There’s a good reason to start every doctor’s appointment with a blood pressure check. Most people find they have high blood pressure during a medical exam. A blood pressure reading comes in two numbers, an upper number and a lower number. Once you know your numbers, a blood pressure chart enters the scenario. This color-coded graph, which is often in shades of red, orange, and yellow, will tell you whether your blood pressure is normal or abnormal.
Simply, you can check your blood pressure against the graph to see if it is in the healthy range. Remember to average multiple readings before grabbing your blood pressure chart because a single reading doesn’t tell you much. Here is a simple guide about your blood pressure chart readings and what they mean for you.
What do the readings mean?
Blood pressure readings are generally expressed as a ratio of systolic and diastolic levels measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Systolic blood pressure is the maximum pressure produced during the systole phase, while diastolic blood pressure refers to the relaxation phase of the heart. The pulse will also be noted for additional background information. For example, a healthy individual’s blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. The first number, 120, is the systolic blood pressure, while the second number, 80, is the diastolic blood pressure.
You can find the top number (systolic) on the left side of the blood pressure chart and the bottom number (diastolic) on the bottom side. Most doctors use 140 over 90 mmHg as a cut-off point to diagnose high blood pressure. A blood pressure that is slightly higher than 120/80 mmHg means that you may have high blood pressure.
A review study says that color-coded blood pressure charts lead to better self-monitoring than traditional (non-color-coded) blood pressure booklets. The three color-coded areas in the graph reflect the risks accordingly:
- Green: blood pressure in the target range ≤ 140/90 mmHg
- Yellow: high blood pressure > 140 / > 90 mmHg
- Red: blood pressure in the danger zone > 180 mmHg / > 110 mmHg
blood pressure importance chart
When blood pressure becomes too high or too low, it acts as a silent killer, leading to potentially asymptomatic health disorders. Hence it is necessary to check the blood pressure reading regularly. But how do you measure it? The best way is to familiarize yourself with a blood pressure chart that documents your reading throughout the day.
|blood pressure class||Systolic blood pressure (mmHg)||diastolic blood pressure (mmHg)|
|Stage 1 (mild hypertension)||140-159||90-99|
|Stage 2 (moderate hypertension)||160-179||100-109|
|Stage 3 (acute hypertension)||>= 180||> = 110|
The blood pressure chart will allow you to self-monitor your blood pressure and evaluate long-term values for accurate diagnosis and better health. Having a blood pressure chart will help you identify the abnormal range in the early stage. It also encourages you to make small changes in your diet and exercise habits to treat unhealthy values.
A blood pressure chart can help you determine if your blood pressure is a healthy reading or if you will need to make changes to improve your numbers. You may have high blood pressure if your upper number is greater than 140 or your lower number is greater than 90. If your upper number is less than 100 or your lower number is less than 60, this indicates low blood pressure. Use a blood pressure chart to see where your numbers are.
When should blood pressure be checked?
Your risk of developing high blood pressure increases as you age. Systolic blood pressure rises while diastolic blood pressure decreases with age. However, in the midst of a modern, sedentary lifestyle, high or low blood pressure can happen to anyone who does not have any symptoms. Young people are more likely to have low systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Higher rates of obesity and an increase in BMI among young people are causing more blood pressure problems. In short, there is no set age to start checking your blood pressure. If your level is 120/80, always have it checked once a year; If it is just above 120/80, be sure to check it twice a year. On the other hand, if it is above 140/90, you need to check it more often.
Effects of abnormal blood pressure levels
When left unnoticed for too long, high blood pressure can preemptively do damage to your body before any symptoms appear. This will cause the heart to work harder, making it more susceptible to various health conditions such as;
A healthy artery will be strong, pliable, and resilient to ensure proper blood circulation. Increased blood flow due to high pressure will negatively affect the arteries and narrow them, leading to strokes and heart disease.
Your brain needs a healthy blood flow to function properly throughout the day, just as your heart does. However, high blood pressure can cause stroke, cognitive impairment, and dementia in some individuals.
Chronic kidney disease
Healthy kidneys depend on healthy blood vessels. The primary function of the kidneys is to filter excess fluid and waste products from the body. But abnormal blood pressure affects the blood vessels, resulting in scarring of the kidneys and other chronic conditions.
High blood pressure damages the blood vessels in the retina and optic nerve, increasing the risk of developing visual impairment. In other cases, high blood pressure can lead to loss of bone density, disturbed sleep patterns, memory loss, personality changes, and more.
Ways to maintain a healthy blood pressure level
If your blood pressure is normal, that’s great news! However, to avoid fluctuations in the numbers, here are some practical tips.
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet includes balanced food sources that are rich in magnesium, potassium and calcium with low salt/sodium intake. Following the diet will help you lower your blood pressure in a short period of time. Some recommended foods are avocados, whole grains, bananas, spinach, dark chocolate (in moderation), nuts and seeds.
Avoid alcoholic drinks
Alcohol consumption raises blood pressure and may lead to unfortunate cardiovascular events. Hence it is necessary to limit alcoholic beverages to maintain normal blood pressure levels.
Making active exercise patterns a part of your daily life for at least 30 minutes will ensure a normal blood pressure level. Whether you’re doing aerobic exercise, climbing stairs, or simply walking while on the phone, regular physical activity will boost your health and help you get optimal blood pressure readings.
When your body is under stress, your heart tends to beat faster, which narrows blood vessels and causes fluctuations in blood pressure levels. Hence, start adapting meditation or yoga to practice mindfulness and get away from stressful circumstances.
Shed some pounds
Losing at least 10 pounds can significantly lower your blood pressure if you are obese or overweight. Moreover, even a small amount of weight loss favorably affects systolic blood pressure.
Dehydration will make the heart work harder, pump blood faster, and affect blood pressure. Drinking plenty of water is very important for individuals with high blood pressure. Staying hydrated will ensure that the pressure level is maintained. According to the USDA, the daily water intake for optimal hydration is 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women.
Say no to nicotine
Either way, whether smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco, nicotine constricts the blood vessels that make the heart beat vigorously, thus increasing the level of blood pressure. Avoiding this stimulant will prevent the risk of developing abnormal blood pressure.
Prioritize a good sleep pattern
Disruptions in sleep quality cause blood pressure to rise for longer. When you sleep, your body’s stress level decreases. Therefore, it is essential to follow a good sleep pattern, at least for 7 to 8 hours per night.
A single high reading does not necessarily indicate high blood pressure. Many factors can affect your blood pressure during the day, such as the last time you ate, your sleep cycle, the exercise you do for your body, and whether you feel stressed. After checking the blood pressure chart, the next step is to start controlling these factors.
It’s never too early or too late to recognize a blood pressure chart. Several factors can affect the level of blood pressure, which poses a potential risk to the health of the brain and heart. Hence, it is essential to check your blood pressure regularly. Remember that you have more control over your blood pressure than you think.
Better lifestyle habits lay a solid foundation for normal blood pressure. Apart from regular blood pressure monitoring along with the chart, it is necessary to make necessary lifestyle changes. Design your daily life carefully with the best nutrition and physical activity plan, and get ready to reap the benefits of healthy living.