Blood Pressure Readings
Understanding blood pressure readings can be very useful
in your quest to become healthier.

What is blood pressure?

normal blood pressure reading
systolic blood pressure - diastolic blood pressure

blood pressure readings explained

high blood pressure reading
cause of high blood pressuresymptoms of high blood pressure

 low blood pressure reading
cause of low blood pressure   - symptoms of low blood pressure

Blood Pressure Readings

Your heart probably beats more than 100,000 times a day.
Blood Pressure is the amount of pressure exerted against the inner walls
of the arteries when the heart beats.

As the heart muscle contracts…
or (beats) it pumps blood from inside the chambers of the heart,
out into the narrow tubes of the blood stream.  Each time the heart contracts,
(beats) it creates an immediate pressure (blood pressure)
in all the arteries of your body.

The pressure on the artery walls when the heart pumps (or beats)
and the pressure against the same artery walls when the heart relaxes
(between beats), are the blood pressure readings that you normally hear about.

This blood pressure information is written as two numbers,
such as “120 / 80” or spoken as “120 over 80”.

Systolic blood pressure reading

The top number 120 in this instance is the blood pressure reading
(or pressure of the blood against the artery walls) just when the heart contracts…
or pumps... or beats… this is called the systolic blood pressure reading.

Diastolic blood pressure reading

The bottom number of 80 is the blood pressure reading of the same artery when
the heart is at rest, the moment it relaxes between beats and refills with blood.
The bottom number of this example (80) is called the diastolic blood pressure.

Blood pressure readings

A blood pressure of 120/80 have always been considered a normal blood pressure reading...
and the center of the normal to average blood pressure range.
The numbers 120 and 80 are a pressure measurement in (mm hg) or millimeters
of mercury.  Millimeters (mm) being a standard form of measurement of length
and (hg) being the scientific symbol for the metallic liquid substance we call mercury.
Mercury just happens to have a very specific relationship to gravity.
The relationship in this case is the amount of mercury (measured in millimeters)
that the pressure created by the heart pump… can lift... against gravity.

This measures the amount of pressure the heart pump is creating in your arteries
to lift the blood from your heart to your brain by using the substance (mercury)
as the rule of thumb.  The substance mercury no longer has to exist in the
blood pressure device to get a proper reading, but the blood pressure measurement
is still written (mm hg).

The new "normal blood pressure" standard baseline 
has recently been lowered to 115/75

B/P 135/85 - 2x the risk of heart disease or stroke
B/P 155/95 - 4x the risk of heart disease or stroke
  B/P 175/105 - 8x the risk of heart disease or stroke

National Institute of Health 2004


High Blood Pressure Reading
   Also known as Hypertension

High blood pressure (hypertension) is when the heart contracts…
(beats) and exerts an above average or dangerous amount of pressure against
the inside walls of the arteries.

Any abnormal blood pressure reading that consistently stays at 140/90 or higher
is considered high blood pressure or hypertension

Essential hypertension

High blood pressure without any identifiable symptoms

The cause of high blood pressure

Psychological causes

STRESS, anxiety, anger and fear are the most common psychological causes
of high blood pressure and can instantly increase blood pressure.
Lowering stress and anxiety levels will also lower blood pressure.
Blood pressure readings may be affected by many different conditions including
many types of disorders.  But psychological factors such as stress, anxiety,
fear, anger or depression are almost always involved.

Physical causes

There are many physical things that can raise blood pressure readings.

Physical activity and exercise can raise heart rate and increase high blood pressure

Smoking contains hundreds of different chemicals that increase blood pressure.

Alcohol and drug intake affect blood pressure differently depending on
age, size, usage and personal tolerances

The time of day may be a factor…
barometric pressure (changes in the atmospheric outdoor weather pressures
(the every day high pressure and low pressure weather fronts
you hear about on your local weather forecast)
can also alter blood pressure reading a few degrees causing lower blood pressure
in the morning and higher in the afternoon/evening…. And or lower blood pressure
in the summer and higher in winter.   Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
(not getting enough sunlight) can also add to depression and stress.

Various chemicals and medications – prescription and non- prescription
Medications – and complications from taking multiple medications

High cholesterol (a type of fat that build up inside your blood vessels
that makes them narrower) may be clogging arteries.
Cholesterol from foods such as white bread, eggs, and dairy products tends to get
caught up in your arteries… making the blood vessels narrower by slowly
filling them with fat deposits that restrict the flow of blood. The blood
being forced through these smaller tubes creates higher blood pressure than
if it was in a clean, smooth and spacious blood tube as it is supposed to be.

Family traits.  Hypertension may run in the family.

Being overweight – applies undue pressure against all the internal organs
and adds strain to the heart.

