What Are High Blood Pressure Numbers?

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When Do the Blood Pressure Numbers Become Dangerous?

Before we answer the question when high blood pressure numbers are dangerous, let us get a better understanding of what the blood pressure readings are and what the numbers mean.

Two numbers measure a blood pressure. The top number is known as the systolic (sis–TOL–ik) and the bottom number is known as the diastolic (di-a-STOL-ik). The systolic blood pressure measures the pressure of the blood when the heart is beating. The diastolic number measures the pressure when the heart is resting.

When both of these numbers are brought together, this gives the total of what the blood pressure is. This information is crucial for the doctor because it allows them to determine the condition of a person, and if the blood pressure is within normal range. This becomes dangerous when they are considered to be in the high blood pressure range.

Blood Pressure Numbers Are Placed in Different Categories

A physician usually evaluates a person’s blood pressure two or more times while they are sitting down so that they can get an accurate reading. This information allows them to treat the person according to what their condition is.

Blood pressure results are placed into four different categories. These categories pertain to adult readings.

Normal Blood Pressure - This is when the systolic is below 120 and the diastolic is below 80.

Prehypertension - This is when the systolic is 120-139 and the diastolic is 80-89.

Stage 1 hypertension - This is when the systolic is 140-159 and the diastolic is 90-99.

Stage 2 hypertension – This is when the systolic is 160 or higher and the diastolic is 100 or higher.

The physician will monitor a person’s blood pressure to see if it stays within any one of the categories. Then he will determine a diagnosis based on this information.

Dangerous Blood Pressure

Any high blood pressure numbers are dangerous if proper medical treatment is not received. However when high blood pressure stays high it is the most dangerous when it is not treated. This is why it is so important to follow a physician’s orders and take all medications as prescribed.

A person that is diagnosed with high blood pressure may be prescribed a diet and regular exercise. They also most likely will be told to stop smoking and to avoid stress.

Since high blood pressure can be treated, people who are diagnosed can live happy and normal lives.

High blood pressure usually does not show many signs or symptoms and some people tend to stop taking their medications. Out of all the things that make high blood pressure dangerous, this is the most dangerous thing that a person diagnosed with this condition can do.

When high blood pressure stays high for too long this puts a person at risk for heart attacks and strokes. The condition can cause blood vessels to burst and can be fatal.

In Conclusion:

It is important to be closely monitored by a physician when diagnosed with high blood pressure. When a person is diagnosed within the prehypertension range, this does not mean that the pressure readings will stay there. The blood pressure reading can change to higher readings at anytime. The physician would want to reevaluate a person on a regular basis so that they can determine if the medication needs to be adjusted or not. He also may want to prescribe another medication. Only a physician can properly adjust the medication and change a course of treatment tailored to the person being treated.


National Institutes of Health (NIH)