Understanding the Normal Blood Pressure Range: A Comprehensive Blood Pressure Chart

Blood pressure is a key indicator of cardiovascular health, and knowing what constitutes a normal blood pressure range is crucial for overall well-being. Blood pressure is influenced by various factors, including the pumping force of the heart, the elasticity of the arteries, and the volume of blood in the circulatory system. Learn what is considered normal blood pressure, as recommended by the American Heart Association. with our blood pressure chart.

What do your blood pressure numbers mean?

The only way to know if you have high blood pressure or hypertension, is to have your blood pressure checked. Blood pressure is a measure of the force exerted by the blood against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps it around the body. It is typically expressed in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and recorded as two values: systolic pressure over diastolic pressure.

  1. Systolic Pressure: The higher of the two numbers, representing the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts or beats. It is the maximum pressure during a cardiac cycle.
  2. Diastolic Pressure: The lower of the two numbers, representing the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest between beats. It is the minimum pressure during a cardiac cycle.


Which number is more important?

Typically, more attention is given to systolic blood pressure (the first number) as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50. In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to the increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term buildup of plaque and an increased incidence of cardiac and vascular disease.

However, either an elevated systolic or an elevated diastolic blood pressure reading is used to make a diagnosis of high blood pressure.


  • Normal: Systolic < 120 mmHg and Diastolic < 80 mmHg
  • Elevated: Systolic 120-129 mmHg and Diastolic < 80 mmHg
  • Hypertension Stage 1: Systolic 130-139 mmHg or Diastolic 80-89 mmHg
  • Hypertension Stage 2: Systolic ≥ 140 mmHg or Diastolic ≥ 90 mmHg
  • Hypertensive Crisis: Systolic > 180 mmHg and/or Diastolic > 120 mmHg

Normal Blood Pressure 

Normal blood pressure is typically around 120/80 mmHg, with slight variations depending on factors such as age, sex, and overall health. Normal blood pressure reflects a healthy cardiovascular system with optimal functioning. A systolic pressure below 120 mmHg indicates the force exerted by the heart during contractions is within the expected range, while a diastolic pressure below 80 mmHg signifies the relaxation phase's normal pressure. Individuals with normal blood pressure levels are generally at a lower risk of cardiovascular complications and related health issues.


Elevated Blood Pressure

Elevated blood pressure, falling between 120-129 mmHg systolic and less than 80 mmHg diastolic, suggests a higher-than-optimal pressure in the arteries. While not classified as hypertension, elevated blood pressure serves as a warning sign, indicating the potential for developing hypertension in the future. Lifestyle modifications, such as dietary changes and increased physical activity, are often recommended at this stage to prevent progression.


Hypertension Stage 1 

Hypertension Stage 1 signifies the onset of sustained high blood pressure. A systolic pressure ranging from 130-139 mmHg or a diastolic pressure of 80-89 mmHg indicates an increased workload on the heart and a higher risk of cardiovascular complications. Lifestyle changes remain crucial, and healthcare providers consider initiating pharmacological interventions based on individual risk factors and health history.


Hypertension Stage 2 

Stage 2 hypertension is characterized by more severe and sustained high blood pressure. A systolic pressure of 140 mmHg or higher and/or a diastolic pressure of 90 mmHg or higher significantly elevates the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular issues. Intensive lifestyle modifications and medical interventions, such as prescription medications, are typically recommended at this stage to manage and control blood pressure.


Hypertensive Crisis 

In a hypertensive crisis, the patient experiences an extreme increase in blood pressure. With a systolic pressure exceeding 180 mmHg and/or a diastolic pressure exceeding 120 mmHg, immediate medical attention is warranted to prevent organ damage and cardiovascular emergencies. Emergency care, including hospitalization and intravenous medications, is often necessary to rapidly and safely lower blood pressure levels in this critical situation. Regular monitoring and management are crucial to prevent complications and ensure long-term cardiovascular health.

