What is blood pressure?
The blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood being pumped around your body by the heart. Your blood pressure may vary throughout the day. For instance, it is the lowest during sleep time, and rises when you awake. It may also go up when you are excited or physically active.
What are the components of blood pressure?
Systolic Blood Pressure: This refers to the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats
Diastolic Blood Pressure: This refers to the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats
Blood pressure readings are expressed as a ratio of systolic pressure over the diastolic pressure. For instance, if your systolic pressure reads 120 and your diastolic pressure reads 80, we would refer this to 120 over 80, or 120/80 mmHg (millimeters of mercury).
Diastolic blood pressure can also increase as one ages. This may be due to stiffening arteries.
What is a normal blood pressure reading?
An ideal blood pressure reading should be lower than 120/80 mmHg.
The following table for adults aged 18 years and above illustrates the different levels of blood pressure reading.
Systolic 129 and below and Diastolic below 80
High-Normal Blood Pressure
Systolic 130 and above, or Diastolic between 80 to 89
High Blood Pressure: Stage 1 Hypertension
Systolic 140 to 159, or Diastolic between 90 to 99
High Blood Pressure: Stage 2 Hypertension
Systolic 160 and above, or Diastolic 100 and above
Isolated Systolic Hypertension
Systolic 140 and above and Diastolic below 90
Please note the following:
When systolic and diastolic blood pressures fall into different categories, the higher category should be used to classify blood pressure levels. For instance, 160/80 mmHg would be classified as stage 2 hypertension.
Isolated Systolic Hypertension is graded according to the same level of systolic blood pressure.
What if I have high blood pressure or hypertension?
You should consult a doctor for a better understanding of your condition. Your doctor may recommend either or both of the following:
Lifestyle changes: This may include eating healthy, getting regular physical exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and limiting your alcohol intake, as well as not smoking.
Medications: Depending on how high your blood pressure is and your overall health, your doctor may also discuss the option of starting you on certain medications.