Normal Arterial Tension
Traditionally, an ideal blood pressure is considered around 120/80 mmhg, but many experts believe that having it at 115/75 is preferable. Healthy people who exercise regularly, who do not usually smoke and have a balanced diet tend to have slightly lower blood pressure than previously thought to be normal (120/80).
What is normal blood pressure?
The first number (for example, 120) – Systolic Pressure – represents the pressure in your blood vessels (arteries, veins) when the heart contracts. The second number (for example, 80) – Diastolic Pressure – represents the pressure in the blood vessels between beats, when the heart is at rest.
If your blood pressure increases to 135/85, it roughly doubles the risk of having a heart attack. A blood pressure of 155/95 doubles the risk again (ie, a risk 4 times greater than 115/75) and so on.
Ideally, you should maintain a blood pressure between 90/60 and 120/80. Blood pressure below 90/60 is considered low blood pressure, which is fine, as long as you do not suffer from symptoms (fainting, dizziness, dehydration).
Measurement of blood pressure
- Less than 90/60 is considered low blood pressure
- 120/80 is the normal blood pressure (still) considered
- Higher than 140/90 is considered high blood pressure
- Between 140/90 – 160/100 is phase 1 of hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Above 160/100 is hypertension in stage 2
- Above 180/110 is severe or phase 3 hypertension
- This means that if your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 140/90 it is still normal, although more and more doctors consider this the pre-hypertensive scenario.
Keep in mind that pre-hypertension tends to get worse if you do not make the decision to lead an appropriate lifestyle. It’s a warning that you have to change your lifestyle (for example, exercise more and eat a healthy diet), before it’s too late. The closer you get to 120/80, or below it, the faster you can enjoy an ideal blood pressure. A person with normal blood pressure will help the blood carry oxygen and nutrients to all the cells in the body without putting a strain on the walls of the blood vessels.
Is at risk?
Generally, doctors evaluate risk factors (age, sex, ethnicity, cholesterol, lifestyle, and blood pressure) in order to determine the risk of developing high blood pressure. All these factors will result in a score of 10 that determines the risk of getting cardiovascular disease in the next ten years. If you get two points or less in this score, your GP will recommend that you start treatment along with the radical lifestyle changes.
The measurement of your blood pressure is easy and fast. However, as blood pressure varies constantly depending on many factors (stress, anxiety), taking your blood pressure only once is not enough to determine if you have high blood pressure .
How to control blood pressure?
Blood pressure is controlled by a variety of mechanisms. Your body can regulate the amount of blood pumped by the heart, the amount of blood in the arteries (through the expansion and narrowing mechanisms) and the amount of blood in the veins (which also expand and narrow, thus sending less blood to the heart).
The amount of blood is controlled by the kidneys by adjusting the amount of urine that is produced. If more urine is produced, the amount of blood is reduced, which causes a decrease in blood pressure . On the other hand, if less blood is sent to the kidneys, the amount of blood increases, producing high blood pressure. That’s why kidney disease can cause hypertension and affect people who would otherwise have a normal blood pressure.