Blood Pressure is the force your heart exerts on blood vessels as it pumps blood through your veins and arteries. It is one of the vital signs, along with pulse, breathing rate, and body temperature.
Therefore, it is important to monitor and keep blood pressure in check. Anomalies in blood pressure can cause and be caused by a range of other health problems.
The term blood pressure most commonly refers to the pressure on the walls of major arteries. It is usually measured with a sphygmomanometer. Most of the times, it is measured in a non-invasive way, though it can be measured invasively if needed. Read on to find out what is the ideal blood pressure and how to maintain it.
Blood Pressure 101
There are two types of blood pressure, commonly referred to as the “upper” and the “lower”, or systolic and diastolic. Both are measured in mmHg (millimeters of mercury). Here’s a brief overview of the upper and lower blood pressure numbers.
- Systolic blood pressure. This is the pressure your heart puts on blood vessels when it pumps the blood out. It is measured first and is written before/on top of the diastolic pressure. Often, a greater deal of attention is given to the systolic pressure, as it is more frequently used to diagnose hypertension.
- Diastolic blood pressure. The diastolic blood pressure is the pressure on the walls of blood vessels when the heart is completely relaxed. It is measured after the systolic pressure and is commonly written behind or below it. Diastolic pressure receives less attention than systolic, though it is as important.
It is impossible for the two values to be identical. Also, it is impossible for diastolic pressure to be higher than systolic.
Ideal Blood Pressure
What is the ideal blood pressure? Generally, the optimum (normal) range for a healthy human is between 90 and 120 systolic and between 60 and 80 diastolic. However, these values rise slightly with age.
Anything slightly below the optimum range is considered lower blood pressure, while hypotension describes values significantly lower than the optimum. On the other side, anything slightly above the optimum range is heightened blood pressure and hypertension describes significantly higher values.
Have in mind that it is enough for one of the values to be outside of the optimum range to constitute either “low” or “high” blood pressure.
Persons with normal/optimum blood pressure are at a significantly lower risk of heart attack and stroke. Their heart and blood vessels don’t take as much punishment as they would with hypertension. Also, they are at a lower risk of developing other cardiovascular diseases and conditions than hypertensive individuals.
Maintaining Ideal Blood Pressure
It takes some effort to maintain blood pressure within the healthy boundaries. There are several things one can do to keep one’s blood pressure at a healthy level. Healthy lifestyle includes but is not limited to:
- Avoiding stress. Stress is among the most top causes of high blood pressure. You should avoid it as much as possible. Avoid mental, emotional, and physical stress to stay healthy longer.
- Getting enough sleep. The importance of getting enough sleep can’t be overstated. Healthy sleeping habits reduce stress and fatigue. On the other side, it results in stronger immunity, more energy throughout the day, and countless other benefits.
- Exercising moderately. To keep blood pressure where it’s supposed to be, make sure you exercise moderately at least two times a week. Insufficient physical activity for a prolonged period of time can cause a slew of health problems and conditions. Inactivity is also strongly linked to obesity. On the other hand, exercising too much can lead to exhaustion and other problems.
- Eating Healthy. Regular exercise, stress-free life, and healthy sleeping habits can’t do much for your blood pressure (and overall health) if you don’t eat healthy as well. That means avoiding processed sugar, junk food, saturated fats, and other unhealthy stuff. Instead, eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains (non-gluten grains if you are gluten-sensitive), dairy, skinless poultry, fish, and polyunsaturated oils.
Ideal Blood Pressure and Age
The ideal (optimal) blood pressure ranges change somewhat as you get older. They go slightly up, mainly because your body needs more nutrients and oxygen to work properly. Here’s a quick look at the recommended values for different age groups.
- Ages 21-25. 120.5 with 78.5 for men and 115.5 with 70.5 for women.
- 26-30. 119.5 with 76.5 for men and 113.5 with 71.5 for women.
- 31-35. 114.5 with 75.5 for men and 110.5 with 72.5 for women.
- 36-40. 120.5 with 75.5 for men and 112.5 with 74.5 for women.
- 41-45. 115.5 with 78.5 for men and 116.5 with 73.5 for women.
- 46-50. 119.5 with 80.5 for men and 124.0 with 78.5 for women.
- 51-55. 125.5 with 80.5 for men and 122.5 with 74.5 for women.
- 56-60. 129.5 with 79.5 for men and 132.5 with 78.5 for women.
- 61-65. 143.5 with 76.5 for men and 130.5 with 77.5 for women.
Why Is Healthy Blood Pressure Important
It is utterly important to maintain your blood pressure within the recommended boundaries, especially the systolic pressure. This is mainly due to the fact that the systolic pressure is strongly correlated to cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary artery disease. Also, it is one of the greatest risk factors for heart attack and stroke.
According to experts, those who are 40 to 89 years of age experience double the risk of stroke and coronary artery disease with every 10mmHg rise in diastolic pressure and 20mmHg in systolic pressure.
Aside from these reasons, it is important to keep your blood pressure in check because hypertension has been linked to loss of vision. Also, it can potentially damage your kidneys and even cause kidney failure.
Blood pressure is one of the most important parameters in the overall state of human health. Heightened levels of blood pressure (especially systolic pressure) are closely connected to a wide variety of diseases and conditions. Most importantly, high blood pressure is linked to increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and coronary artery disease. It is, therefore, of crucial importance to keep blood pressure in check.
To keep blood pressure within the recommended values, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. This includes regular exercise, healthy sleeping patterns, reduced levels of stress, and eating a healthy diet.