Your average blood pressure changes slightly as you go about your day. When you exercise, your blood pressure rises with each heartbeat and drops when your heart relaxes between beats. When you physically exert your body, sleep, eat, or perform other activities during the day, your blood pressure changes from minute to minute.
The ideal blood pressure of an person aged 20 and above should be below 120 over 80, also read as 120/80 mm Hg, less than 120 systolic AND less than 80 diastolic. When your average blood pressure is at this level it signifies that your body is healthy overall and you have a much lower risk of stroke or heart disease.
An estimated 5 million in the UK have problems with blood pressure. At the moment, high blood pressure is a major risk factor in individuals developing heart and circulatory diseases, high cholesterol, and diabetes at a young age. The best way to avoid problems with blood pressure is to have it measured. For this reason, most doctors advise individuals over 40 to get their blood pressure checked by a nurse or doctor as part of regular health checkups, and thus avoid the unnecessary risk of heart and circulatory disease. In some cases, individuals are encouraged to check their blood pressure once every two years from the time they turn 20, if their blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. If the individual's blood pressure is higher than normal, chances are he or she may be diagnosed with high blood pressure.
At the same time, a single high reading does not always indicate problems with high blood pressure. Higher readings could be the byproduct of extra physical activity or a change in your diet. Only if your blood pressure reading stays at 140/90 mm Hg, or above that, you may need to start taking active steps, like making changes in your diet and lifestyle, to bring it back to normal.
If you are monitoring your blood pressure and you get a systolic reading that is 180 mm Hg, or higher, or even a diastolic reading that is 110 mm Hg or higher, you should wait for several minutes and then take the reading again. If, after the second time, you still get a reading that is at that level or above, you should get immediate medical help in case of a hypertensive crisis. If you're not able to get emergency medical services on your own, try to get the help of a family member or friend who can drive you to the hospital for treatment.