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Blood Pressure Table Explained

by Ronnia Johnson

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The blood pressure table is an easy way designed to help doctors and patients understand particularly the concept of high blood pressure which is also medically known as hypertension. According to the blood pressure definition blood pressure is the force exerted on blood vessel walls as blood is flowing. This means this pressure can be low, normal or high. There are certain factors that determine these levels of blood pressure namely the constriction, flexibility or dilation of your blood vessel walls as well as the volume of blood flowing through the vessels.

Blood pressure is therefore regulated by influencing these particular factors. This is what high blood pressure meds seek to do. Also important to know in order to understand the blood pressure table that will be presented below is the fact that blood pressure high or low is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). This is the standard measurement of blood pressure worldwide. The readings or blood pressure numbers are presented in systolic and diastolic readings, for example 120/80mmHg. 120 mmHg is the systolic reading and 80mmHg is a diastolic reading.

Systolic Reading Diastolic Reading Stage
100mmHg or higher 160mmHg or higher Stage 2
140 - 159mmHg 90-99mmHg Stage 1
120 - 139mmHg 80-89 mmHg Prehypertension
less than 120mmHg less than 80mmHg Normal

The blood pressure table above represents the approach to blood pressure classification used by reputable and leading healthy institutions such as the American Heart Association (AHA). Not all countries across the world use this blood pressure classification. Many other countries are still following a different classification from the one presented here. In 2003 this table for blood pressure was adopted in the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure in the United States. This committee has different experts from various sectors that are associated with work on public health. Since 2003 millions of people who were previously thought to have good blood pressure or healthy blood pressure were suddenly classified as being in imminent danger of developing chronic high blood pressure.

According to this 'new' table for blood pressure individuals with blood pressure range between 120 to139mmHg for systolic reading and 80 to 89mmHg for diastolic reading are in the prehypertension stage. Previously these individuals were thought to be healthy especially those with readings closer to 120/80mmHg. Apparently studies show that these previously healthy individuals are actually at the brink of becoming hypertensive. They already have a certain risk of suffering from cardiovascular events such as stroke, heart attack, and heart faliure. Individuals in this prehypertension stage are considered patients and will need to do more to prevent their blood pressure from progressing to stage 1 hypertension.

This blood pressure table also classifies readings of 140 to 159 systolic pressure and 90 to 99 diastolic pressure as stage 1 hypertension. Individuals within stage 1 hypertension are at increased risk of suffering stroke, heart attack and heart failure and other various cardiovascular diseases. Individuals classified in stage 2 hypertension have blood pressure readings higher than those of stage 1 hypertension. Unlike the prehypertension stage which doctors recommend that patients adopt serious lifestyle modifications stage 1 and stage 2 hypertension in addition to lifestyle changes also requires that patients be on pharmacological hypertension medications to first reach reach the treatment goal of lowering blood pressure to a certain level before completely relying on diet and other remedies for example. However in most cases stage 2 hypertension patients will follow a life long daily intake of medication.

Hypertension is incurable. Chronic hypertension patients who fall into stage 1 and stage 2 hypertension in the blood pressure table above will follow a lifestyle of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, regular exercise and will need to loose weight weight if they are overweight or obese. They will also be required to stop smoking and basically cut back on alcohol consumption. This changes are also applicable and compulsory for individuals even in the prehypertension stage.

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In determining what your individual blood pressure status is in the context of the table for blood pressure above, more than one reading will be taken of your blood pressure. Typically doctors take blood pressure at least two more times after the initial visit. This means your blood pressure is an average of repeated readings taken over a period of time. Other patients will require ambulatory blood pressure monitoring which is essentially a 24 hour blood pressure monitoring. This ensures are more accurate status of your blood pressure. Inaccurate blood pressure readings may lead to resistant blood pressure. In terms of classification it is possible that your systolic pressure and diastolic pressure fall into different categories illustrated above. When that happens doctors use the higher category to give your blood pressure status some classification.

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