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May 8, 2011, last updated December 19, 2013
By Muireann Prendergast, Associate Editor
and Featured Columnist and Editors, CollectiveWizdom

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Doctors and
Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and other members of
our Editorial Board.]




High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the leading health
problems in the United States.
High blood pressure, defined by the
American Heart Association as blood pressure exceeding 120/80,
affects 1 in 3 people, according to figures released by the Georgia-
based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and can
result in stroke and heart attack. But studies have shown that blood
pressure changes as you age. And what is "normal blood pressure"
for some one in their 20's may not be "normal" for someone in their
40's or 50's.  So how do you know if you have high blood pressure?
What is normal blood pressure range for your age?

What is High Blood Pressure?

The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, a part of the National
Institutes of Health, defines blood pressure as the force of blood
against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps the blood. When
the rate at which this happens increases over time it is called high
blood pressure or hypertension.

Blood pressure is measured using special numbers. These include
systolic and diastolic pressures. Systolic blood pressure is the
pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood. Diastolic blood
pressure is the pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.

The most worrying feature of high blood pressure is that it has no
symptoms. You might be suffering from it without even knowing it.
But, silently, it can be damaging the main organs of your body. (Read
more about
what "blood pressure" means.)

Causes of High Blood Pressure

The causes of hypertension are various. A 2011 study carried out
jointly by Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and
Kent State University looked at the link between high salt intake and
elevated blood pressure. The study found that high salt levels in the
blood impeded the cardiovascular system from simultaneously
regulating blood pressure levels and body temperature. High blood
pressure is the result of this. (Find out
how much is too much salt.)

A 2010 Indian study undertaken at SRMS Institute of Medical
Sciences found that hereditary factors also play a role particularly
through the maternal lineage. Race also plays a role in the
development of high blood pressure. The 2003 Consensus Statement
of the Hypertension in African Americans Working Group of the
International Society on Hypertension in Blacks carried out by
researchers in universities across the United States explained that
high blood pressure is more common with African-Americans than in
the Caucasian population. Factors propelling blood pressure levels in
African-Americans are low birth weight, common hereditary illnesses
like
diabetes, heart conditions as well as increased tendencies
towards fatty diets, smoking and obesity among other factors. (Read
more about how
normal waist size differs by country and ethnicity.)

Abnormalities in the arteries such lack of elasticity also play a role in
the development of high blood pressure according to a 2004 Chinese
study undertaken at Beijing Children's Hospital.

Is There A Normal Blood Pressure Range?


























What constitutes normal blood pressure varies somewhat with your
age.

If you are between the ages of 20 and 40, then ‘normal’ blood
pressure range for the 20 – 40 age group is 120mm Hg systolic
pressure and 80mm Hg diastolic pressure or 120/80mmHg,according
to many studies such as one led by researchers at Cardiographic
Department of Mount Sinai Hospital in 1950.

However, many factors can cause blood pressure to fluctuate.
Women for example can have higher blood pressure levels than men
for various reasons. Being pregnancy or  taking oral contraceptives
can raise your estrogen levels, which in turn can raise your blood
pressure levels. This thesis was studied in a 2003 publication by the
University of Leuven of Belgium. Findings suggested that large
arteries may become more constricted during menopause resulting in
higher blood pressure but that more studies were required to
corroborate this.

Blood Pressure Changes During the Day

Also, blood pressure readings can change during the day.  Your
blood pressure is usually lower at night while you are sleeping that it
is first thing when you wake up explores a 2002 German study
carried out at Cloppenburg’s St.Josefs Hospital.

Blood Pressure Changes as You Age

Moreover, it is normal for blood pressure to increase over time as a
2005 Canadian study from at the Université de Montréal explains.
This is caused by a reduction in elasticity or stiffening of artery walls
during vascular ageing. This study found that stiffening of large
arteries increases pulse wave velocity and widens pulse pressure
resulting in a prevalence of hypertension with age.

So what is approximate ideal blood pressure range for your age? We
have culled all existing medical authorities and research studies to
generate the following chart, which presents the minimum, average
and maximum blood pressure ranges for each decade of your life.
You'll note that after age 70, the recommended ranges for men and
women diverge sharply, based on studies published by the American
Heart Association:







































































Update:

Needless to say, doctors views on what is the ideal blood pressure
for different ages can change. In 2013, the Eighth Joint National
Committee in the U.S. released new guidelines for when blood
pressure readings constitute hypertension,  requiring medical
intervention.

The Committee found that those over 60 do not need medication to
treat hypertension if their blood pressure is 150/90 or below.
However, as the Committee was careful to note:
"these
recommendations are not a substitute for clinical judgment, and
decisions about care must carefully consider and incorporate the
clinical characteristics and circumstances of each individual patient."



Sources:The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey
Farmington Health Study
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
American Heart Association, "Hypertension" ,  Report, 1986," Age-
related changes in blood pressure", S. Landahl, C. Bengtsson, J.A.
Sigurdsson, A. Svanborg and K.Svardsudd



                                             
                                             



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Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Life
Age
Minimum Blood
Pressure

(mm Hg)
Average Blood  
Pressure

(mm Hg)
Maximum Blood
Pressure

(mm Hg)
Newborn

Systolic
Diastolic
 

60
40
Normal
Age 15
to 19

Systolic
Diastolic


105
73


117
66


120
81
Age 20
to 24

Systolic
Diastolic



108
75



120
80



132
83
Age 30
to 34

Systolic
Diastolic



110
77



122
81



134
85
Age 35
to 39

Systolic
Diastolic



111
78



123
82



135
86
Age 40
to 44

Systolic
Diastolic



112
79



125
83



137
87
Age 45
to 49

Systolic
Diastolic



115
80



127
84



137
88
Age 50
to 54

Systolic
Diastolic



116
81



129
85



142
89
Age 55
to 59

Systolic
Diastolic



118
82



131
86



144
90
Age 60
to 69

Systolic
Diastolic



121
83



134
87



147
91
Age 70
and
over (*)

Systolic
Diastolic
  159/91 for men


168/93 for
women
 

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