High blood pressure (BP) affects a huge percentage of the global population — 25% of men and 20% of women suffer from high BP, or hypertension. Fewer than 20% of them are actively treating this condition. Knowing what a good blood pressure reading is increases your awareness of hypertension — and the importance of treating it.
Cardiovascular disease is currently the leading cause of death in the world. Being concerned if you’ve received a high blood pressure diagnosis is natural, but you can successfully manage this serious heart condition. By committing to changing harmful habits and following the advice of an experienced doctor, you can make a big difference in your prognosis.
With this in mind, let’s dig a little deeper into what constitutes high blood pressure and what you can do to manage the condition.
Diagnosing High Blood Pressure
The main reason high blood pressure is so dangerous is that it frequently goes unnoticed. Untreated high blood pressure can have very detrimental consequences, so catching it early is critical.
Symptoms suggestive of high blood pressure include:
- Chest pains,
- Bloody urine,
- Vision issues,
- Irregular heartbeat, and
- Breathing difficulties.
Call a doctor or take advantage of our telemedicine services if you exhibit any of these symptoms to have your blood pressure taken.
When you go to your doctor’s office for an annual checkup, such as a well woman exam, your physician will check your blood pressure. Making a habit of always attending your yearly physical at your primary care physician’s office is the most effective method of catching the majority of conditions in their early stages.
Not neglecting your annual exam is absolutely vital to your health. Furthermore, anyone over 20 years old should have a regular blood pressure reading.
How to use ARcare’s telemedicine services
Follow these steps to use ARcare’s telemedicine services.
- Go to virtualcarenow.arcare.net/users/sign_up/consumer.
- Enter your information and the code “Telemed.”
- When you enter your information and the code, click Sign Up.
- Select “Meet with Provider Now.” Here you’ll be placed in a virtual waiting room until a telehealth provider can assist you.
- Once the provider connects, select “Start Session,” and speak to the provider through your smartphone, laptop, or iPad about your medical situation.
- The provider will then give you further instructions on the next steps.
What Is a Good Blood Pressure Reading?
Blood pressure measures the force your blood puts on your arteries. The force is higher during the heartbeat and lower when the heart is resting, which means there are two numbers that will appear in your BP reading.
The first number, which appears on top of the reading, is known as systolic pressure. This is the measure of the force during the heartbeat, so it will always be higher.
The second number, which appears below, is referred to as diastolic pressure. It is measured when the heart is resting and will always be lower than the systolic reading.
Any reading lower than 120/80 is consistent with normal blood pressure. A reading of 129/80 or above is considered above-normal blood pressure.
There are two stages of hypertension: stage 1 constitutes a reading of up to 139/89, and stage 2 constitutes a reading of 140/90 or higher.
A hypertensive crisis is any reading over 180/120 mm Hg. Hypertensive crisis can be fatal. If you have a BP reading higher than 180/120, seek immediate medical attention.
Your diet and level of physical activity change throughout the day and will result in different BP readings. Over the course of a week, measure your BP twice during the morning and twice later in the evening to establish your blood pressure baseline.
If your baseline is consistent with elevated blood pressure (or higher), call your doctor and make an appointment. The consultation will let you know with certainty whether you suffer from high blood pressure.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure by Age?
What constitutes normal BP is heavily dependent on your age. Children are expected to have a much lower baseline for normal blood pressure than adults.
- Children aged ten and younger should have blood pressure that equals 110/73 or lower. As they age, this baseline for normal pressure rises steadily.
- For teens aged 14 and above, blood pressure should be around 120/75.
- 120/80 is a normal reading for adults who are more than 30 years old.
- By age 50, blood pressure stabilizes at 129/85.
- Any person older than 60 should have a normal blood pressure of 135/85.
Women normally have slightly lower BP readings than men.
Necessary Lifestyle Changes to Manage High BP
If you receive a high blood pressure diagnosis, your physician will prescribe medication that should be taken regularly and recommend a few lifestyle changes. Taking this medication and following these recommendations will help improve your quality of life.
Good nutrition is of paramount importance if you intend to manage your high BP. Nutritious fruits and vegetables need to become the main part of your daily diet. Whole grains and low-fat dairy can help to boost cardiovascular health as well.
Avoid foods that contain saturated fats and sodium. Your doctor or nutritionist will help devise a diet plan to suit your specific condition and circumstances.
Alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine are known for their effects on blood pressure and should be avoided as well. If completely eliminating their consumption is impossible, limiting your intake can be helpful.
Blood pressure and weight are known to be correlated. Overweight individuals are at a much higher risk of developing hypertension and find treating the condition to be more difficult.
Losing just five to ten percent of your body weight is proven to lower your blood pressure. By losing approximately 17 pounds, you can decrease your systolic pressure by around 8.5 mm Hg and diastolic pressure by around 6.5 mm Hg.
Physical activity is critical for managing hypertension. Simple things like taking a walk, going for a swim, or doing some light aerobics are very effective in lowering blood pressure. They help control both your BP and your weight. If cleared by your doctor, high-intensity exercises and weight lifting are also great to add to your exercise routine.
Your doctor will give you the best advice on the necessary changes to make in your diet and lifestyle. Make sure you understand these changes must be permanent.
Primary Care Doctor Near Me in Arkansas
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you are at a higher risk for COVID-19. It is very important to talk with your provider on ways to maintain good blood pressure levels during this time of the virus outbreak.
ARcare has locations in Arkansas, Kentucky, and Mississippi. Our cardiologists are experienced, knowledgeable, and will help you get control of your high BP. Contact us to ask questions or schedule a consultation. Hypertension is a serious condition, but ARcare is with you.