I first got this question from my mother-in-law few years ago. Ever since, hundreds of other people have posed the question to me since I started blogging. It is interesting to note that it is quite normal for people’s blood pressure to change throughout the day and night, or in different settings where you may measure your blood pressure. There are so many factors that can cause changes in blood pressure level. These include: food or drink intake, stress levels, activity levels, time of day, etc. All these factors can all affect a person’s blood pressure reading at any given time. Many published studies have shown that a given person’s blood pressure can change by up to 20mm within a day, depending on factors like food/drink intake, activity levels, time of the day, stress, etc. This is one of the reasons why taking your blood pressure on a regular basis, and reviewing the overall trend of your blood pressure readings with your doctor is crucial.
Understanding your blood pressure (BP)
In order to know if you have high blood pressure (HBP, or hypertension), you will need to have your blood pressure tested. Understanding your blood pressure results is key to controlling it. For those looking more guidance on understanding the blood pressure readings, here are some tips. Below are the five common categories and what each means.
Just as a reminder, systolic is the top number and diastolic is the bottom number of a BP reading.
Category 1: Systolic is less than 120 and my diastolic is less than 80
This indicate your blood pressure is normal. Try as much as possible to keep your readings in this range by sticking with heart-healthy habits: e.g. eating balanced, getting regular exercise, reduce stress level, etc.
Category 2: Systolic is 120 – 129 and my diastolic is less than 80
This readings indicate you don’t have high blood pressure but fall within the Elevated category. This means you more likely to develop high blood pressure unless you take action to control it. Try as much as possible to make some small changes that could have big impacts on your health. Making some healthy lifestyle choices are always a great place to start. Eat balance diet, exercise more, reduce stress etc.
Category 3: Systolic is 130 – 139 or my diastolic is 80 – 89
The readings here indicate you are in the first stage of hypertension. However, there are actions you can take to get your blood pressure under control. Try to speak with your doctor about small changes that can make a big difference and other BP Raisers. In addition, monitoring blood pressure outside of the doctor’s office is important for BP control. It might also be advisable to have some blood pressure monitoring gadgets like Tens Unit Pads or Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor.
Category 4: Systolic is 140 or higher or my diastolic is 90 or higher
This readings indicate you have Stage 2 Hypertension. Making some lifestyle changes, in addition with medication prescribed by your doctor can still help reduce your blood pressure. In addition, it will be a good idea to continue to monitor blood pressure outside of the doctor’s office is important for BP control. It might also be advisable to have some blood pressure monitoring gadgets like Tens Unit Pads or Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor.
Category 5: Systolic is higher than 180 and/or my diastolic is higher than 120
Readings here indicate your BP falls within the Hypertensive crisis category. Urgent actions are required. If for any reason your numbers suddenly spiked to or above 180/120 mm Hg, wait five minutes and test your blood pressure again. It is important to contact your doctor immediately. If it remains high. You could be experiencing a hypertensive crisis. So, call your doctor ASAP.