Blood pressure classification
According to the American Heart Association, blood pressure readings can be categorized as follows:
|High Blood Pressure Stage 1||<160||<100|
|High Blood Pressure Stage 2||<180||<110|
*Please seek emergency care immediately
Blood pressure above the normal range (above SYS/DIA 120/80) increases the risk of heart failure, stroke, and many other chronic illnesses. Generally, individuals with blood pressure even in the Pre-Hypertension range should make immediate adjustments to their lifestyle to lower blood pressure. Increased physical activity, losing excess weight, and healthier eating can all help lower blood pressure.
Individuals in the High Blood Pressure range may require additional help to lower blood pressure, such as medication.
It is important for you to have your blood pressure screened regularly by your health care provider. Your doctor is your best resource to answer concerns you may have about high blood pressure or steps you should take to reduce your blood pressure.
High blood pressure or hypertension is, according to the World Health Organization, the single most important preventable risk factor for premature death worldwide. High blood pressure significantly increases risk of heart failure, stroke, and many other chronic illnesses.
Because high blood pressure by itself typically has no symptoms, knowing your blood pressure is an important step in preventing the development of high blood pressure.
How to read blood pressure measurements
Blood pressure has two measurements, systolic and diastolic. Blood pressure varies significantly during each heartbeat cycle, so doctors need to measure it at its maximum (when the heart is pumping blood) and at its lowest (when the heart is relaxing between pumps). Systolic is the maximum measure, and is always higher than diastolic, which is the minimum measure.
Where to learn more
The American Heart Association (www.heart.org) and the World Health Organization websites (http://www.who.int/topics/cardiovascular_diseases/) both provide good information about high blood pressure and heart disease in general.