Our blood pressure is, in simple terms, the pressure our blood is causing as it pushes against the walls of our blood vessels. The strength of the pushing is what causes blood pressure. Blood pressure is measured as part of a routine medical exam as it can determine the elasticity of the walls of our arteries and if we are at risk for heart attack and stroke.
High blood pressure (hypertension) can lead to a number of health problems including kidney disease, peripheral artery disease, heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. It has also been linked to a higher risk of certain types of dementia. So, it's easy to see how important it is to maintain a healthy blood pressure. But, that being said, even though 135 over 85 is considered "normal," a person with this blood pressure is twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke as someone with a reading of 115 over 75.
Some causes of high blood pressure include being overweight, not eating a healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables, alcohol consumption, eating too much salt and inactivity. These risks can be increased with age, a family history of high blood pressure, and people of certain ethnic origins are prone to high blood pressure. There are simple lifestyle changes that can lower blood pressure, thereby reducing risk of heart attack and stroke.
Since age is one of the key causes of high blood pressure, it's important to know what a healthy blood pressure is for your age, The chart below outlines healthy blood pressure by age and gender. Of course, it should not be used as a diagnosis. Seek advice from a medical professional if you are concerned that your blood pressure is too high.
In men, by age:
|To 20 years old||123/76|
|Over 70 years||142/80|
In women, by age:
|To 20 years old||116/72|
|Over 70 years||159/85|