What Does My Blood Pressure Reading Mean?

The information below and in the related links is designed to help you understand what your latest blood pressure readings may mean for your health. However, this isn’t a substitute for medical advice, particularly since a number of personal factors may influence your blood pressure. Please discuss your blood pressure concerns with your doctor or medical practitioner.

What Blood Pressure Numbers Mean

Blood pressure measures the force of blood pushing on arterial walls. It’s measured using two numbers: systolic and diastolic. The first or upper number is called systolic blood pressure. This measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats and is pumping blood.

The second or lower number is called diastolic blood pressure. This measures the pressure in your blood vessels between beats when your heart is at rest.

So a reading of 121 systolic and 82 diastolic would be 121 over 82 or 121/82.

Use the blood pressure ranges below to help understand your blood pressure reading.

Hypertensive Crisis (Seek Emergency Care)

Range

Summary

181/111 – 230/140

Readings above 180 systolic pressure or above 110 diastolic pressure indicate a hypertensive crisis. Blood pressure readings in this range put you at the highest risk for heart attack, stroke, and other life-threatening issues.

Extremely high blood pressure can cause headache, nausea, vision changes, mental confusion, chest pain and shortness of breath. It is considered a hypertensive emergency if you have a blood pressure reading over 185/110 combined with any of these symptoms. Call 911 and seek medical attention immediately.

Doctors may also diagnose you with hypertensive urgency when you don’t have any symptoms but your blood pressure remains high. Whether a hypertensive emergency or hypertensive urgency, it’s important to bring your blood pressure down as soon as possible.

Click on the link that most closely matches your reading to learn more about what your blood pressure reading means and what you can do about it.

Specific Blood Pressure Readings:

230/140230/135230/130230/125230/120,  230/115, 225/140 225/135, 225/130, 225/125225/120, 225/115220/140, 220/135220/130, 220/125220/120, 220/115, 215/140, 215/135, 215/130, 215/125, 215/120, 215/115, 210/140, 210/135, 210/130, 210/125, 210/120, 210/115, 205/140, 205/135, 205/130, 205/125, 205/120, 205/115, 200/140, 200/135, 200/130, 200/125, 200/120, 200/115, 195/140, 195/135, 195/130, 195/125, 195/120, 195/115, 190/140, 190/135, 190/130, 190/125, 190/120, 190/115, 185/140, 185/135, 185/130, 185/125, 185/120, 185/115

Stage 2 Hypertension (High Blood Pressure and High Risk)

Range

Summary

160/100 – 180/110

Readings between 160/110 and 180/110 indicate Stage 2 Hypertension. Hypertension is defined as a systolic blood pressure of greater or equal to 140 and/or a diastolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 90. In other words, the force of the blood pressure in your arteries is higher than normal.

Already diagnosed with hypertension? If so a blood pressure in this range indicates the need to adjust your blood pressure medications.

Blood pressure readings in this range put you at higher risk for life-threatening problems such as heart attack and stroke. It’s important to your health to lower your blood pressure through a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.

Click on the link that most closely matches your reading to learn more about what your blood pressure reading means and what you can do about it.

Specific Blood Pressure Readings:

180/110, 180/105, 180/100, 175/110, 175/105, 175/100, 170/110, 170/105, 170/100, 165/110, 165/105, 165/100, 160/110, 160/105, 160/100

Stage 1 Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Range

Summary

140/90 – 159/99

Readings between 140/90 and 159/99 indicate Stage 1 Hypertension, which means the force of the blood pressure in your arteries is higher than normal. Hypertension is defined as a systolic blood pressure of greater or equal to 140 and/or a diastolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 90.

Hypertension increases your risk of life-threatening problems such as heart attacks and stroke. Blood pressure in this range may also damage the heart and kidneys, particularly in those who already have chronic medical problems affecting these organs.

Already diagnosed with hypertension? If so a blood pressure in this range may indicate the need to adjust your blood pressure medications.

Elevated blood pressure should be confirmed on at least 3 separate days before diagnosing hypertension.

Click on the link that most closely matches your reading to learn more about what your blood pressure reading means and what you can do about it.

Specific Blood Pressure Readings:

155/95, 155/90, 150/95, 150/90, 145/95, 145/90, 140/95, 140/90

Pre-hypertension or High Normal

Range

Summary

120/80 – 139/89

Readings between 120/80 and 139/89 indicate Pre-Hypertension or High Normal blood pressure. The good news is you don’t have hypertension. However, your blood pressure is higher than recommended for most adults.

Research suggests that people with pre-hypertension are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke compared to those with lower blood pressure.

People with pre-hypertension often develop hypertension, so having your blood pressure checked regularly is important.

Already on blood pressure medicine? If so, this level of blood pressure may be considered adequate, especially if your systolic (upper number) blood pressure is between 120 and 130.

However, many doctors don’t prescribe medication to treat pre-hypertension unless the patient has other medical conditions that would benefit from lower blood pressure. Instead, lifestyle changes including diet and exercise are recommended.

Click on the link that most closely matches your reading to learn more about what your blood pressure reading means and what you can do about it.

Specific Blood Pressure Readings:

135/85, 135/80, 130/85, 130/80, 125/85, 125/80, 120/85, 120/80

Normal Blood Pressure

Range

Summary

91/61 – 119/79

Readings above 90/60 and below 120/80 indicate that the blood pressure in your arteries is Normal.

Click on the link that most closely matches your reading to learn more about what your blood pressure reading means and what you can do about it.

Specific Blood Pressure Readings:

115/75, 115/70, 115/65, 110/75, 110/70, 110/65, 105/75, 105/70, 105/65, 100/75, 100/70, 100/65, 95/75, 95/70, 95/65

Hypotension (Low Blood Pressure)

Range

Summary

80/50 – 90/60

Readings at or below 90/60 usually indicate low blood pressure or what is called Hypotension. What this means is the blood pressure in your arteries is lower than what is considered normal.

However, there’s usually no need to be concerned about low blood pressure unless you’re experiencing dizziness, fainting, nausea or fatigue. Hypotension may not even be diagnosed unless you’re experiencing these symptoms.

You may get low blood pressure as a side effect of certain medications. Already on blood pressure medication? If so it may be working too well and should be adjusted.

Click on the link that most closely matches your reading to learn more about what your blood pressure reading means and what you can do about it.

Specific Blood Pressure Readings:

90/60, 90/55, 90/50, 85/60, 85/55, 85/50, 80/60, 80/55, 80/50

Severe Hypotension (Very Low Blood Pressure)

Range

Summary

Below 80/50

Readings below 80/60 indicate very low blood pressure or Severe Hypotension. You may have very low blood pressure but feel fine. It depends on the person.

However, very low blood pressure could also have an underlying cause and indicate a serious heart problem or infection. In some instances severe hypotension can result in shock, causing confusion, clammy skin and rapid shallow breathing.

Very low blood pressure can also be caused by an endocrine problem, pregnancy and dehydration. Certain medications and nutritional deficiencies can also reduce your blood pressure.

Click on the link that most closely matches your reading to learn more about what your blood pressure reading means and what you can do about it.

Specific Blood Pressure Readings:

75/45, 75/40, 70/45, 70/40, 65/45, 65/40, 60/45, 60/40, 55/45, 55/40, 50/45, 50/40, 45/45, 45/40, 40/45, 40/40