Blood Pressure Category
Systolic (Upper)
Diastolic (Lower)
Health Risks
Less than 120 mm Hg
and Less than 80 mm Hg
Low risk of heart disease or stroke
Maintain healthy lifestyle (diet, exercise, no smoking)
120-129 mm Hg
and Less than 80 mm Hg
Doubled risk of cardiovascular complications
Make lifestyle changes (lose weight if overweight, increase physical activity, limit alcohol)
Hypertension Stage 1
130-139 mm Hg
or 80-89 mm Hg
Increased risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease
Lifestyle changes and potentially medication under doctor's guidance
Hypertension Stage 2
140 mm Hg or Higher
or 90 mm Hg or Higher
High risk; can lead to heart failure, vision loss, dementia
Medication required in addition to lifestyle changes as recommended by doctor
Hypertensive Crisis
Higher than 180 mm Hg
nd/or Higher than 120 mm Hg
Immediate danger of life-threatening complications
Seek emergency medical care immediately
Cardiac Arrest
Heart Attack
Sudden loss of heart function, leading to collapse
Blockage in a coronary artery, affecting blood flow to the heart muscle
Interruption of blood flow to the brain, leading to brain damage
Main Cause
Electrical malfunction of the heart
Blockage in coronary arteries
Blockage or rupture of blood vessels in the brain
Circulation Affected
Entire body
Heart muscle
Brain tissue
105Sudden collapse, unconsciousness, no pulse
Chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath
Sudden numbness or weakness, confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech/73
Emergency Response
Immediate CPR and defibrillation
Activate emergency medical services, chew aspirin
Activate emergency medical services, FAST assessment (Face, Arms, Speech, Time)
CPR, defibrillation
Thrombolytic therapy, angioplasty, stenting
Thrombolytic therapy, clot retrieval,
Long-term Management
Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), medication management
Medication management, lifestyle changes, cardiac rehabilitation
Medication, rehabilitation, lifestyle changes
Dependent on prompt CPR and defibrillation, underlying health conditions
Dependent on extent of heart muscle damage, effectiveness of intervention
Dependent on severity of brain damage, rehabilitation progress
Risk Factors
Previous heart conditions, arrhythmias, electrolyte imbalances
Atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, hypertension, smoking, diabetes
Hypertension, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, atrial fibrillation

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is often referred to as a "silent killer" because it usually does not cause noticeable symptoms until it reaches severe levels. Some people experience headaches, shortness of breath, or nosebleeds, but these symptoms are not specific to high blood pressure and occur in other conditions. This leads to serious health complications such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems if left untreated.

What Causes of High Blood Pressure?

Common causes of high blood pressure, include:

  • Unhealthy Lifestyle: Poor dietary habits, lack of physical activity, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking increases the risk of developing high blood pressure.
  • Genetics: Family history of high blood pressure predispose individuals to the condition.
  • Chronic Conditions: Conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and kidney disease contribute to high blood pressure.
  • Stress: Chronic stress elevates blood pressure levels over time.

How to Lower Blood Pressure?

To lower blood pressure, high blood pressure medications, known as antihypertensive medications, are prescribed to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular complications. Managing high blood pressure involves lifestyle changes as well. Strategies to lower blood pressure include:

  1. Healthy Diet: Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins while limiting sodium, saturated fats, and processed foods.
  2. Regular Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity, such as brisk walking, swimming, or cycling, for at least 150 minutes per week.
  3. Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise helps lower blood pressure.
  4. Limiting Alcohol: Moderating alcohol consumption to recommended levels (up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men).
  5. Stress Management: Practicing stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga.

Low Blood Pressure

Low blood pressure, or hypotension is defined as a blood pressure reading lower than 90/60 mm Hg. While low blood pressure is generally not a cause for concern, extremely low levels leads to symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, and fatigue. Symptoms of low blood pressure include dizziness or lightheadedness, cold, clammy skin, fainting, blurry vision, fatigue, and nausea

What Causes of Low Blood Pressure?

