Understanding Blood Pressure Readings and Measurements

Understanding Blood Pressure Readings and Measurements

Published: 28th July, 2022 in: Health Advice Services

When it comes to measuring your blood pressure, to an untrained eye it can be hard to know whether the measurement is good or bad. 

Use the following blood pressure guide to get all the essential knowledge on how to understand your next reading and how to action it.

Healthy and Unhealthy Blood Pressure

Generally speaking, blood pressure can fluctuate depending on various life factors that have no correlation to your health. Stress levels, daily fluid intake and exercise could all be factors to cause slight changes in your blood pressure reading.

With that in mind, the line between healthy and unhealthy readings can be an easy one to cross. Having a reading that leans slightly “unhealthy” doesn’t necessarily mean that you are an inherently unhealthy person, you may just need to make a simple change to your lifestyle.

Blood Pressure Categories

Blood pressure readings can be sorted into three different categories, ideal blood pressure, high blood pressure and low blood pressure.

Ideal Blood Pressure

“Ideal” blood pressure is any blood pressure reading between 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg. Generally speaking, this type of blood pressure isn’t cause for concern and doesn’t need you to take any action.

High Blood Pressure

“High” blood pressure is any blood pressure reading 140/90 mmHg or higher. Although high blood pressure can be undesirable, it can be quite common and there are ways to reduce it as long as you can identify the cause.

Causes and Effects of High Blood Pressure:

Most high blood pressure readings can be linked to some form of unhealthy lifestyle habit. Smoking, drinking too much alcohol, not exercising enough or generally being overweight can all be linking factors when it comes to higher blood pressure.

Left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to some serious health risks. Kidney disease and coronary heart disease are both possible outcomes of raised blood pressure if left untreated for a long period of time.

To avoid high blood pressure going unnoticed, it’s important to carry out blood pressure tests regularly, whether you do this yourself at home or book in for a blood pressure check at your local pharmacy. For advice on how you can reduce your blood pressure, it’s important to contact your local GP.

Low Blood Pressure

“Low” blood pressure is categorised by a blood pressure reading of 90/60 mmHg or lower. Low blood pressure is much less common but the causes can be vast.

Causes and Effects of Low Blood Pressure:

Low blood pressure readings can be linked to a variety of causes such as underlying conditions like dehydration and heart failure or can be attributed to side effects from certain medications.

If you are concerned about a low blood pressure reading, it’s important to always consult your local GP for advice.

Blood Pressure Numbers and What They Mean

When looking at your own blood pressure reading, it can be hard to know what specifically the numbers mean.

Systolic Blood Pressure

Systolic blood pressure is the pressure being exerted on the artery by the blood when the heart beats. This is shown in your reading with the first number.

Diastolic Blood Pressure

Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure being exerted on the artery by the blood between heartbeats. This is shown in your reading with the second number and should be significantly lower than the first.

Which Number is the Most Important?

Though the entire reading for blood pressure is important, the systolic pressure (first number) will get more attention. Medical professionals will use this number to determine how much you could be at risk for conditions such as coronary heart disease.

Blood Pressure Testing at your Local Weldricks Pharmacy

At Weldricks Pharmacy, we’re proud to be able to offer blood pressure testing at a large volume of our pharmacy branches. Selected branches have calibrated blood pressure machines where we can provide you with an accurate reading and answer any queries you might have. 

It’s important to ‘know your numbers’ and our free blood pressure tests for those over 40 can help you to do that long-term and make sure you identify a high or low blood pressure early on so it can be treated.

Get in touch with the team for further information or pop in to your local branch that offers this blood pressure testing service