What is Average Blood Pressure and When should you Worry?
Your blood pressure numbers can tell your doctor a lot about your overall health, particularly when it comes to your heart and cardiovascular system. An average blood pressure will indicate that your cardiovascular system is functioning properly and that your many blood vessels throughout your body are strong and healthy. A higher than average blood pressure number can be a sign that your blood vessels are experiencing some strain and even some damage as a result of the blood moving through them. High blood pressure can put you at higher risk for problems later in life, like a greater likelihood of a heart attack, stroke or heart and kidney disease. Because of this, it is very important for you to be aware of what an average blood pressure is so that you can alert your doctor to any deviations from the norm that could indicate a potential problem.
What is an Average Blood Pressure?
Your blood pressure is measured by two different numbers. The top number, known as the systolic pressure, measures the pressure of the blood in the vessels when the heart is beating. The bottom number, or the diastolic pressure, evaluates the pressure of the blood when the heart is at rest. An average systolic blood pressure is usually around 120. Anything that is over 130 is considered borderline high, and 140 or more is high. The average diastolic blood pressure is 80, and anything above 90 is considered high. These two numbers will most likely correlate to one another, meaning that if the systolic pressure goes up, the diastolic pressure will rise as well. However, there are some instances where this is not the case, and the systolic will rise alone. This situation is most often seen in elderly patients, and is a result of blood vessels becoming stiff in the aging process.
If you have an average blood pressure that is close to 120/80 at your doctor's office, chances are that you will only need to have your blood pressure evaluated once or twice a year. However, if that average blood pressure number should rise, your doctor will probably want you to have more frequent blood pressure monitoring done, both at the office and from your own home. There are a number of home monitors that you can choose from for this purpose. If your average blood pressure continues to run on the high side, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes or medication to keep those numbers in check. There are also a number of things that you can do to help ensure that your average blood pressure numbers stay within the normal range, including a healthy diet, daily exercise and kicking habits like smoking.
Your average blood pressure can indicate much about your overall health. That is why it is so important to have regular blood pressure readings taken and to talk to your doctor if you see those numbers go on the rise.