Common causes of low blood pressure include:

  • Dehydration: Inadequate fluid intake leads to low blood volume and, consequently, low blood pressure.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as diuretics, beta-blockers, and some antidepressants, lowers blood pressure.
  • Heart Conditions: Conditions such as heart valve problems, heart attack, or heart failure causes low blood pressure.
  • Endocrine Disorders: Disorders of the adrenal glands, thyroid gland, or pituitary gland affects blood pressure regulation.

How to Raise Blood Pressure?

If low blood pressure is causing symptoms, several strategies helps raise blood pressure, including:

  1. Increasing Fluid Intake: Drinking more fluids, especially water, helps increase blood volume and raise blood pressure.
  2. Salt Intake: Consuming salty foods or drinks temporarily raises blood pressure, but this should be done in moderation and under the guidance of a healthcare professional, especially for individuals with certain health problems like hypertension.
  3. Compression Stockings: Wearing compression stockings helps improve blood circulation and prevent blood from pooling in the legs.
  4. Elevating Legs: Elevating the legs while sitting or lying down helps improve blood flow back to the heart.
  5. Medications: In some cases, medications such as fludrocortisone or midodrine is prescribed to raise blood pressure.

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Blood Pressure Chart by Age

Age Group
Min Systolic/Diastolic
Normal Range
Max Systolic/Diastolic
1-12 months
Consult pediatrician if outside normal range. Cuff sizing is critical.
1-5 years
High BP in children may indicate underlying condition. Lifestyle factors.
6-13 years
Obesity, family history increase risk. Promote healthy habits early.
14-19 years
Adolescent rise normal. Rule out secondary causes if elevated.
20-24 years
Stressors, medications may impact. Start monitoring if high-normal.
25-29 years
Dietary changes, exercise for elevated readings. Birth control effects.
30-39 years
110/77 - 111/78
122/81 - 123/82
134/85 - 135/86
Monitor closely if readings increasing with age.
40-49 years
112/79 - 115/80
125/83 - 127/84
137/87 - 139/88
Lifestyle changes proven to reduce hypertension risk.
50-64 years
116/81 - 121/83
129/85 - 134/87
142/89 - 147/91
White coat effect common. Home monitoring advised.
65+ years
130+ Systolic Risk
Frailty, medications, conditions factored in management.

Blood Pressure Chart by Age

Blood pressure tends to vary by age due to several factors, including changes in blood vessels, heart function, and overall health. Here's how blood pressure generally varies across different age groups:


How to Measure Blood Pressure?

To measure blood pressure accurately, it's important to use a blood pressure monitor, either manual or automatic. Begin by sitting comfortably in a chair with your back supported and your feet flat on the floor. Position your arm so that it's supported at heart level, either on a table or on the armrest of the chair. Next, place the cuff of the blood pressure monitor around your upper arm, ensuring that it fits snugly but not too tight. Take a few minutes to relax and rest before starting the measurement. Once you're ready, activate the monitor according to the manufacturer's instructions. The cuff will inflate, temporarily stopping blood flow in your arm. As the cuff deflates, it will release the pressure, allowing blood to flow again. Listen for the first heartbeat, which indicates your systolic pressure, and continue listening until the sound disappears, indicating your diastolic pressure. Record these numbers, usually displayed as systolic over diastolic (e.g., 120/80 mmHg). It's essential to follow the instructions provided with your blood pressure monitor and consult healthcare professionals for accurate readings and interpretation.

How do you accurately measure blood pressure manually using a sphygmomanometer?

Accurately measuring blood pressure manually using a sphygmomanometer involves a step-by-step process. Here's a guide on how to perform manual blood pressure measurement:

