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How to interpret blood pressure results ?
Blood pressure is a measure of the pressure or force of blood against the walls of your blood vessels (arteries).
Your blood pressure reading is based on two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure (the first number) – indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.
- Diastolic blood pressure (the second number) – indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
Here is a chart to help you understand:
Know How to interpret blood pressure results !
For a normal reading, your blood pressure needs to show a top number (systolic pressure) that’s between 90 and less than 120 and a bottom number (diastolic pressure) that’s between 60 and less than 80.
If you’re in the normal range, no medical intervention is needed. However, you should maintain a healthy lifestyle and healthy weight to help prevent hypertension from developing. Regular exercise and healthy eating can also help. You may need to be even more mindful of your lifestyle if hypertension runs in your family.
Numbers higher than 120/80 mm Hg is a red flag that you need to take on heart-healthy habits.
When your systolic pressure is between 120 and 129 mm Hg and your diastolic pressure is less than 80 mm Hg, it means you have elevated blood pressure. Although these numbers aren’t technically considered high blood pressure, you’ve moved out of the normal range.
Elevated blood pressure has a good chance of turning into actual high blood pressure, which puts you at an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.No medications are necessary for elevated blood pressure.
But this is when you should adopt healthier lifestyle choices. A balanced diet and regular exercise can help lower your blood pressure to a healthy range and help prevent elevated blood pressure from developing into full-fledged hypertension.
Hypertension: Stage 1
You’ll generally be diagnosed with high blood pressure if your systolic blood pressure reaches between 130 and 139 mm Hg, or if your diastolic blood pressure reaches between 80 and 89 mm Hg. This is considered stage 1 hypertension.
What determines the diagnosis of hypertension at any stage is the average of your numbers over a period of time.
Your doctor can help you measure and track your blood pressure to confirm whether it’s too high. You may need to start taking medications if your blood pressure doesn’t improve after one month of following a healthy lifestyle, especially if you’re already at high risk for heart disease. If you’re at lower risk, your doctor may want to follow up in three to six months after you’ve adopted more healthy habits.
Hypertension: Stage 2
Stage 2 high blood pressure indicates an even more serious condition. If your blood pressure reading shows a top number of 140 or more, or a bottom number of 90 or more, it’s considered stage 2 hypertension.
At this stage, your doctor will recommend one or more medications for keeping your blood pressure under control. But you shouldn’t rely solely on medications to treat hypertension. Lifestyle habits are just as important in stage 2 as they are in the other stages.
Some medications that can complement a healthy lifestyle include:
- ACE inhibitors to block substances that tighten blood vessels
- Alpha-blockers used for relaxing arteries
- Beta-blockers to decrease heart rate and block substances that tighten blood vessels
- Calcium channel blockers to relax blood vessels and decrease the work of the heart
- Diuretics to decrease the amount of fluid in your body, including your blood vessels
Danger zone: A blood pressure reading above 180/120 mm Hg indicates a serious health problem. The AHA refers to these high measurements as a “hypertensive crisis.” Blood pressure in this range requires urgent treatment even if there are no accompanying symptoms.
You should seek emergency treatment if you have blood pressure in this range, which may accompany symptoms such as:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Visual changes
- Symptoms of stroke, such as paralysis or a loss of muscle control in the face or an extremity
- Blood in your urine
However, sometimes a high reading can occur temporarily and then your numbers will return to normal. If your blood pressure measures at this level, your doctor will likely take a second reading after a few minutes have passed. A second high reading indicates that you’ll need treatment either as soon as possible or immediately depending on whether you have any of the symptoms described above.
There are some exceptions.
If you have diabetes, the high risk category for your blood pressure is slightly lower. Your blood pressure should be less than 130 / 80. Consult a healthcare provider if your blood pressure level is higher than 130 / 80 on more than one occasion.
What is low blood pressure?
Low blood pressure (hypotension) is when the pressure in your arteries drops below the normal range. But blood pressure levels below 120 / 80 may be normal for some people. Your healthcare provider will tell you if you have low blood pressure.
Measuring your blood pressure at home
Home monitoring can help your doctor to diagnose your blood pressure correctly. It is possible for your blood pressure to rise when you visit the doctor’s office because you may be anxious.
However, your blood pressure can return to normal as you go about your daily activities. This is called “white coat effect.” Measuring your own blood pressure regularly can help you determine if your blood pressure is in fact high. On the other hand, you may experience normal blood pressure when it is measured in the doctor’s office, but have high blood pressure in other situations.
This is known as “masked hypertension.” If you have a higher risk of heart disease or stroke (e.g. if you have diabetes), it is important to find out if you have masked hypertension. If this is the case, your doctor may ask you to monitor your blood pressure at home. It is important to make sure that your home monitor is taking accurate measurements so your healthcare provider can get a complete picture of your blood pressure.
Keep an Eye
Keeping your blood pressure in the normal range is crucial in preventing complications.
That is why it is important to know how to interpret blood pressure results .
High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart disease
A combination of healthy lifestyle habits and medications can help lower your blood pressure. If you’re overweight, weight loss is also important in keeping your numbers down.
Remember that a single blood pressure reading doesn’t necessarily classify your health. An average of blood pressure readings taken over time is the most accurate. That’s why it’s often ideal to have your blood pressure taken by a healthcare professional at least once a year. You may require more frequent checks if your readings are high.
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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
It is only informational !
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