Understanding the Blood Pressure Range and What's Considered Abnormal

Blood Pressure Range Abnormal Integrative Primary Care

Recent statistics from the American Heart Association indicate that more than 100 million American adults have high blood pressure. That’s almost 50% of all adults in the United States. If you’re not alarmed by this statistic, you may want to reconsider. New guidelines for what’s considered high blood pressure may put you in this category, even if you previously weren’t.

As board-certified internists who specialize in treating chronic conditions, including high blood pressure, Dr. Syed Farhat Zaidi and Dr. Imran Baig of Integrative Primary Care in Houston and Katy, Texas, want to help you understand what blood pressure ranges mean and what’s considered abnormal. Since high blood pressure often leads to heart disease — the number 1 cause of death in the US — it’s important to keep your blood pressure within a healthy range.

Understanding the new blood pressure guidelines

In late 2017, the American Heart Association redefined the standard for measuring high blood pressure. Up until then, the “safe” numbers were anything below the range of 140/90. Now, if your blood pressure is 130/80 or higher, you’re classified as having high blood pressure.

Systolic pressure

The upper number in 130/80 is your systolic pressure. This is the measure of pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats.

Diastolic pressure

The lower number in 130/80 is your diastolic pressure. This is the measure of pressure in your blood vessels when your heart rests between beats.

The two numbers together determine your overall blood pressure, with 120/80 considered normal. Under the new guidelines, if your blood pressure measures 130/80, just above normal, you need to do something about it before it becomes a serious health concern.

Know your blood pressure range

Under the most recent blood pressure guidelines, here’s how your numbers stack up:

With each stage of elevated blood pressure, you increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke. Because hypertension often presents no obvious symptoms, your life could be in danger. and you might not even know it until it’s too late.

If you’re currently in an at-risk category, or if you have full-blown hypertension, the team at Integrative Primary Care can develop a personalized treatment plan to help you reduce your numbers to a healthier state.

What you can do to lower your blood pressure right now

Start walking more. When your blood pressure is in a high-risk range, you need to boost your activity levels. Of course, consult your physician before beginning any exercise program, but for most people, you should begin walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week to help lower your blood pressure.

Start eating healthier. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health, recommends a healthier eating plan known as the DASH eating plan, or DASH diet. It outlines a long-term nutritional plan that you can maintain on your own, without the need for special foods or diet plans. Instead, the DASH eating plan offers daily and weekly guidelines that help you eat foods:

The DASH eating plan is just one part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. When you combine it with daily exercise and lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, you can lower your blood pressure and your cholesterol for life.

An individualized plan for lowering blood pressure

Everyone’s health needs are different, and at Integrative Primary Care, we take a holistic, whole-person approach to diagnosing and treating your high blood pressure. You may need medication at first to lower your blood pressure to a safe level. But, if you’re committed to making lifestyle changes and eating a healthier diet, you should be able to keep your blood pressure at a safe level long-term. That means you reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke — the leading causes of death as a result of heart disease.

Even if you don’t feel like you’re unhealthy, or if you don’t exhibit any symptoms, you could have hypertension and not even realize it. We encourage you to get your blood pressure checked as soon as possible, preferably as part of a complete physical.

Call the friendly office team at Integrative Primary Care in Katy, or Houston, Texas, or book online. We’ll do our best to get you scheduled quickly, which is often the same day.

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