What is a healthy or normal blood pressure?
There are two categories of normal blood pressure:
· Normal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg. For over-80s, because it’s normal for arteries to get stiffer as we get older, the ideal blood pressure is under 150/90 mmHg (or 145/85 mmHg at home).
· High-normal blood pressure, sometimes called ‘pre-hypertension’, is when you don’t have an ideal blood pressure but you also don’t have high blood pressure. It’s usually considered to be between 120/80 mmHg and 140/90 mmHg. Being at this level might prompt you to live a healthier lifestyle so you don’t develop high
What counts as high blood pressure?
There are three different stages of high blood pressure:
· Stage one: this is when your blood pressure is between 140/90 mmHg and 160/100 mmHg in the clinic, or 135/85 mmHg to 150/95 mmHg at home.
· Stage two: this is when your blood pressure is between 160/100 mmHg and 180/120 mmHg in the clinic, or over 150/95 mmHg at home.
· Stage three: this is when your systolic blood pressure is over 180 mmHg or your diastolic blood pressure is over 120 mmHg in the clinic. This stage is also called ‘severe hypertension’, and your GP will need to assess you urgently for further investigations.
Discuss your readings with your healthcare team and ask any questions you have. Together, you might want to set a target blood pressure that’s right for you and your health goals.
How is high blood pressure treated?
How your high blood pressure is managed depends on a range of things, such as your health goals and the stage of your condition. The healthcare team at your GP practice will help you create a plan to reduce your blood pressure.
By making lifestyle changes, you can lower your blood pressure and keep it at a healthy level. Recent evidence shows that tackling obesity and staying active are especially important. You’ll feel the benefits right away with improved sleep, more energy, and a better mood. This useful tool developed by the NHS helps you make a plan that you can discuss with your GP.
If your blood pressure is high or very high, your GP will usually offer you medicines on top of lifestyle changes.
How often should my blood pressure be checked?
If you’re a healthy adult aged 40 to 74, it’s a good idea to get your blood pressure checked every five years (during an NHS Health Check if in England or Wales). If you’re near the threshold for high blood pressure, your healthcare team may ask to monitor you more often.
If your blood pressure is well controlled, you’ll normally be monitored yearly, along with reviewing any medication you take. When you start new medications or have dose changes to existing ones, your blood pressure will need to be checked more than once a year.
Check with your healthcare team how often to measure your blood pressure at home if you have your own monitor. Try keeping a diary of your readings – this will help your healthcare team spot patterns, and it might be motivating to see how your blood pressure improve over time.
Check out this short video on Blood pressure by the British Heart Foundation!