Understanding your blood pressure readings
The human body is complex and fascinating at the same time. A healthy heart is important to stay fit and fine. The pivotal function of your heart is to keep you alive by pumping blood throughout your body for sustaining bodily functions. As the blood is pumped to different sections of your body, it inflicts a pressure on the blood vessels. This pressure is simply known as blood pressure.
High blood pressure and low blood pressure are two common health issues faced by the modern populace. As their names suggest, the former is the case when blood pressure is more than the normal range and the latter is the case when it is less than the desired range. To keep heart disease at bay, you need to keep it in the normal range blood pressure. In addition to medication, regular exercise and balanced diet help in keeping blood pressure well within the normal range.
Maintaining blood pressure within the safe blood pressure range is important to save yourself from strokes, heart attacks, and a number of other undesired health conditions. Hence, it’s important to understand your blood pressure readings to deduce your heart condition on your own. Don’t know how to do it? Worry not, as we’re here to guide you on how to read and infer your blood pressure readings. But before moving to that, let’s discuss the blood pressure numbers in brief.
Blood Pressure Numbers
Any blood pressure reading consists of two distinct levels, signified by two different numbers. They are either displayed in the top-bottom or first-second fashion. The top or first number represents the systolic blood pressure. It simply means the highest level of blood pressure reached by your heart during its functioning. The bottom or second number signifies the diastolic blood pressure. It is the lowest level of blood pressure achieved by your heart. Both numbers are used to identify the status of blood pressure.
Blood Pressure Range
There are specified ranges of both diastolic and systolic blood pressure that defines the normal blood pressure range. Different readings of blood pressure relate to different meanings, which are explained as follows:
- Systolic Blood Pressure is over 140: This means that you’re suffering from high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Immediate medical attention is required.
- Diastolic Blood Pressure is over 90: Having 90 or more value of your diastolic blood pressure also relates to high blood pressure. Again, urgent medical attention is required.
- Systolic Blood Pressure is below 90: The value of systolic blood pressure less than 90 signifies the low blood pressure condition.
- Diastolic Blood Pressure is below 60: A 60 or less value of the diastolic blood pressure means low blood pressure.
General Types of Blood Pressure Range
All blood pressure categories can be broadly classified into four distinct types of ranges. These are defined and summed up as follows:
- 90/60 or Less: People having blood pressure in this range have low blood pressure. They need to get medical attention as soon as possible.
- Over 90/60 but Less Than 120/80: This is the ideal blood pressure range. Follow a healthy lifestyle to keep it that way.
- Over 120/80 but Less Than 140/90: Just a little over than what it should be. Needs to make immediate lifestyle changes to bring it to the ideal level.
- 140/90 or Higher: People having blood pressure in this range are clearly suffering from high blood pressure. They might need to get immediate medication to bring it down to the normal range.
How to Measure your Blood Pressure?
You can either measure blood pressure on your own or visit a physician to do it for you. For those looking to do it on their own, here’s how to do it:
- Take a blood pressure cuff, a.k.a. sphygmomanometer, and wrap it around the upper portion of the arm. Ensure that the cuff’s lower edge stays 1-inch above the antecubital fossa.
- Lightly press the stethoscope’s bell just below the cuff’s edge and over the brachial artery.
- Now, inflate the cuff to 180 mmHg.
- Release the air from the cuff at a rate of about 3mm per second.
- Listen with the stethoscope as well as observe the sphygmomanometer. The first knocking sound that you hear, also known as the Korotkoff, is the systolic pressure. Once it has subsided, it is the diastolic pressure.
- For additional accuracy, you need to record the pressure on both the arms and note the difference.
While taking multiple measurements, you need to give a 1 or 2-minute break between measurements. You can compare your findings with the help of high and low blood pressure charts.
If you don’t feel like doing it, measuring blood pressure, on your own then you can visit a physician.