Understanding blood pressure (BP) ranges is especially important for people living with cardiovascular disease. Having blood pressure that is either too high or too low can be extremely bad for your health. However, high blood pressure (hypertension) is particularly dangerous, as it can increase a person’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Age is one of the main factors affecting blood pressure. This means that what constitutes a “normal” or safe blood pressure range changes slightly as we get older.
What Do Blood Pressure Readings Mean?
Blood pressure is a medical term which refers to the pressure imposed on the walls of arteries and veins, as blood circulates the body. Most people do not know what the numbers of a blood pressure reading actually mean, so we will explain that briefly here.
Blood pressure readings consist of two numbers which are usually separated with a “/”. For example, “120/60”. The first of these numbers refers to systolic blood pressure, or to put it simply, the pressure on artery walls when the heart is beating or pushing blood around the body. The second number refers to diastolic blood pressure, or the pressure on artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
Generally, a healthy adult should have systolic blood pressure of lower than 120 and a diastolic blood pressure of lower than 80. However, doctors may outline a different ideal range for much older adults or those living with chronic health conditions.