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Home / Blood pressure chart: How to read blood pressure

Blood pressure chart: How to read blood pressure

Know what the numbers mean and what is considered healthy

A blood pressure chart is a great way to see if your blood pressure is normal. When you keep track of your blood pressure, you can reduce the risk of getting heart disease.

Understand what blood pressure values mean and when you may need medical help using the chart and information below.

blood pressure chart illustration

How do I read blood pressure?

Keeping a close watch on your blood pressure is an important part of maintaining good health. Your doctor may check it during an office visit, but you should make sure to monitor it at home on a regular basis:

  • At home, blood pressure can be measured using a sphygmomanometer or a home blood pressure monitor.
  • British Heart Foundation recommends using an automatic, cuff-style upper arm monitor.

To get an accurate blood pressure reading, avoid doing the following 30 minutes before your measurement:

  • smoking
  • drinking caffeinated beverages
  • exercising

Be sure to rest for at least five minutes before measuring your blood pressure. This will help you to be calm and relaxed for the reading.

Understanding blood pressure readings

Blood pressure is the force your blood puts on the walls of your blood vessels. When you take a blood pressure reading, you will see two numbers - one on top and one on the bottom. These measurements are in millimetres of mercury.

  • Systolic blood pressure: the top number shows how hard your heart is working when it beats.
  • Diastolic blood pressure: the bottom number shows the pressure between heartbeats.

An example of a blood pressure reading would be as follows:

How to read blood pressure
How to read blood pressure 122 mmHg SYS Systolic blood pressure The pressure of your heart beating and pushing blood through your blood vessels.
78 mmHg DIA Diastolic blood pressure The pressure between heartbeats, when the heart muscle relaxes and refills with blood.

Inconsistent blood pressure readings

If your blood pressure changes throughout the day, don't worry. These changes are caused by different things like what you eat, how active you are, how stressed you are, and the weather.

Blood pressure can also change depending on the season. When it's cold outside, blood vessels tighten up, which makes blood pressure go up. When it's hot outside, blood vessels relax, which makes blood pressure go down.

blood pressure weather changes

What is the ideal blood pressure?

For adults, a normal blood pressure reading falls between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. If your blood pressure reading falls below or above these levels, it will be considered high or low, respectively:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension): is when the pressure in your blood vessels is constantly high.
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension): is when the pressure in your arteries is lower than it should be.

This chart shows the blood pressure values that may indicate when medical attention is needed. Anyone over 18 can use this chart to find out if they need to see a doctor.

BLOOD PRESSURE CHART
Blood pressure SYSTOLIC
(top number)
DIASTOLIC
(bottom number)
LOW* less than 90 OR less than 60
NORMAL less than 120 AND less than 80
ELEVATED 120 – 129 AND less than 80
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
(HYPERTENSION - STAGE 1)
130 – 139 OR 80 – 89
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
(HYPERTENSION - STAGE 2)**
140 or higher OR 90 or higher
HYPERTENSIVE CRISIS***
(seek medical help)
higher than 180 AND/OR higher than 120

* If you are experiencing symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, or an abnormal heart rate in conjunction with a low blood pressure reading, you should speak to your doctor.

** You should only spend up to 24 hours in this range. If your blood pressure stays high for more than 24 hours, you might have chronic hypertension.

*** If your blood pressure is very high (above 180/120), you need to get medical help right away. This could lead to a stroke or heart attack if left untreated.

Printable at-home blood pressure monitoring chart

As blood pressure can fluctuate, monitoring it and logging it at home can provide insight into potential warning signs. Also, it can confirm whether or not you actually have a blood pressure issue and whether your treatment is working.

Print blood pressure chart Print blood pressure chart

euroClinix experts have designed this blood pressure chart for your convenience. Download the chart and print it today.

Blood pressure calculator

You can use a blood pressure calculator to find out if your blood pressure readings are healthy. There are multiple versions online that are easy to use. Before you can use a calculator for your blood pressure, you will still need to know your blood pressure readings. The calculator will just tell you if it is within a healthy range or not.

You can just as easily use the table above to find out whether your blood pressure is too low, within a healthy range, or high. Another option is to download a blood pressure calculator app that will help you keep track of your blood pressure.

Blood pressure chart by age and gender

Many things can affect your blood pressure readings, like your age and gender. So what should your blood pressure be as you age?

As we get older, our blood pressure numbers are more likely to go up. But people whose blood pressure is higher than normal are more likely than others to have hypertension. In the past, different guidelines said that the "normal" blood pressure for adults varied depending on their gender and age. But new data show that the number for everyone should be no higher than 120/80 mmHg (for males and females).

The UK guidelines recommend that people with hypertension should have their blood pressure measured in clinics or GP practices to make sure it is less than 140/90mmHg if they are younger than 80 years old, and less than 150/90mmHg if they are older than 80 years old.

You should always seek advice from your doctor about the blood pressure you should maintain.

What does a high blood pressure reading mean?

Many things can affect your blood pressure throughout the day, such as the temperature, when you last ate, physical activity, stimulants and how stressed you are.

High blood pressure increases the risk of life-threatening heart attacks or strokes. That is why it is important to know your numbers. You should seek medical attention if your blood pressure is consistently high. Hypertension is a well-known “silent killer” in fact, 46% of adults with hypertension were unaware that they had it, according to WHO.

If your doctor suspects you have high blood pressure, they will likely check your readings several times over a few weeks to ensure it was not just a one-off occurrence.

How can I control my blood pressure?

If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend making some lifestyle changes. This could include eating more fruits and vegetables, being physically active, losing weight, limiting alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and eating a heart-healthy diet. The goal is to get your blood pressure down to the normal range (below 120/80).

To control your blood pressure, your doctor may also prescribe blood pressure medications, such as:

  • Diuretics (e.g. Bendroflumethiazide)
  • Beta-blockers (eg. Propranolol)
  • ACE inhibitors (e.g. Lisinopril)
  • Calcium channel blockers (e.g. Amlodipine)

Although high blood pressure can be prevented and treated, it is estimated that between 50 and 80% of people do not take all of their prescribed medications. Taking your medicine as instructed is important for keeping your blood pressure healthy.

If you want to prevent health problems, take your blood pressure medication correctly. You can refill your prescription online without having to visit your doctor. When you place your order with euroClinix, we will ask you some questions about your health so our doctors can determine if the prescription is right for you.

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