Blood pressure is recorded with 2 numbers, both measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
- The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.
- The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
A general guide:
- High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher (or 150/90mmHg or higher if you're over the age of 80).
- Ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.
- Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you're at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.
If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart, and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys, and eyes. Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, etc.
Reducing your high blood pressure even a small amount can help lower your risk of these health conditions. Here are examples of some lifestyle changes that can help prevent and lower high blood pressure:
- Reduce the amount of salt you eat and follow heart healthful dietary recommendations.
- Avoid or reduce alcohol intake to a minimum.
- Reach a healthy weight, if you are living with overweight or obesity.
- Engage in regular physical activity (both resistance training and cardio).
- Cut down on caffeine.
- Quit smoking.
Some people with high blood pressure may also need to take one or more medicines to stop their blood pressure from getting too high.