Sodium intake (salt content of the body) may have no effect on people
with normal blood pressure, but may have a very significant effect in those
with high blood pressure.

Kidney problems may cause complications with high blood pressure

Improper hormone levels in the bloodstream can raise stress levels
and thereby raise blood pressure

Blood pressures may be influenced by many other specific complications
such as cardiovascular, neurological and kidney disorders

Symptoms of high blood pressure

 High blood pressure symptoms are not easy to identify.
There are usually no identifiable symptoms.

It has been determined that there are no specific symptoms that indicate that
someone has high blood pressure.   You can't just look at a room of people and
pick them out.  You may however determine who is more likely to have
high blood pressure if you knew more about their lifestyle.

Many people think that having a headache is a sign of high blood pressure,
and it may well have some relevance to some people who have extremely high
blood pressure, but in general, headaches are no more common in people with
high blood pressure than it is with people without.

One thing that may cause headaches in people who have high blood pressure
is stress.  Stress tends to make you tense, and the muscle tension can
easily cause headaches.  So just knowing you have high blood pressure may
add enough stress to your life to start giving you a headache.

Something to think about for those of you who didn't have
any headaches before you found out you had high blood pressure.

Low Blood Pressure Reading
Also known as Hypo tension<>

What is Low Blood Pressure?

Low blood pressure (hypo tension) is an abnormal condition in which
the blood pressure is lower than 90/60 or is low enough to cause specific
symptoms or interfere with specific body functions.

Low blood pressure is:
when there is lower than average amount of pressure when the heart pumps.
This could be the sign of a small leak or other heart difficulty.
A low blood pressure reading
is much less common than high blood pressure.

Keep in mind that smaller people may have lower blood pressure than taller ones.
A low blood pressure reading of 90/70 or even 80/60 may be normal
for children and smaller people.

Cause of low blood pressure

Sudden change in body position – sitting up, standing up too fast

Prescription drugs may be a cause of low blood pressure for some people
Things such as blood pressure medications, diuretics (water pills),
anti anxiety medications, anti-depressants and tranquilizers can be a
contributing factor to the cause of low blood pressure.

Allergic reactions to drugs may also cause a low blood pressure reading

Lack of liquids in the body can cause low blood pressure
including dehydration or massive blood loss

Reducing body temperature can slow the heart and lower blood pressure

Symptoms of low blood pressure

light headedness

A low blood pressure reading once in awhile is really nothing to worry about.
Low blood pressure symptoms are not considered to be a problem as long as
the organs are getting enough blood and the kidneys are able to function.

Dehydration – or lack of fluids in the system may be a cause low blood pressure,
but once the blood or fluid is replaced, the pressure should return to normal.

Low blood pressure symptom(s) are sometimes easier to spot than high blood
pressure symptoms.  Feeling light headed when you stand up may be a symptom
of low blood pressure… but it may pass quickly.  Feeling tired or weak may
also be a symptom of low blood pressure.

Normal blood pressure reading

Normal blood pressure range
Blood pressure normal range for average sized adults
is between 110/70 to 140/90
(spoken 110 over 70 to 140 over 90)

Normal blood pressure is considered 120/80 or spoken (120 over 80)**

Acceptable above normal blood pressure is 130 to 140/90
Spoken (130 to 140 over 90)

A low blood pressure reading as low as 90/70 or  80/60 could be
considered normal for children and small people.

** Notice **

The new "normal blood pressure" standard baseline 
has recently been lowered to 115/75

B/P 135/85 - 2x the risk of heart disease or stroke
B/P 155/95 - 4x the risk of heart disease or stroke
  B/P 175/105 - 8x the risk of heart disease or stroke

National Institute of Health 2004

When you take blood pressure readings you should be seated and relaxed.

Home   -   Top of page   - Continue the tour

* Disclaimer

The information contained on these pages is for general reference purposes only.
It is not a substitute for professional medical advice.  You should always seek the advice of your
physician before starting any new treatment.

Sunset relaxation therapy (SRT) is a stress management technique
designed to reduce stress and lower blood pressure.

Feel free to tell your doctor about Sunset Relaxation Video and Sunset Relaxation Therapy.
SRT has been accepted by medicare, with doctors orders, as a therapeutic, psychological measure
and stress management technique to instantly reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
This stress management tool is now being used by many home health agencies.

If you think you have a stress disorder or have a difficult time managing or dealing with stress,
talk to your doctor about beginning some sort of stress management training.
The sunset relaxation and stress management technique may give you exactly
the stress relief you are looking for

Stress relief and stress reduction are extremely important if you have high blood pressure.

If your doctor has any questions about the Sunset relaxation method
you can have him contact me directly at:

this page last updated 10-26-04