diseases. It can lead to heart attack, congestive heart failure, narrowed arteries and stroke, as well as a myriad of other medical problems. It also places an extra strain on the heart, which can ultimately lead to failure.
What Is Hypertension?
Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. It is catergorized into several phases and early intervention can prevent or delay blood pressure reaching the hypertensive crisis stage.
One high reading does not automatically mean that you have high blood pressure.
If you get an upper (systolic) reading of 180 mm Hg or greater and/or a lower (diastolic) reading of 110 mm HG or greater then you should re-check your reading again, several minutes later.
If the second reading is similarly high then you should seek emergency medical care.
Furthermore, if you experience any numbness, weakness or pins and needles along one side of your body then you could be experiencing a transient ischemic attack (TIA).
Although the effects of a TIA, also known as a mini-stroke, are temporary, it increases the risk of suffering a subsequent stroke.
Emergency medical care should also be summoned if you believe you are experiencing a TIA.
What is Hypotension?
Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure. It is not always considered to be a cause for alarm, providing that there are no adverse symptoms.
Nonetheless, if your blood pressure is too low, it can restrict the volume of blood flowing to your vital organs, including your brain, This can lead to fainting and dizziness.
Other symptoms of low blood pressure include nausea, blurred vision, fatigue and depression.
A blood pressure reading below 90/60 mm Hg is considered to be low.
Living With High Blood Pressure
With a family history of high blood pressure, it was no surprise when I was diagnosed with hypertension, in my early thirties. Ever since then, I take prescribed medication on a daily basis and have my blood pressure monitored regularly.
I have also become aware of the warning signs that my blood pressure is dangerously high. For me, this usually manifests itself as a headache like no other. It honestly feels as if my head is going to explode. You may experience different signs and symptoms, but nonetheless, it is vital you recognize and act upon them.
I also regularly monitor my blood pressure at home, using an automatic monitor, to ensure that it is within an acceptable range for my condition.
Automatic blood pressure monitors, which can be used at home, are ideal for taking readings by yourself. However, it should be noted that monitoring yourself at home is only intended to supplement any medical readings, and not replace them.
Why Monitor Your Blood Pressure at Home?
Hypertension, is known as the silent killer, because it often does not display any signs or symptoms until it is too late. Stress, blood pressure and the risk of stroke can result in permanent disability or even death. Regular self-monitoring at home should help you to identify any irregularities and hopefully, give you time to seek appropriate medical intervention, if necessary.
There are a variety of inexpensive and reliable automatic blood pressure monitors which are quick and simple to use. I own an Omron upper arm blood pressure monitor, which I purchased over five years ago. It is extremely simple to use and, more importantly, provides accurate results. Once the cuff is positioned correctly, the reading is taken automatically with the press of a button. The reading is displayed on the screen and, depending upon the model, there should be a facility to store your readings. This is particularly beneficial, as it allows you to monitor your blood pressure over time.
If you suffer from hypertension, you may experience pain or discomfort in your arm when using the monitor, as the cuff tightens for a longer period of time, while it obtains a reading. If the pain becomes unbearable, you should check that you are using the correct cuff size for your arm. I ended up buying a larger Omron cuff, as the one that was supplied with the machine was too small. Simply measure the circumference of your upper arm and select the appropriate size.
It is also worth remembering that a faulty or damaged cuff will also affect the accuracy of the blood pressure readings. If you do need to purchase a replacement, then you will need to ensure that the cuff is compatible with the make and model of your machine. The cuffs are easy to swap over, so the monitor does not have to be restricted to just one family member.
Furthermore, it should be noted that blood pressure ranges for infants and babies, differs from that of adults. Also, a smaller cuff will be needed to suit the age of the child.
How to Take Your Blood Pressure
- American Heart Association (2017, November 30). Understanding Blood Pressure Readings. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
- He, F. J., & Macgregor, G. A. (2007). Blood pressure is the most important cause of death and disability in the world. European Heart Journal Supplements, 9 (Suppl_B). doi:10.1093/eurheartj/sum005
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2012 C L Grant
Richard Appiah from West Haven, CT on January 29, 2020:
Great information. To control your blood pressure it is important to check our diet and most importantly exercise regularly. It is also important to know what your baseline is because what is high for one person might be normal for another. Thanks for sharing!
Akshay Kumar from spain on June 28, 2019:
Hypertension and hypotension both are common in people of every age group. Even infants are facing these. A lot of people don't even know the normal blood pressure range. You have given the details here. Nice work :)
Sanjay Sharma from Mandi (HP) India on June 27, 2018:
Thanks for sharing the detailed information about blood pressure.