BP Basics

The Stages of High Blood Pressure

The heart is the organ responsible for pumping blood through the arteries so that it can circulate and reach various parts of your body. Blood pressure is the force that the blood exerts in your arteries and veins when it circulates throughout your body. 

When the force that the circulating blood exerts on the arteries, increases above normal, the condition is known as high blood pressure. Even moderate hypertension is considered to be unhealthy. It has a number of undesirable effects on your health. At the same time, high blood pressure by itself may be indicative of an underlying health problem.

A blood pressure reading consists of two parts. These are known as the systolic blood pressure reading and the diastolic blood pressure reading. The systolic pressure indicates the pressure exerted when the heart contracts to pump blood and the diastolic pressure is when the heart rests between each contraction. In a typical blood pressure reading of 120/80 mmHg, the 120 indicates systolic pressure whereas the 80 indicates diastolic pressure.

The systolic pressure should be in the range of 100 to 120 mm of Hg and the diastolic blood pressure should be in the range of 70 to 90 mm of Hg.

Let us see how the medical professionals classify the stages of high blood pressure.

The first stage of blood pressure is known as  Prehypertension. In this stage, the systolic reading is between 120-139 mm of Hg and the systolic reading is between 80-89 mm of Hg. This stage is the beginning stage of high blood pressure and controlling blood pressure at this stage is relatively easy.

The second stage of high blood pressure is called Stage 1 blood pressure. The systolic readings vary from 140 to 159 mm of Hg and the diastolic reading varies from 90 to 99 mm of Hg. This stage is an unhealthy situation and patients may be advised to take antihypertensive medication.

The third sage of blood pressure has more than 160mm of Hg of systolic pressure and more than 100 mm of Hg of diastolic pressure. This is very serious condition and requires medication and lifestyle changes.

If left untreated, hypertension may result in health problems such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage.