A matter close to the heart: the right blood pressure levels

Many factors affect blood pressure. If it is too high or too low, it can pose a risk to the heart and brain. So, it is important to regularly check your blood pressure. Find out here what levels are healthy, how you can test your blood pressure, and how you can lower it.

High blood pressure is very common: it can be hereditary or caused by various external factors. Because it is a painless condition but can lead to serious related complications, it poses a serious health risk. The blood pressure chart helps keep an eye on your blood pressure levels and reduce blood pressure by making small changes to diet and exercise habits.

Blood pressure levels at a glance

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). 1 mmHg is equivalent to a pressure of about 133 pascal or 0.00133 bar.

There are two blood pressure readings: systolic blood pressure measures the maximum pressure generated during the contraction phase of the left ventricle of the heart. Diastolic blood pressure is the remaining pressure during the relaxation phase of the heart.

Ideally, blood circulates at a maximum pressure of 120 over 80 mmHg. Up to 129/84 is considered normal; elevated blood pressure up to 139/89 is still considered to be within the normal range. Higher levels may be a sign of potentially harmful high blood pressure: 159/99 is considered slightly high blood pressure and levels over 180/110 are considered to be severe high blood pressure.

Blood pressure readings

Category

Systolic blood pressure

(mmHg)

Diastolic blood pressure

(mmHg)

Low

< 100 < 60

Optimal

< 120 < 80

Normal

< 130 < 85

High-normal

130 - 139 85 - 98

Stage 1 (mild hypertension)

140 - 159 90 - 99

Stage 2 (moderate hypertension)

160 - 179 100 - 109

Stage 3 (acute hypertension)

> 180 > 110

How to properly measure blood pressure

Blood pressure should be measured in a resting state, with the arm positioned roughly at the same height as the heart. To ensure reliable values, two measurements should be taken over a span of five minutes and then the average of the two readings calculated. Because blood pressure fluctuates over the course of the day, it should always be measured at the same time of day.

How to properly interpret blood pressure levels

Because blood pressure is different for every person, there are no specific limits – except for excessively high blood pressure values – for when it is advisable to see a doctor. However, if the levels rise excessively or the person has symptoms such as shortness of breath, sensations of pressure in the chest, dizziness, or nausea, they should seek medical attention immediately.

What is a blood pressure chart?

The blood pressure chart is a way to document the readings a person has taken themselves. Because blood pressure fluctuates over the course of the day, the blood pressure chart is used to record both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, along with the date and time of the measurement. The pulse should also be recorded to provide additional information.

It allows self-monitoring of blood pressure and can help an attending doctor to better assess the values in the long term, improving the precision of the diagnosis.

Why do I need a blood pressure chart?

Older persons, those with a hereditary predisposition, heart problems, or systemic diseases (e.g. diabetes) are all especially prone to high blood pressure. A blood pressure chart helps a person to monitor their individual values, to identify abnormalities early on, and to treat unhealthy blood pressure values at an early stage.

Blood pressure chart download

 The ideal blood pressure levels

Maximum blood pressure values of 120/80 when physically at rest are considered ideal for an adult. Blood pressure levels up to 139/89 are within the normal range that do not pose any health risk. Levels over 129/84, however, are already considered in the elevated-normal range.

Blood pressure readings over 159/99 are considered to be minor hypertension and require a medical attention to avoid harmful complications.

When is my blood pressure too high?

Whether a person’s individual blood pressure is so high that lowering it is necessary to prevent the development of pathological conditions does not merely depend on the blood pressure value. A person’s individual medical history is the determining factor: for instance, persons at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease may already require treatment even for levels falling within the elevated-normal range.

If a case of high blood pressure goes untreated, the risk of cardiac insufficiency, heart attack, circulatory disorders, stroke, or kidney damage increase considerably. This is why blood pressure should be checked regularly; at-risk groups are recommended to keep a blood pressure chart.

Preventing high blood pressure

Exercising for 30 minutes a day can reduce blood pressure by as much as 9 mmHg. Eating less salt achieves a similar effect. Alcohol should be consumed only in moderation, and smoking should be avoided entirely. A healthy diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk products, and little meat will keep blood pressure low.

Each excess kilogram of body weight a person loses reduces blood pressure by up to 2 mmHg. Because stress also increases blood pressure, care should be taken to ensure a good work-life balance and adequate sleep.