It’s no coincidence that every doctor’s appointment starts with a blood pressure check. Most people discover they have hypertension during a health checkup. Your blood pressure reading comes in two numbers, an upper number and a lower number. Once you know your numbers, the blood pressure chart comes into play. This color-coded chart, often in shades of red, orange, and yellow, will tell you if you have normal or abnormal blood pressure.
Simply put, you can compare your blood pressure with the chart to see if it is within the healthy range. Remember to take the average of several readings before grabbing the blood pressure chart, as a single reading doesn’t tell you much. Here’s a simple guide to blood pressure readings and what they mean for you.
What do the measurements mean?
Blood pressure readings are generally expressed as the ratio of systolic to diastolic levels measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). The systolic blood pressure is the maximum pressure produced during the contraction phase, while the diastolic blood pressure indicates the relaxation phase of the heart. Heart rate is also noted to obtain additional vital information. For example, the healthy blood pressure in a person is 120/80 mmHg. Here, the first number, 120, is considered the systolic blood pressure, while the second number, 80, is the diastolic blood pressure.
You will find your top number (systolic) on the left side of the blood pressure graph and your bottom number (diastolic) on the bottom. Most doctors use 140 over 90 mmHg as a cut-off point for diagnosing high blood pressure. Anything higher than 120/80 mmHg means you could develop high blood pressure.
A review studies says color-coded, visualized blood pressure charts lead to better self-monitoring than conventional (non-color-coded) blood pressure booklets. The three color-coded areas of the chart represent the risk accordingly:
- Green: blood pressure in the target range ≤ 140/≤ 90 mmHg
- Yellow: High blood pressure >140/>90 mmHg
- Red: blood pressure in danger zone > 180 mmHg/>110 mmHg
Meaning of blood pressure chart
When blood pressure gets too high or too low, it acts like a silent killer, leading to possible health disorders without symptoms. Therefore, it is necessary to regularly check your blood pressure measurement. But how can you measure it? The best way is to learn about the blood pressure chart, which documents your readings throughout the day.
|blood pressure category||Systolic Blood Pressure (mmHg)||Diastolic Blood Pressure (mmHg)|
|Stage 1 (mild hypertension)||140-159||90-99|
|Stage 2 (moderate hypertension)||160-179||100-109|
|Stage 3 (acute hypertension)||>=180||>=110|
With a blood pressure chart, you can check your blood pressure yourself and assess long-term values for an accurate diagnosis and better health. Having a blood pressure chart can help you identify the abnormal range early on. It also encourages you to make small changes to your eating and exercise habits to address the unhealthy values.
The HealthifyMe note
The blood pressure chart can help you determine if your blood pressure is healthy or if you need to make changes to improve your numbers. You may have high blood pressure if your top number is above 140 or bottom number is above 90. And if your top number is below 100 or your bottom number is below 60, it indicates low blood pressure. Use the blood pressure chart to see where your numbers are.
When should you check your blood pressure?
You are most likely to develop hypertension as you get older. Systolic blood pressure rises while diastolic blood pressure decreases as you age. However, in the midst of the modern sedentary lifestyle, high or low blood pressure can happen to anyone who shows no symptoms. Young people are likely to have low systolic and diastolic pressures.
Rising obesity and increased BMIs in young people are causing more blood pressure problems. Basically, there is no specific age to start checking your blood pressure. If your level is 120/80, always have it checked once a year; if it’s anything above 120/80, check it twice a year. On the other hand, if it is above 140/90, you should have it checked often.
Effects of abnormal blood pressure levels
If high blood pressure goes undetected for a long time, it can proactively damage your body before symptoms appear. This will make the heart work harder making it more susceptible to various health problems such as;
Heart and vascular disease
A healthy artery will be strong, flexible and elastic to ensure proper blood flow. The increased blood flow due to high pressure will negatively affect and narrow the arteries, leading to strokes and heart disease.
Your brain needs healthy blood flow to function properly throughout the day, just like your heart. However, in some individuals, hypertension can cause stroke, cognitive impairment, and dementia.
Chronic kidney disease
A healthy kidney depends on healthy blood vessels. The kidney’s primary function is to filter excess fluid and waste from the body. But abnormal blood pressure affects blood vessels, leading to kidney scarring and other chronic conditions.
High blood pressure damages the blood vessels of the retina and optic nerve, increasing the risk of visual impairment. In other cases, high blood pressure can lead to loss of bone density, disrupted sleep patterns, memory loss, personality changes, and more.
Ways to maintain healthy blood pressure levels
If you have a normal blood pressure level, that’s good news! Nevertheless, to keep the fluctuations away from the numbers, here are some best practices.
DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) involves diets with balanced food sources rich in magnesium, potassium and calcium with a low salt/sodium intake. By following the diet, you can lower your blood pressure in a short time. Some recommended foods include avocados, whole grains, bananas, spinach, dark chocolate (in moderation), nuts, and seeds.
Avoid alcoholic drinks
Consuming alcohol will raise your blood pressure and can lead to unfortunate cardiovascular events. Therefore, it is essential to reduce alcoholic beverages to maintain normal blood pressure levels.
Making active movement patterns part of your daily life for at least 30 minutes will help maintain normal blood pressure levels. Whether it’s doing aerobics, taking the stairs, or just walking while talking on the phone, regular exercise will improve your health and help you achieve optimal blood pressure readings.
When your body is under stress, your heart tends to beat faster, constricting blood vessels and causing fluctuations in blood pressure. Therefore, start adapting to meditation or yoga to practice mindfulness and keep yourself away from stressful situations.
lost some pounds
Losing at least 10 pounds will significantly lower your blood pressure if you are obese or overweight. In addition, even a small amount of weight loss has a positive impact on systolic blood pressure.
Dehydration will make the heart work harder, pump blood faster and affect blood pressure. Drinking plenty of water is extremely important for people with high blood pressure. Staying hydrated helps keep pressure levels coordinated. according to USDA, The daily water intake for optimal hydration is 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women.
Say no to nicotine
In any form, whether it’s smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco, nicotine constricts blood vessels causing the heart to beat harder, which raises blood pressure. Avoiding this stimulant prevents the risk of abnormal blood pressure.
Prioritize the quality sleep pattern
Disturbances in sleep quality will increase blood pressure for a longer period of time. When you sleep, your body pressure level is lowered. Therefore, it is crucial to follow a good sleep pattern, at least 7 to 8 hours per night.
The HealthifyMe note
A single high reading does not necessarily indicate hypertension. Many factors can affect your blood pressure throughout the day, such as when you last ate, your sleep cycle, the exercise you give your body, and whether you feel stressed. After cross-checking with a blood pressure chart, the next step is to get these factors under control.
It is never too early or too late to recognize the blood pressure chart. Several factors can affect your blood pressure level, posing a potential risk to brain and heart health. Therefore, it is necessary to check your blood pressure regularly. Remember that you have more control over your blood pressure than you think.
Better lifestyle habits are the solid foundation for normal blood pressure. Aside from checking your blood pressure regularly alongside the chart, it is vital to make necessary changes in your lifestyle. Carefully create everyday life with the best nutrition and exercise plan and get ready to reap the benefits of a healthy life.