So what do these blood pressure chart values mean?
There are 6 categories for hypertension:
- Low (Hypotension)
Can it be too low? Yes!
Is it serious? Not usually.
Generally, it’s only something to worry about if you’re noticing frequent dizziness or fainting.
Everything is good here, enjoy your good health.
You’re getting there… This is the time to make lifestyle changes to reduce the chances of any permanent damage.
- Stage 1 Hypertension
You’re already there… Damage is being done, and you don’t even know it. They don’t call it the silent killer for nothing. Time to take control of your health.
- Stage 2 Hypertension
Things are getting pretty serious, risks are high. If you’re not already in a program to reduce your blood pressure, do so immediately.
- Hypertensive Crisis
A real adventurer, you’re taking real chances with your health. Wait a few minutes and measure again, if it’s still over 180, you should go to urgent care right away or call emergency services.
*If you have children, their values vary from the standard adult model, download a chart broken down by percentile height.
Important Note to Understand
Blood pressure values can vary a lot depending on when they were taken. Where you feeling anxiety or stress when your measurements were recorded? This can affect your numbers considerably. During times of stress and anxiety, your body release cortisol which causes the smooth muscle tissue around the vessels to constrict, raising blood pressure significantly.
It’s important that you take your measurements at various times of the day and on different days to really get a good assessment of your real blood pressure readings.
Once you’ve taken 3 or 4 measurements, compute the average and then take that and reference the above blood pressure chart. Most people are feeling anxious when they’re in the clinics and hospitals, so it’s feasible that the values taken there can be different from your normal day to day blood pressure readings. This is why it’s important to get a home monitor.
If you have a high reading on the blood pressure chart, then you should take the following steps in this order:
- Buy a Home Blood Pressure Monitor
You’ll want to initially take measurements so that you can measure your progress in combating your hypertension. Home motors are relatively cheap and can give you a more reliable reading than what you get at the doctors office. If you live with family members, you can share your monitor with everyone in the house, and ensure the health of your loved and not so loved ones.
- Schedule an Appointment With Your Doctor
If you have a primary care physician they should be made aware of your blood pressure so you can discuss with them about the underlying causes. Sometimes there are other health issues that are causing your hypertension. This is especially true if you’re already living a reasonably healthy lifestyle and your blood pressure is stubbornly high.
- Get Informed About Lowering Your Blood Pressure
Knowledge is power, and the 5-10 minutes your doctor spends with you is insufficient to explain everything that needs to be said about blood pressure. It’s your body and thus your responsibility to be an informed patient. Understand what causes high blood pressure and what you can do to fix it.
- If You Smoke? Quit! (This is the most important thing you can do)
Smoking is one of the strongest causes of hypertension, you absolutely need to quit in order to wage a successful battle against it.
- Start Getting at Least 150 Minutes of Exercise Weekly
Moderate exercise produces huge gains in terms of blood pressure scores, 150 minutes a week is just over 20 minutes a day, it’s almost nothing, but can make a big impact.
- Adopt a Low Sodium Diet
A high sodium diet is strongly correlated with high blood pressure, and processed foods are almost always laden with salt and sugar. You’ll need to make some changes in the way you eat.
Hypertension is serious and needs to be taken seriously, fortunately there is a lot you can do to get your blood pressure under control.