Blood pressure is largely influenced through lifestyle factors such as diet, physical activity and weight, but can also vary across different age groups. Eating a healthy diet, avoiding smoking, and drinking responsibly are key ways to keep your blood pressure stable – but how can you tell if you’re measuring outside of the recommended zone? These are the key signs to look out for.
What is considered a healthy blood pressure range?
Blood pressure readings are measured by two numbers which are written in the form of a fraction.
These two figures detail the systolic blood pressure and the diastolic blood pressure, which measure the highest and lowest pressure points of your blood supply.
According to Blood Pressure UK:
- The systolic pressure is the top number which details the rate at which the heart beats blood around the body
- Diastolic blood pressure is the second number which measures the level of pressure in your blood as your heart relaxes between beats
Blood pressure is considered healthy when both the systolic and diastolic numbers are in the ‘normal’ range.
While everyone’s blood pressure will be slightly different, there are two four key readings that provide the bench-mark for a ‘healthy’ range.
For a normal reading, your should aim to keep your blood pressure in the following range of millimetres of mercury (mmHg):
- A systolic pressure that’s above 90 mm Hg and less than 120 mm Hg
- A diastolic pressure that’s between 60 mm Hg and less than 80 mm Hg
The NHS states: “Ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
“High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher (150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80).”
Readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not make changes to stabilise this.
Key signs of high blood pressure
Heart disease, strokes, aneurysms, kidney disease, and dementia are just some of the life-threatening conditions linked to high blood pressure and hypertension, yet all of them can be avoided in most cases.
Spotting the early signs of high blood pressure will buy you time when it comes to lowering your reading and reducing the risk of serious illness.
While high blood pressure can often be hard to spot, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) recognises six key symptoms as a common side effect of hypertension.
- Blurred vision
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
The BHF states: “If you’re a healthy adult over 40, it’s recommended that you get it checked at least once every five years.
“But if you’re at increased risk of high blood pressure, you should have it checked more often, ideally once a year.”
Symptoms of low blood pressure
Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, describes any reading which falls below a systolic pressure of 90mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 60mmHg.
Hypotension does not always cause symptoms, though there are a few common side effects linked to readings on the lower end of the blood pressure chart.
The NHS recommends getting your blood pressures checked if you experience the following recurring symptoms:
- feeling light headed or dizzy
- Feeling sick
- Blurred vision
- General feelings of weakness/lack of strength
If you’re 40 to 74-years-old, you should have your blood pressure checked at least once every five years as part of the NHS Health Check.