What Is Ideal Blood Pressure – It Depends

Ideal blood pressure is that which is normal and/or associated with better health outcomes, and yet is not too low. It depends on one’s state of health, and varies with age and coexisting illness(s). Ideal blood pressure for individuals with confirmed hypertension ± other medical conditions is more or less defined by high blood pressure guidelines set forth by a body of experts in the health-care field, authorized to establish recommended BP treatment targets based on expert opinion and review of medical research literature.

Blood pressure varies in response to a number of non-health-related factors such as physical activity, weather conditions, the time of day or night, eating, etc. Therefore, a normal blood pressure range is more meaningful than a normal BP. Similarly, an ideal BP range is a more practical and appropriate concept than an ideal BP. In specifying the ideal range for healthy individuals, attention needs to be given to the normal systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) readings. A normal systolic reading should be less than 120 but no lower than 90. A normal diastolic pressure should be less than 80 but no lower than 60. Therefore, an ideal blood pressure range for someone without hypertension should be less than 120/80 but at least 90/60. There is a small percentage of healthy individuals however, usually females, who have even lower readings and do not experience symptoms of dizziness or fainting. For those individuals the ideal blood pressure is their lower one because BP rises with age.

Treatment-of-high-blood-pressure guidelines recommending BP targets for individuals with hypertension ± other disease(s) have been in existence for a number of years with periodic modifications, including the most recently released set of recommendations by the 8th Joint National Committee (JNC 8) in December 2013, and The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology poised to release their own joint set of treatment guidelines sometime in 2014. According to extensive review of hypertension research literature by panel members of JNC 8, its treatment recommendations and BP targets are based on improving health outcomes, which by definition, are a reduction of mortality and disease burden associated with hypertension. The disease burden of hypertension is increased occurrence of disease or disease events associated with having elevated BP. They include cardiovascular disease in general, heart attack, heart failure, heart bypass surgery or stent placement, stroke and end-stage kidney disease.

According to the work performed by JNC 8 and its recommendations, patient’s less than 60 years of age, all patients with diabetes and all patients with chronic kidney disease should be treated to achieve BP readings of less than 140/90. The arterial pressure goal for patient’s greater than or equal to 60 years of age should be less than 150/90. An ideal blood pressure range with a lower limit cannot be specified for patients with hypertension and other medical problems because of some limitations of the hypertension studies on which the recommendations are based, and because of varying degrees of tolerability of readings considered to be low normal for healthy individuals. Lightheadedness, fainting, or other complications secondary to insufficient blood flow, particularly to the brain, are the primary problems that limit these individuals in their ability to safely achieve the low normal readings that healthy individuals can.

In summary, ideal blood pressure is a range of arterial pressures within what is considered to be normal limits for healthy individuals, and/or which decreases the frequency or severity of disease and/or disease events associated with hypertension in individuals with hypertension ± other medical problems. Additionally, an ideal blood pressure range is one that is tolerated without lightheadedness, fainting, or other complications related to inadequate blood flow.

This article is for informational purpose only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical consultation with a qualified professional. The author encourages Internet users to be careful when using medical information obtained from the Internet and to consult your physician if you are unsure about your medical condition.