Heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood around the body constantly every second of our lives. The pumping of blood creates pressure — that is called blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is vital to life. It is a life force because without blood pressure oxygen and nutrients would not be pushed around our circulatory system to feed tissue and organs. Blood pressure is also important to delivers antibodies for immunity and hormones such as insulin. Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure.

Blood Pressure is generally divided into five categories:

1. Hypotension (low blood pressure)

Systolic (mm Hg) less than 80
Diastolic (mm Hg) less than 60

2. Normal
Systolic (mm Hg) less than 120
Diastolic (mm Hg) less than 80

3. Pre-hypertension
Systolic (mm Hg) 120-139
Diastolic (mm Hg) 80-89

4. Stage 1 hypertension
Systolic (mm Hg) 140-159
Diastolic (mm Hg) 90-99

5. Stage 2 Hypertension
Systolic (mm Hg) 160 or higher
Diastolic (mm Hg) 100 or higher

Anyone whose blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg or more for sustained period is said to have high blood pressure or hypertension.High blood pressure occurs, when your blood moves through your arteries at a higher pressure than normal. It is like a car tire with too much air in it. If the tire pressure is not lowered, there is a risk for tire damage. If your higher B.P is not lowered , there is risk for damage to your eyes, brain, blood vessels and kidney. Hypertension is the biggest risk factor contributing to death. It is also called ”silent killer”. One in three Indians adult has high blood pressure.

Hypotension is a medical term for low blood pressure (less than 80/60). Hypotension occurs when blood pressure is much lower than normal. this means the heart, brain and other parts of the body do not get enough blood. Low blood pressure can cause dizziness and fainting. In severe cases , low blood pressure can be life threatening.

Screening of blood pressure is very important on regular basis, which is generally done by ”sphygmomanometer”. By taking steps to maintain Blood Pressure , one can reduce risk of heart diseases, stroke and kidney failure. By maintaining blood pressure, a person can live a longer and healthier life. Lifestyle modification is key to healthy body.

Reference : Blood Pressure categorized by American Heart Association.