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Blood Pressure Chart – Decode Your Readings

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There’s a good reason every doctor’s appointment starts with a blood pressure check. Most people find they have hypertension during a health checkup. Your blood pressure reading comes in two numbers, a top number and a bottom number. Once you know your numbers, the blood pressure chart enters the scenario. This colour-coded chart, often in the shade of red, orange, and yellow, will tell you whether you have normal or abnormal blood pressure.

Simply put, you can check your blood pressure against the chart to see if it is in the healthy range. Remember to take an average of multiple readings before grabbing the blood pressure chart since a single reading doesn’t tell you much. Here’s a simple guide on blood pressure chart readings and what they mean for you.

What Do the Readings Mean?

Blood pressure readings generally get expressed as the ratio of systolic and diastolic levels measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). Systolic blood pressure is the maximum pressure produced during the contraction phase, while diastolic blood pressure indicates the heart’s relaxation phase. The pulse will also get noted to gain additional essential information. For instance, the healthy blood pressure in an individual is 120/80 mmHg. Here the first number, 120, is regarded as systolic blood pressure, while the second one, 80, is diastolic blood pressure.

You can find your top number (systolic) on the left side of the blood pressure chart and your bottom number (diastolic) on the bottom side. Most doctors use 140 over 90mmHg as the cut-off point for diagnosing high blood pressure. A little higher than 120/80mmHg means you could go on to develop high blood pressure.

A review study says that colour-coded, visualised blood pressure charts lead to better self-monitoring than conventional (non-colour-coded) blood pressure booklets. The three colour-coded areas of the chart reflect 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

Significance of Blood Pressure Chart

When the blood pressure becomes too high or too low, it acts as a silent killer, leading to potential health disorders with no symptoms. Hence it is necessary to check your blood pressure reading regularly. But how can you measure it? The best way is to learn about the blood pressure chart, which documents your reading throughout the day.

Blood Pressure Category Systolic Blood Pressure (mmHg) Diastolic Blood Pressure (mmHg)
Low <100 <60
Optimal <120 <80
Normal <130 <85
High-Normal 130-139 85-89
Stage 1 (Mild Hypertension) 140-159 90-99
Stage 2 (Moderate Hypertension) 160-179 100-109
Stage 3 (Acute Hypertension) >=180 >=110

A blood pressure chart will allow you to self-monitor your blood pressure and assess long-term values for precise diagnosis and better health. Having a blood pressure chart will help you identify the abnormal range in the early stage. It also encourages you to make small changes in your diet and exercise habits to treat the unhealthy values.

The HealthifyMe Note

The blood pressure chart can help you determine if your blood pressure is at a healthy reading or if you’ll need to make changes to improve your numbers. You may have high blood pressure if your top number is over 140 or the bottom number is over 90. And if your top number is under 100 or your bottom number is under 60, it indicates low blood pressure. Use the blood pressure chart to see where your numbers sit.

When Should You Check Your Blood Pressure?

You are most likely to develop hypertension as you age. Systolic blood pressure increases whilst diastolic blood pressure decreases as you age. However, amid the modern sedentary lifestyle, high or low blood pressure can happen to anyone who doesn’t show any symptoms. Young people are likely to have low systolic and diastolic pressure.

The rising rates of obesity and increased BMIs among youngsters cause more blood pressure problems. In a nutshell, there is no specific age to start checking your blood pressure. If your level is 120/80, always get it checked once a year; if it’s slightly above 120/80, ensure to check it twice a year. On the other hand, if it is above 140/90, you need to get it checked often.

Effects of Abnormal Blood Pressure Levels

When left unnoticed for a long time, high blood pressure can proactively damage your body before the rise of any symptoms. It will cause the heart to work hard, making it more susceptible to various health conditions such as;

Cardiovascular Diseases 

A healthy artery will be strong, flexible, and elastic to ensure proper blood circulation. The increased blood flow due to high pressure will negatively affect and narrow the arteries, leading to strokes and heart diseases.

Nervous Disorders 

Your brain needs a healthy blood flow to operate correctly throughout the day, just like your heart does. However, hypertension can cause stroke, cognitive impairment, and dementia in some individuals.

Chronic Kidney Diseases 

A healthy kidney depends on healthy blood vessels. The kidney’s primary function is to filter the excess fluid and waste from the body. But, abnormal blood pressure affects the blood vessels, leading to kidney scarring and other chronic conditions.

Visual Impairment

High blood pressure damages the eye’s retinal and optic nerve blood vessels, increasing the risk of visual impairment. In other cases, high blood pressure can lead to bone density loss, troubled sleeping patterns, memory loss, personality changes, and more.

Ways to Maintain Healthy Blood Pressure Level

If you have a normal blood pressure level, it’s great news! Nonetheless, to keep away the fluctuations in the numbers, here are some practical tips.

Eat Healthily

DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet comprises well-balanced food sources rich in magnesium, potassium, and calcium with low salt/sodium intake. Following the diet will help you lower your blood pressure level within a short period. Some recommended foods are avocados, whole grains, bananas, spinach, dark chocolate (in moderation), nuts, and seeds.

Avoid Alcoholic Beverages

Consuming alcohol will elevate your blood pressure and might lead to unfortunate cardiovascular events. Hence it is essential to reduce alcoholic beverages to maintain normal blood pressure levels.

Regular Exercise

Making active exercise patterns a part of your daily life for at least 30 minutes will ensure a normal blood pressure level. Be it aerobic exercise, taking stairs, or simply walking while you are on the phone, regular physical activity will boost your health and help you attain optimal blood pressure readings. 

Reduce Stress

When your body is under stress, your heart tends to beat faster, narrowing the blood vessels and causing fluctuations in blood pressure levels. Hence, start adapting to meditation or yoga to practice mindfulness and keep yourself away from stressful conditions.

Shed Some Pounds

Losing at least 10 pounds will significantly reduce your blood pressure level if you are obese or overweight. Moreover, even a small amount of weight loss positively impacts systolic blood pressure.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration will make the heart work harder, pumping the blood faster and affecting the blood pressure. Drinking plenty of water is extremely important for individuals with high blood pressure. Staying hydrated will make sure to keep the pressure level coordinated. According to USDA, the daily water intake for optimal hydration is 3.7 litres for men and 2.7 litres for women.

Say No to Nicotine

In any form, either cigarette smoking or chewing tobacco, nicotine restricts blood vessels that will make the heart beat harder, thereby increasing the blood pressure level. Avoiding this stimulant will prevent the risk of abnormal blood pressure.

Prioritise Quality Sleep Pattern

Disruptions in sleep quality will raise blood pressure for a more extended period. When you sleep, your body pressure level gets reduced. Therefore, it is critical to follow a quality sleep pattern, at least for 7 to 8 hours per night.

The HealthifyMe Note

A single high reading doesn’t 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 to your body, and if you’re feeling stressed. After cross-checking with a blood pressure chart, the next step is to start getting these factors under control. 

Conclusion

It is never too early or late to acknowledge the blood pressure chart. Several factors can affect your blood pressure level, posing a potential brain and heart health risk. Hence, it is necessary to check your blood pressure regularly. Remember, you have more control over your blood pressure than you think.

Better lifestyle habits lay the solid foundation for normal blood pressure. Apart from regularly monitoring your blood pressure side by side with the chart, it is vital to make necessary lifestyle changes. Carefully craft day-to-day life with the best nutrition and physical activity plan, and get ready to reap the benefits of healthy living.

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