What Is Normal Blood Pressure?

What Is Normal Blood Pressure?

The two numbers seen in a blood pressure reading are the systolic (upper number) and the diastolic (lower number). The systolic number is reading the pressure your blood is putting on the arteries as it is pushing through to the heart. The diastolic number is reading the pressure of the blood while the heart is at rest in between the heart beats.


Low systolic numbers are under 90.

Normal systolic numbers are 120 and under.

Prehypertensive or borderline high are 120 to 139.

Hypertensive or high are any numbers above 140.


Low diastolic numbers are under 60.

Normal diastolic numbers are 61 to 80.

Prehypertensive numbers are 81 to 89.

Hypertensive numbers are above 90.

High blood pressure also has another name, “the silent killer.” Many times the symptoms do not show up until all of a sudden there are signs of stroke or heart attack. At that point, there is no doubt that you would be wishing you had taken the time to pay attention to your body.

It is for that reason it is really important to at least have an idea of what your numbers are. Everyday stresses in life, the food we eat and even how much sleep we do or do not get influences what is going on in your arteries.


One of the reasons for high blood pressure is that plaque builds up in the arteries. Someone with type 2 diabetes can have inflammation in the arteries, which can in turn make the plaque buildup faster. Also eating a lot of foods full of cholesterol or sodium, being overweight, genes, and smoking can all influence how healthy your arteries are.


The lucky people sometimes do get a warning of an impending stroke or heart attack. Especially if you have been hypertensive for a while and start having these symptoms, be sure to check with your doctor. These symptoms could include any of the following:


Severe headache (can include floater images in the eyes)


Vision problems (from damage to blood vessels)

Chest pain

Difficulty breathing


Blood in urine(from kidney problems)

In the past, headaches have been considered a sign of high blood pressure, but recent studies (published in April 2008 edition of “Neurology”) have shown the opposite: headaches actually are a cause of high blood pressure. The people with the higher systolic numbers have less pain. One theory for that is that the stiffness of the arteries is blocking the pain. Severe headaches, especially with a nosebleed, severe anxiety, dizziness and/or shortness of breath could be the onset of a stroke.

Getting your numbers checked is recommended yearly unless blood pressure issues runs in your family or you already are aware that you have them. If that is the case, be sure follow your doctor’s advice on how often to check in with him. Then keep track of your numbers at home, not only for your peace of mind, but so you can show your doctor what’s going on outside of his office. And then let your doctor know if anything worrisome is happening!