  1. Position the Patient: Have the patient sit with their back supported, feet flat on the floor, and arm at heart level. The arm should be bare, and the cuff is applied to the upper arm.
  2. Locate the Brachial Artery: Palpate the brachial artery on the inner side of the arm, just above the elbow crease. This is where the cuff will be placed.
  3. Apply the Cuff: Place the cuff snugly around the upper arm, ensuring it is centered over the brachial artery. The bottom edge of the cuff should be about 1-2 inches above the elbow crease.
  4. Position the Stethoscope: Place the stethoscope's chest piece over the brachial artery, securing it with light pressure. Ensure a proper seal to prevent external noise interference.
  5. Inflate the Cuff: Inflate the cuff by squeezing the bulb until the pressure exceeds the expected systolic pressure. This temporarily occludes the brachial artery, and no sounds should be heard through the stethoscope at this point.
  6. Gradually Release the Pressure: Release the pressure slowly by opening the valve on the bulb. As the pressure decreases, you will start to hear sounds known as Korotkoff sounds.
  7. Identify Korotkoff Sounds: Listen for the first tapping sound (Phase I), which corresponds to the systolic pressure. Continue listening until the sounds become muffled or disappear (Phase V), indicating the diastolic pressure.
  8. Record the Measurements: Note the pressure levels at which you hear the first tapping sound and the point at which the sounds disappear. Record these values as the systolic and diastolic pressures, respectively.


How do digital devices like smartwatches compare to traditional methods in measuring blood pressure?

Digital devices like smartwatches offer the convenience of continuous blood pressure monitoring, providing users with real-time data and integration with health apps. However, their accuracy has been a subject of scrutiny, and variability among different devices is a concern.

Traditional methods, such as manual measurement with a sphygmomanometer or automated devices in clinical settings, have a history of proven accuracy and undergo rigorous validation. While digital devices contribute to lifestyle awareness, traditional methods remain the gold standard in clinical accuracy and adaptability to various patient characteristics. Ongoing research and validation are essential for enhancing the reliability of digital devices in measuring blood pressure for broader clinical applications.


How to use smartwatches for blood pressure monitoring?

To use a smartwatch for monitoring blood pressure, ensure that your smartwatch model, such as the Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch, supports blood pressure monitoring. Not all smartwatches offer this feature.


  1. Install a Compatible App: Download and install a reliable blood pressure monitoring app from the respective app store. Some smartwatches have built-in health monitoring apps.
  2. Wear the Smartwatch Properly: Wear the smartwatch snugly on your wrist, following the manufacturer's guidelines for optimal positioning.
  3. Calibrate the Device: If the app requires calibration, follow the provided instructions. Calibration helps improve the accuracy of blood pressure readings.
  4. Initiate Blood Pressure Measurement: Open the blood pressure monitoring app on your smartwatch and follow the on-screen instructions to start the measurement process.
  5. Remain Still During Measurement: Stay still and avoid talking during the measurement. Movement and talking impacts the accuracy of the readings.
  6. Wait for Results: Once the measurement is complete, wait for the results to be displayed on the smartwatch screen. Some apps provides additional insights or trends.
  7. Record and Track Readings: Record the blood pressure readings manually or within the app. Smartwatches often allow users to track trends over time.


Accuracy and Reliability of Digital Devices in a CPR Context

While smartwatches offer convenient blood pressure monitoring, their accuracy in CPR is a topic of ongoing research. Digital devices, including smartwatches, faces challenges during CPR due to the dynamic nature of chest compressions and physiological changes in circulation. Factors such as motion artifacts, irregular heart rhythms, and variations in device design affects the accuracy of blood pressure readings. In a CPR scenario, traditional methods like manual measurement with a sphygmomanometer or automated devices designed for clinical use remain more established and accurate. Smartwatches provides valuable health insights but should be viewed as complementary rather than primary tools in the context of resuscitation efforts, where precise and reliable measurements are crucial for informed decision-making.


Measuring Blood Pressure in Specific Conditions

Accurate blood pressure measurement is crucial in various clinical scenarios, and adapting techniques to specific conditions is essential for precise assessments.


Orthostatic Blood Pressure Measurement

To measure orthostatic blood pressure:

  1. Start with the patient lying down, measure blood pressure, and record the values.
  2. Have the patient stand up slowly, allowing their body to adjust gradually to the upright position.
  3. Take blood pressure readings at intervals after standing. Orthostatic hypotension is diagnosed if there's a significant drop in blood pressure upon standing.
  4. Evaluate changes in blood pressure and heart rate. A drop in systolic blood pressure of 20 mmHg or more or diastolic blood pressure of 10 mmHg or more indicates orthostatic hypotension.


