What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is a measurement of the force applied to the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood through the body. The pressure is determined by the force and amount of blood pumped and the size and flexibility of the arteries.
Blood pressure is continually changing depending on activity, temperature, diet, emotional state, posture, physical state and medication use.
What is blood pressure testing?
Blood pressure is usually measured in a seated position, with an arm resting in a bent position so it is at the same level as your heart. Your upper arm should be bare, with your sleeve comfortably rolled up.
Blood pressure readings are measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and are given as two numbers. For example, 110 over 70 (written as 110/70).
· The top number is the systolic blood pressure reading. It represents the maximum pressure exerted when the heart contracts.
· The bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure reading. It represents the minimum pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest.
What do results from a blood pressure test indicate?
A blood pressure reading less than 120 (systolic) over less than 80 (diastolic) is considered normal. Readings above 120/80 may indicate prehypertension.
The Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure recommends testing adults for high blood pressure every 2 years if their blood pressure is normally less than 120/80 mmHg.
Adults with high blood pressure or prehypertension should have their blood pressure checked every year or more often.
Who is blood pressure testing recommended for?
Most people cannot tell if their blood pressure is high because there are usually no symptoms. High blood pressure increases the risk of:
· Heart failure
· Heart attack
· Kidney failure
If you have high blood pressure, blood pressure measurements can help determine if your medicine and diet changes are working.
Low blood pressure may be a sign of a variety of illnesses, including heart failure, infection, gland disorders, and dehydration.
How do I prepare for a blood pressure test?
Blood pressure testing should be done when you are calm, have not exercised recently, used a tobacco product or consumed caffeine in the last 30 minutes.
Follow a healthy lifestyle to keep it at this level. More than 120 over 80 and less than 140 over 90 (120/80-140/90): You have a normal blood pressure reading but it is a little higher than it should be, and you should try to lower it.
UPDATE TO HIGI STATION BLOOD PRESSURE CLASSIFICATIONS
Did you know the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology updated their blood pressure guidelines?
higi has always used the AHA guidelines to classify your results received on the higi Station (for example, grouping your blood pressure as “Normal,” “Elevated” or “High”). We’ve now updated our classifications to align with the AHA’s newest guidelines.
How do these changes impact my blood pressure results?
Overall, the most impactful change to the new blood pressure guidelines include a lower definition of hypertension. The AHA guidelines now suggest that high blood pressure should be treated at 130/80 mmHg instead of the previous guideline of 140/90. Based on this change, you may notice that your classification shows “Elevated” or “High” when they may have been considered “Normal” before the update.
To manage high blood pressure, the AHA recommends:
Eating a low-salt diet
Limiting alcohol intake
Enjoying regular physical activity
Maintaining a healthy weight
Working with your doctor
The AHA also recommends that if your blood pressure is high, monitoring over time can be an important part of your routine. It can help you detect changes and gauge if the changes you’ve made are having a positive impact on your blood pressure.