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How to Understand Blood Pressure Ranges by Age

written by Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse Written by Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse
Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa is a MSN prepared Registered Nurse with 10 years of critical care experience in healthcare. When not practicing clinical nursing, she enjoys academic writing and is passionate about helping those affected by medical aliments live healthy lives.

Read more posts by this author.
reviewed by Ken Cosby M.D. Reviewed by Ken Cosby M.D.
Ken Cosby M.D.

Ken Cosby M.D.

Dr. Ken Cosby received his medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine (Washington, DC) and completed his research post-doc work at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health including the National Heart Lung Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute.

October 30, 2021 Read Time - 6 minutes

What is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood within the arteries as blood circulates throughout the body. The heart pumps blood throughout the circulatory system which can be measured. This measurement is called blood pressure. 

Blood pressure readings can give valuable information and predict health outcomes. If your blood pressure is too high or too low, this can signal something is wrong within your body. Normal blood pressure is a vital body function and without it, nutrients and oxygen could not reach tissues and organs.

Keep reading to learn about how blood pressure by age differs, as well as potential high blood pressure risk factors and potential hypertension management options.

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Blood Pressure By Age

As our bodies develop over time, blood pressure by age varies in range. Babies, children, and young people have a lower blood pressure than adults. This is due to the smaller surface area blood has to travel in children as well as the smaller size of their hearts. 

Blood pressure may fluctuate in all ages due to dehydration, blood loss, heart problems, infection, allergies, nutritional issues, medications, endocrine problems, age, height, and sex. Normal blood pressure measurements are determined by the US comprehensive guidelines using collective data. In 2017, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology determined blood pressure ranges.

Normal blood pressure varies by age and is a standard measurement using millimeters of mercury (mmHg). No matter your age, you can take steps each day to keep your blood pressure in the healthy range. The following is considered normal blood pressure by age:

Age RangeNormal Blood Pressure (mmHg)
Newborn/Infant64/41 mmHg
1 to 11-year-olds90/55 up to 110/75 mmHg
12 to 13-year-olds110/65 up to 135/85 mmHg
14 to 18-year-olds120/80 mmHg
18 to 25-year-olds120/80 up to 129/80 mmHg
25 to 59-year-olds120/80 up to 129/80 mmHg
60 to 65-year-olds139/89 mmHg
65 to 80+ years oldless than 150/90 mmHg

There is strong evidence to support treating hypertensive persons aged 60 years or older to a blood pressure goal of less than 150/90 mmHg.

Does Blood Pressure Increase with Age? 

As we age, our vascular system changes. The arteries inside our bodies become hardened with age, even if you have heart-healthy habits. Many studies report that it is safe to treat hypertension in the elderly and that it will decrease the risk of stroke, heart failure, heart attack, and all-cause mortality.

How to control high blood pressure through aging? There are many healthy practices that can help reduce your risk of high blood pressure. Lifestyle changes that promote heart health include:

  • Maintain a healthy weight – Being overweight is a risk factor for heart disease and high blood pressure. Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.
  • Exercise – Moderate exercise (2.5 hours per week or at least 150 minutes) can lower your risk of high blood pressure.
  • Reduce salt intake – As you age, your body becomes more sensitive to salt. A low-salt diet such as the DASH diet can help lower your blood pressure.
  • Manage stress in healthy ways – Do not smoke or drink alcohol. Use relaxation and coping techniques to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Getting a good night’s sleep also reduces stress and lowers blood pressure.

Related: Nutrition for Weight Management


Different Types of Blood Pressure 

Blood pressure is measured using two numbers, the systolic (top number) and the diastolic (bottom number). These numbers are presented as a fraction such as 120/80. In this example, 120 is the systolic number and 80 is the diastolic number. 

Which is more important: systolic or diastolic blood pressure? Both contribute meaningful information to the overall clinical picture and can predict cardiac health. Systolic blood pressure measures how hard the heart pumps blood into the arteries, while diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure on the arteries when the heart rests in between beats.

Medical experts use systolic blood pressure to determine heart problems and risk of stroke, heart attack, and death from heart disease. Systolic blood pressure readings are still a strong predictor of heart health and cardiovascular risk.

Diastolic blood pressure is also used to determine risk. Doctors can use diastolic blood pressure readings to provide additional diagnostic predictive information for people under 50 years old. A study showed that diastolic blood pressure trends for people over the age of 50 did not show any significant predictor of risk.

What is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, has been termed the “silent killer” because it may show no symptoms but is causing quiet body damage. Untreated hypertension can cause heart disease, heart failure, strokes, diabetes, and heart attacks. Important facts about blood pressure and your health:

  • About 60% of people who have diabetes also have high blood pressure. 
  • Almost 1 in 2 US adults (108 million people have hypertension).
  • High blood pressure is the 2nd leading cause of kidney failure in the US.
  • About 72% of people who have a heart attack also have hypertension.
  • Hypertension is also the most prevalent risk factor for a stroke. 

High Blood Pressure Risk Factors

Anyone can get high blood pressure, but some people are more at risk than others. Risk factors that cannot be changed (non-modifiable) include:

  • Age – The likelihood of having high blood pressure increases the older you get.
  • Sex – Before age 55, men have a greater chance of having high blood pressure. Women are more likely to have high blood pressure after menopause (age 45 to 55 on average).
  • Family history – People with a family history of high blood pressure share common environmental and other potential factors that increase their risk.
  • Race – Research shows Black Americans are at an increased risk for high blood pressure.
  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

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Blood Pressure Treatment Online

Gaining control of your health is important. Keeping track of your blood pressure and risk factors is important to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Take charge of your health by investing in preventative care and yearly checkups with your doctor. Early detection of hypertension is easily treated and managed.

High blood pressure is very common in older people and can be treated. Hypertension treatment includes lifestyle changes and sometimes prescription hypertension medications. If you have high blood pressure or want to reduce your risks of getting high blood pressure, talk to your PlushCare doctor about preventative and treatment options.

Book an appointment to speak with a PlushCare doctor about managing your blood pressure.


Read More About Blood Pressure by Age


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

American Heart Association. Which blood pressure number matters most? The answer might depend on your age. Accessed on October 11, 2021 at https://www.heart.org/en/news/2021/03/01/which-blood-pressure-number-matters-most-the-answer-might-depend-on-your-age 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High blood pressure symptoms and causes. Accessed on October 11, 2021 at https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/about.htm 

James PA, Oparil S, Carter BL, et al. 2014 Evidence-Based Guideline for the Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults: Report From the Panel Members Appointed to the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8). JAMA. 2014;311(5):507–520. Accessed on October 11, 2021 at https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/1791497 

National Institute of Health. National Institute on Aging. High blood pressure. Accessed on October 11, 2021 at https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/high-blood-pressure

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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