is Ideal Blood Pressure
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
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 achieve.
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
by Victor E. Battles, M.D. - December 22, 2013
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