Blood Pressure Measurement During Exercise

When measuring blood pressure during exercise:

  1. Measure blood pressure and heart rate before the exercise session to establish a reference point.
  2. Use ambulatory blood pressure monitoring devices or specialized cuffs designed for movement during exercise. Ensure the cuff remains secure.
  3. Take blood pressure readings immediately after exercise and at intervals during the recovery period to assess cardiovascular response.

Blood Pressure Measurement in Dialysis Patients

For patients undergoing dialysis:

  1. Pre- and Post-Dialysis Measurements: Measure blood pressure before and after dialysis sessions. Recognize that fluid shifts during dialysis affects blood pressure.
  2. Individualized Monitoring: Implement an individualized approach considering the patient's health status and fluid balance. Regular monitoring helps assess the impact of dialysis on blood pressure.


Adapting Methods for Different Age Groups and Health Conditions:

Adaptation for specific populations involves:

  • Pediatric Patients: Use pediatric-specific cuffs and employ age-appropriate techniques, such as play or relaxation, to minimize anxiety during measurement.
  • Geriatric Patients: Be mindful of orthostatic changes and consider age-related factors affecting vascular compliance. Allow for extra time during position changes.
  • Chronic Conditions: Adjust measurement frequency based on the specific chronic condition. Regular monitoring is crucial, especially for conditions like hypertension.
  • Pregnant Women: Measure blood pressure in a seated position due to physiological changes during pregnancy. Avoid supine measurements to prevent inaccurate readings.
  • Patients with Mobility Issues: Modify the measurement process for patients with mobility challenges. Alternative positions or ambulatory monitoring devices is suitable.

In all cases, maintaining a standardized and patient-centric approach is paramount. Regular training of healthcare providers ensures proficiency in adapting blood pressure measurement techniques to diverse clinical scenarios, contributing to accurate and meaningful assessments in different healthcare settings.


Cuff Selection and Positioning

Selecting the correct cuff size is crucial to ensure accurate blood pressure readings. Measure the patient's arm circumference and choose a cuff that covers about 80% of this measurement, ensuring proper width and considering specialized cuffs for specific populations. Arm positioning is equally important, with the patient sitting comfortably, feet flat on the floor, and the arm supported at heart level. Center the cuff over the brachial artery, palpate its location, and secure it snugly, avoiding excessive tightness. Proper cuff selection and precise arm positioning are essential for obtaining reliable blood pressure measurements and supporting accurate clinical assessments and treatment decisions.


How does one select the correct blood pressure cuff size?

To select the correct blood pressure cuff size, start by measuring the patient's upper arm circumference using a flexible tape. Choose a cuff that covers approximately 80% of this measurement, ensuring the width is at least 40% of the arm's circumference. Consider specialized cuffs for specific populations. Check the manufacturer's guidelines for recommendations based on arm circumference, and ensure the cuff fits snugly, preventing air leakage without being overly tight. Position the cuff with the lower edge 1-2 inches above the elbow crease, aligning the center with the brachial artery. Assess patient comfort throughout the process. Proper cuff selection and fitting contribute to accurate blood pressure measurements.


What are the common mistakes to avoid while measuring blood pressure manually?

Avoiding common mistakes during manual blood pressure measurement is crucial to obtaining accurate and reliable readings. Here are some key mistakes to avoid:

