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What's Considered High Blood Pressure? When to Get Help

November 12, 2023 Posted in: Heart Health

Blood pressure is a vital measure of your cardiovascular health. Understanding your blood pressure reading is crucial for maintaining overall well-being. It's typically represented as two numbers: systolic and diastolic. The systolic number measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats, while the diastolic number measures the pressure between heartbeats when your heart is at rest. Here's what you need to know about high blood pressure and when to seek help.

Blood pressure chart (health to unhealthy)

Disclaimer: "Normal" blood pressure can vary based on age and gender, but the chart below is commonly used to categorize different blood pressure ranges.

Category Systolic (mm Hg) Diastolic (mm Hg)
Normal Below 120 Below 80
Elevated 120-129 Below 80
Hypertension Stage 1 130-139 80-89
Hypertension Stage 2 140 or higher 90 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis Higher than 180 Higher than 120


When is high blood pressure a medical emergency?

If your blood pressure reading consistently falls into the "Hypertensive Crisis" category, it's a cause for concern. To confirm this state, wait and test again to ensure accuracy. If the elevated reading persists, it indicates a hypertensive crisis, which can be dangerous. This condition can lead to severe health issues, including heart attacks, strokes, or kidney damage. Seek immediate medical attention if you consistently record a hypertensive crisis reading.

“Normal” blood pressure by age

Blood pressure norms can vary throughout life stages. Here's an overview of "normal" blood pressure ranges for different age groups:


  • Systolic: 60-90 mm Hg
  • Diastolic: 20-60 mm Hg


  • Systolic: 72-104 mm Hg
  • Diastolic: 37-56 mm Hg


  • Systolic: 86-106 mm Hg
  • Diastolic: 43-63 mm Hg


  • Systolic: 89-112 mm Hg
  • Diastolic: 46-72 mm Hg

School Children

  • Systolic: 97-115 mm Hg
  • Diastolic: 57-76 mm Hg


  • Systolic: 112-128 mm Hg
  • Diastolic: 66-80 mm Hg

Adults (18-64)

  • Systolic: Below 120  mm Hg
  • Diastolic:Below 80 mm Hg

Seniors (65 and older)

  • Systolic: Below 130 mm Hg
  • Diastolic: Below 80 mm Hg

Blood pressure categories


Having a blood pressure reading within the normal range is a positive sign for your cardiovascular health. Regular monitoring and a healthy lifestyle can help maintain this level.


An elevated blood pressure reading suggests that you should focus on lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, and stress management. Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider are essential.

Hypertension stage 1

In this stage, your healthcare provider may recommend lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication to lower your blood pressure.

Hypertension stage 2

Hypertension Stage 2 indicates a more severe condition. Lifestyle changes and medication are often necessary for effective management.

Hypertensive crisis

A hypertensive crisis is a medical emergency. Seek immediate medical attention if you consistently record readings in this category.

Talk to your doctor about your Blood Pressure

It's crucial to be proactive about your blood pressure. Regular check-ups and discussions with your healthcare provider can help you manage your blood pressure effectively. Addressing high blood pressure early is vital to prevent it from becoming a medical emergency. Prioritize your cardiovascular health and make informed choices to maintain optimal blood pressure levels. Your well-being is worth it.

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