High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a medical condition in which blood pressure in the blood vessels is consistently high. High blood pressure is caused primarily by an unhealthy lifestyle and genetic factors. Sometimes hypertension is also a result of renal diseases and endocrine conditions. People with persistent hypertension are at a high risk of coronary artery diseases, heart failure, chronic renal diseases, and dementia.
What your blood pressure number means
Blood pressure is expressed in two numbers, like 120/80 mm Hg. The first number or the systolic, here 120, is the pressure when the heart beats and the second number or diastolic, here 80, is the pressure when the heart rests between two beats. Read on to get a quick understanding of what your blood pressure numbers or a high blood pressure chart mean:
Blood pressure categories
According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure falls in various categories depending on systolic and diastolic readings:
- Normal – According to the high blood pressure chart, if the blood pressure measures less than 120/80, that is less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic, it is considered to be in the normal range. It is suggested to stick with a healthy lifestyle, follow a balanced diet, and do physical activities.
- Elevated – When blood pressure readings range from 120-129 systolic and less than 80 diastolic, it is said to be elevated. There are chances to develop high blood pressure if steps are not taken to control the situation.
- Hypertension Stage 1 – According to the high blood pressure chart, when blood pressure persistently ranges from 130-139 systolic and 80-89 diastolic, it is considered to be in the hypertension stage. Doctors would recommend lifestyle changes and prescribe medications.
- Hypertension Stage 2 – When blood pressure consistently ranges from 140 or higher systolic and 89 or more diastolic, the condition of hypertension stage 2 is developed. Doctors would prescribe medications and lifestyle changes at this point in time.
- Hypertensive crisis – This involves severely elevated blood pressure levels and requires medical attention. As per a high blood pressure chart, the pressure number in this condition is 180/110 mm Hg or more. Hypertensive crisis is categorized as hypertensive urgency, where oral medications are used to lower high blood pressure gradually.
Nearly half of the country’s population over the age of 20 has high blood pressure and many are unaware of it. Ignoring this condition can prove dangerous as high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.