  • Incorrect Cuff Size: Using an improperly sized cuff  leads to inaccurate readings. Ensure the cuff is appropriate for the patient's arm circumference.
  • Inadequate Rest Before Measurement: Failing to allow the patient to rest for at least 5 minutes before measurement results in falsely elevated readings.
  • Improper Arm Positioning: Incorrect arm positioning, such as having the arm below heart level,  affects blood pressure readings. 
  • Talking or Movement During Measurement: Talking or movement by the patient during measurement impacts readings. 
  • Incomplete Deflation of the Cuff: Failing to fully deflate the cuff before the next measurement leads to inaccurate readings. Ensure the cuff is completely deflated between measurements.
  • Insufficient Time Between Measurements: Waiting less than 1-2 minutes between consecutive measurements yield inaccurate results. Allow adequate time for the vascular system to return to its baseline state.
  • Incorrect Stethoscope Placement: Placing the stethoscope's diaphragm over clothing or not ensuring an airtight seal on the skin results in inaccurate readings. Place the stethoscope directly on the skin over the brachial artery.
  • Failure to Identify Korotkoff Sounds: Missing the onset or disappearance of Korotkoff sounds leads to inaccurate determination of systolic and diastolic pressure. 
  • Using a Damaged or Worn-out Cuff: Inspect the blood pressure cuff regularly for any damage or signs of wear. A damaged cuff compromises the accuracy of readings.
  • Ignoring White Coat Hypertension: Be aware of the potential for white coat hypertension, where a patient's blood pressure rises in a medical setting due to anxiety. Consider ambulatory monitoring for a more accurate representation of baseline blood pressure.
  • Relying on a Single Measurement: Blood pressure varies throughout the day. Avoid relying on a single measurement; instead, take multiple readings and consider averaging them for a more accurate assessment.


When should you check your blood pressure?

Blood pressure should be checked according to the schedule recommended by your healthcare provider. For most adults with normal blood pressure, checking it once every one to two years during routine medical check-ups is sufficient. However, if you have high blood pressure or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, more frequent monitoring, such as once a month or even more often is recommended.

It's important to check your blood pressure if you're experiencing symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, or chest pain, or if you're starting a new medication that affect your blood pressure. Additionally, individuals with home blood pressure monitors be advised by their healthcare provider to check their blood pressure regularly at home, following specific instructions for timing and frequency.

What are the physiological reasons behind fluctuations in blood pressure during cardiac emergencies?

During cardiac emergencies, fluctuations in blood pressure are primarily influenced by the physiological responses to the emergency situation. The initiation of CPR involves chest compressions, which impact blood flow and contribute to changes in blood pressure. The quality and effectiveness of CPR directly influence systemic blood flow, affecting blood pressure levels.

Additionally, the body's stress response during a cardiac emergency leads to peripheral vasoconstriction, altering systemic vascular resistance and further contributing to fluctuations in blood pressure. Medications administered during resuscitation efforts, such as vasopressors, plays a role in influencing blood pressure. The underlying cause of the cardiac emergency, such as a heart attack or trauma, introduces additional factors that contribute to variations in blood pressure during resuscitation. 


How should blood pressure be monitored in patients with pre-existing conditions like hypertension during CPR?

In patients with pre-existing conditions like hypertension during CPR, continuous monitoring of blood pressure, an essential cardiovascular health indicator, is vital for diagnosing and managing hypertension for adapting interventions to the individual's unique physiological responses. Recognizing the patient's baseline blood pressure and accounting for any antihypertensive medications are essential considerations. CPR techniques should be adapted based on the specific characteristics of the patient, and healthcare providers must be prepared to modify their approach in real-time. Collaboration among the healthcare team, adherence to guidelines, and ongoing post-resuscitation monitoring contribute to a comprehensive strategy for managing blood pressure during and after CPR in individuals with pre-existing hypertension.

What is the significance of blood pressure readings in the context of CPR?

In the context of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), blood pressure readings is important as they are vital indicators of circulatory function. CPR aims to restore blood flow to vital organs during cardiac arrest, and accurate blood pressure measurements provide critical information about the effectiveness of resuscitation efforts. Monitoring blood pressure helps healthcare providers assess the adequacy of tissue perfusion, guiding real-time adjustments to chest compressions and other interventions. Abnormal blood pressure readings signal underlying causes of cardiac arrest, directing healthcare professionals toward targeted treatments. Precise blood pressure assessments during CPR are essential for optimizing the quality of chest compressions, ensuring proper circulation, and improving the overall chances of successful resuscitation.