Healthy blood pressure for adults is generally a systolic value less than 120 and a diastolic value less than 80. High blood pressure (also called HBP or hypertension) is when the force of the blood flowing through your body is consistently too high. Your heart has to work harder to do its job. This can damage blood vessels and increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems. Although high blood pressure is not directly related to the sex assigned at birth, other health problems such as pregnancy, birth control, and menopause can increase a person’s risk of developing high blood pressure.
Blood pressure ranges
Your blood pressure reading contains two numbers: systolic (the first number) and diastolic (the second number).
Normal: Less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic
Elevated: 120-129 systolic and less than 80 diastolic
High blood pressure (hypertension) level 1: 130-139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic
High blood pressure (hypertension) level 2: 140 or higher systolic or 90 or higher diastolic
Hypertensive crisis: over 180 systolic and / or over 120 diastolic
Risk factors for hypertension in women
- 20 or more pounds overweight
- A family history of high blood pressure
- Menopause reached or passed
- Physical inactivity
- High salt / low potassium diet
- Certain chronic conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes, or sleep apnea
Blood pressure control
Regular visits to your family doctor include blood pressure measurements. You can also attend a Norton Prompt Care at the Walgreens Clinic.
The silent killer
People with HPB usually have no symptoms, which is why early detection is so important. If you are at risk for high blood pressure (see above), talk to your doctor about having your blood pressure monitored at home. The only reliable way to know if you have high blood pressure is to measure it with a blood pressure cuff or to have a doctor examine you.
Control of blood pressure
There is no “cure” for HPB, but you can change your lifestyle to reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke. In addition to prescribed medications, there are other ways you can control your blood pressure, including:
- Eating a heart-healthy diet with whole grains, vegetables and less salt
- Regular physical activity (at least that is.) 150 minutes a week)
- Maintain a healthy weight or lose weight
- Stop smoking
- Limiting the amount of alcohol you drink (for assigned women, the limit is one drink or less per day)
How often should I have my blood pressure checked by my doctor?
- Once a year if you are 40 years old or older or at risk for high blood pressure
- Every three to five years if you are between 18 and 40 years old and have no risk factor for high blood pressure
- Menopausal people as hormone changes affect blood pressure
You can have your blood pressure checked with a regular visit to your doctor. Other options include Norton Prompt Care in Walgreens clinics, which offer evening and weekend hours. Your doctor may ask you to take your blood pressure at home with a blood pressure cuff or similar device.