Blood Pressure Charts...

...abound on the internet. Can you trust all of these blood pressure charts? Unfortunately not all of them reflect the latest guidelines of the Joint National Committee’s seventh report, the gold standard of today. It is usually referred to as JNC7.

The most common error or defect that is found is the failure to classify the readings between 115 over 75 and 139 over 89 as “pre-hypertension”. This category is associated with increased risk of adverse events over the baseline at 115 over 75. A blood pressure of 135/85 carries twice the risk of cardiovascular disease yet this level is well under the old “safe” borderline of 140/90.

This category now represents a whole new area of classification of blood pressure and is called pre-hypertension. See it in the charts below.

Many blood pressure charts do not explain that the risk of adverse events is a continuum just as is blood pressure. In other words, as the blood pressure rises above 115/75 so does the risk, proportionately. The higher the blood pressure the higher the risk.

The risk doubles for each systolic increase of 20 mm and each diastolic increase of 10 mm.

What risk? The risk of adverse events. What adverse events? Here they are listed:

  1. Heart attack
  2. Stroke
  3. Heart failure
  4. Kidney failure
  5. Vision damage

Despite the fact that blood pressure charts are broken down into categories or ranges we must remember that blood pressure is a continuous entity and that the risks vary proportionately. A systolic blood pressure of 159 is much worse than 140, the other end of its category called Hypertension Stage One.

Here is the “gold standard” of blood pressure charts published by the Joint National Committee:

Blood Pressure Classification
Systolic Diastolic Category
115 75 Desirable
120-139 80-89 Prehypertension
140-159 90-99 Hypertension Stage 1
160 or over 100 or over Hypertension Stage 2

Doctor’s Practical Guide:

Note that this new category, Pre-Hypertension, is a fertile field for life style modifications and other natural ways to lower blood pressure and cut your risk in half.

Note that if you want to know what your blood pressure is doing you must take it yourself. It is way too variable to be represented by a few readings a year at the doctor's office. See How and Why at HowTo Take Blood Pressure

I have written a nice little ebooklet with detailed instructions on taking your own blood pressure. Check out the contents at How To Take Blood Pressure Booklet

Bear in mind that you can prevent your blood pressure from rising. Lifestyle modifications work. See LowerBlood Pressure

Learn to take your own blood pressure and stay on “top” of it for life.


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