What is a normal blood pressure? Your complete guide

Blood pressure is a vital indicator of the health of our heart and body. A normal blood pressure between the values recommended by doctors is associated with a low risk of cardiovascular disease in the long term – so maintaining it should come first. In this article, we explore what exactly normal blood pressure means, why it is so crucial to our health and how we can keep it within these ideal limits.

What is blood pressure

Blood pressure is the amount of pressure our blood exerts on our arteries. When we talk about blood pressure, we refer to two types:

  • Systolic blood pressure – the pressure in the arteries when a heartbeat occurs
  • Diastolic blood pressure – the pressure in the arteries between two heartbeats

What a normal voltage means – values

Although blood pressure varies throughout the day, a normal blood pressure should, on average, be below 140/90 mmHg.

What is hypertension

If your blood pressure is consistently above the values recommended by doctors, you may be facing a diagnosis of hypertension. Hypertension is a chronic disease, meaning it cannot be cured – it can only be controlled by various lifestyle changes or medication prescribed by your doctor.

What is a normal blood pressure?

Source: 2018 ESC/ESH Guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension | European Heart Journal | Oxford Academic

Causes of hypertension

For better prevention of high blood pressure, it is important to know all the possible causes that lead to this chronic disease. These can be:

High blood pressure

A blood pressure even slightly above the normal limit greatly increases your risk of developing chronic hypertension in the future.

Diabetes

Diabetes and high blood pressure are closely linked – about 6 out of 10 people with type 2 diabetes also have high blood pressure.

An unhealthy diet

A diet high in sodium and saturated fat causes high blood pressure, but can also lead to many other complications for your heart.

Physical inactivity

When we exercise regularly, the heart is trained and stays healthy for a long time.

Obesity

When we gain weight well above the limits recommended by doctors, the heart is overworked and puts more effort into pumping blood and oxygen into the body. This can lead to damage to blood vessels and increased blood pressure.

Drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes

Alcohol can damage heart health and cause high blood pressure even in small amounts. Smoking is also one of the biggest causes of cardiovascular deaths worldwide.

Other risk factors in hypertension

In addition to lifestyle factors, there are risk factors for high blood pressure that we cannot change. Here we are talking about factors such as:

  • Family genetic history
  • Age – as you get older, your average blood pressure increases
  • Ethnicity

It is recommended that people with these non-influential risk factors monitor their blood pressure often to detect abnormalities early.

Symptoms of hypertension

Unfortunately, high blood pressure is known to be a silent killer – it shows no symptoms, and so many people aren’t even aware there’s a problem until it’s too late.

The only way you can detect this problem is by having your blood pressure measured regularly at the doctor’s or even at home.

What happens if you don’t treat high blood pressure

It is important to maintain a normal blood pressure in the long term, so as not to face various other problems such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart attack
  • Strokes
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Kidney diseases
  • Vascular dementia

Ways to lower blood pressure fast

If you experience a sudden rise in blood pressure, you can try to lower it in a few simple ways:

  • Take a hot shower or bath
  • Do breathing exercises
  • Try relaxing by meditating, reading, or stretching exercises

These methods may help in the short term, but high blood pressure requires a long-term plan to keep it under control. To prevent complications later in life, consider the following lifestyle changes:

  • Weight loss
  • Quitting smoking and alcohol
  • Following treatment for stress and anxiety
  • Eliminate excess salt, sugar and processed foods
  • Regular exercise (30-40 min per day)

Foods that increase blood pressure

As mentioned above, an unhealthy diet is one of the main causes of high blood pressure, but also of other cardiovascular diseases or type 2 diabetes. Some foods that increase blood pressure that you should avoid are:

  • Salt
  • Foods high in saturated fat – fried foods in oil, fast food
  • Red or processed meat
  • Canned foods – may contain added salt
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol

Foods that lower blood pressure

Today, the Mediterranean diet is known as one of the best dietary patterns for long-term cardiovascular disease prevention. Many studies show that the Mediterranean diet can reduce blood pressure, thanks to the low saturated fat and high fibre foods present in this diet:

  • Whole grains
  • Fruit
  • Vegetable

The Dahna app configures menus based on the Mediterranean diet, designed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.

What is hypotension

Above we have learned the causes and dangers of blood pressure above normal limits. However, it is possible that blood pressure may also fall below these limits.

When systolic blood pressure falls below 90-100 mmHg, it is considered to be hypotension. It often shows no symptoms and is not necessarily a cause for concern. However, it may be accompanied by symptoms such as:

  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of balance
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Accelerated heartbeat

Hypotension can have various causes, such as anaemia, dehydration, hyperglycaemia, lack of certain vitamins or minerals, or it can even be an adverse reaction to various medications. If low blood pressure is causing you discomfort, consult a specialist for more details.

Measure your blood pressure with Dahna!

Blood pressure is just one of the health biomarkers you can monitor through the Dahna health app. Following measurements of your blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol, the app will calculate your risk of cardiovascular disease over a 10-year period using an algorithm designed by extensive medical expertise. Download the Dahna app to start your journey to a healthy heart!

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