What Is A Normal Blood Pressure Reading, And How Can You Maintain One?
Dec 06, 2023 By Madison Evans

Moreover, you can only tell whether you have high blood pressure once you receive your result; there are typically no warning signs. According to Baptist Health's Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute cardiologist and vascular medicine expert Ian Del Conde Pozzi, MD, "the difficulty with high blood pressure is that, contrary to common opinion, the great majority of patients will not have any symptoms." High blood pressure has been called "the silent killer" for this same reason. What follows is essential reading for anybody who needs to know more about their blood pressure in advance of an appointment with their doctor or who has been given the responsibility of keeping tabs on their blood pressure at home.

What Is Blood Pressure, Exactly?

Dr. Del Conde Pozzi said that "blood pressure" refers to the force pushing blood through the body's arteries. Normal blood pressure is created by your heart and is just enough to deliver blood to your organs, like your eyes and kidneys, without causing any long-term damage to your arteries. But prolonged hypertension restricts blood flow and increases the risk of developing atherosclerosis and other vascular complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that these alterations restrict and stiffen arteries, raising the probability of blood clots, cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack, and renal disease (CDC).

What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean?

Systolic blood pressure is the higher of the two numbers, and diastolic blood pressure is the lower value used to assess blood pressure. "120 over 80" or "120/80 mm Hg" is medical shorthand for a blood pressure reading of 120 on the systolic and 80 on the diastolic. According to the American Heart Association, the standard unit of measurement for blood pressure is still millimeters of mercury ("mm Hg" indicates millimeters of mercury because the element was employed in early blood pressure monitors and is in use today) (AHA).

The Normal Range Of Blood Pressure

According to the US National Library of Medicine, a healthy blood pressure range is between 90 and 60 mm Hg (MedlinePlus). As the threshold for the dangerously low blood pressure may vary from person to person, defining what is considered a "normal" blood pressure reading at the lower end of the spectrum can be more difficult. Uyen Lam, MD, cardiologist, and head of the Cardiovascular Rehabilitation and Prevention Center at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center in Boston, told Health that it is crucial to maintain both systolic and diastolic blood pressures within normal ranges.

Just What Does It Mean To Have Hypertension Or High Blood Pressure?

To be diagnosed with hypertension, or high blood pressure, your blood pressure readings must continuously be higher than what is considered healthy. It is normal for your blood pressure to fluctuate somewhat at different times of the day. If you suffer from "white-coat hypertension," or excessive worry while in the presence of healthcare providers, your blood pressure may rise when receiving treatment. If your blood pressure is normal in your doctor's office but rises when you go to work or your house, you may have "masked hypertension." According to Dr. Lam, your blood pressure will need to be checked many times in a clinical setting before a diagnosis of hypertension can be made.


Hypertension occurs when the diastolic pressure is more than 80 mm Hg and the systolic pressure is between 120 and 129 mm Hg regularly. While adopting better habits may help keep blood pressure in check, yours will continue to rise unless you take action.

Level One Hypertension

If your diastolic pressure is continuously 80 to 89 mm Hg or higher, or if your systolic pressure is routinely 130 to 139 mm Hg, you have stage 1 hypertension. Your doctor may suggest making certain lifestyle adjustments and potentially starting blood pressure medication if they determine that you are at a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Secondary Hypertension

You have hypertension if your blood pressure is at least 140 over 90 mm Hg (Stage 2). You'll probably be prescribed both lifestyle adjustments and medicines at this time.


A nurse will inflate a black or blue cuff and yell two numbers onto your chart. It's a blood pressure test, but the results might be puzzling if you need to know what they mean. High blood pressure is sometimes called "the silent killer." What you need to know about your blood pressure readings and how to keep them within a healthy range, whether you're just starting to keep track at home or are getting ready for your next doctor's visit.