What is a normal blood pressure? Blood pressure is essential to life because it forces the blood around the body, delivering all the nutrients it needs. Here, we explain how to take your blood pressure, what the readings mean, and what counts as low, high, and normal. The article also offers some tips on how to maintain healthy blood pressure. Read now

Normal blood pressure is below 120/80. New guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) published in November of 2017 consider blood pressure elevated between 120/80 and 129/80. High blood pressure or hypertension is now classified as stage 1 if your systolic reading falls between 130 and 139 or your diastolic reading is between 80 and 89. A measure of 140/90 or higher is now considered stage 2 hypertension. A hypertensive crisis is defined as a systolic rate over 180 or a diastolic rate above 120. An elevated blood pressure means that the heart must work harder to pump blood. High blood pressure can also damage the walls of the arteries. Over time, hypertension increases the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. It is estimated that one in three adults in America are affected by hypertension.
What medication is available for diabetes? Diabetes causes blood sugar levels to rise. The body may stop producing insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar, and this results in type 1 diabetes. In people with type 2 diabetes, insulin is not working effectively. Learn about the range of treatments for each type and recent medical developments here. Read now
Metformin doesn't typically cause blood pressure to plummet and lead to hypoglycemia, but it can—and that can cause headaches. "Metformin alone should not cause hypoglycemia,” Rodriguez explains. But “when we see headaches, it’s usually in a patient on a combination of medications that can drop blood sugars too low.” If you’re experiencing an abnormal amount of headaches or an abnormal type of headache, talk to your doctor about adjusting your medications.
Blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day, so measuring it in the morning might yield a different number than, say, the afternoon. Conditions like stress and lack of sleep can also fluctuate blood pressure. Visiting your doctor might feel nerve-wracking, which can elevate your blood pressure and create a condition called white coat hypertension.
Metformin doesn't typically cause blood pressure to plummet and lead to hypoglycemia, but it can—and that can cause headaches. "Metformin alone should not cause hypoglycemia,” Rodriguez explains. But “when we see headaches, it’s usually in a patient on a combination of medications that can drop blood sugars too low.” If you’re experiencing an abnormal amount of headaches or an abnormal type of headache, talk to your doctor about adjusting your medications.
Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
Imagine a garden hose hooked up to a spigot. When the hose is flexible and there are no kinks in it, you can turn on the water full blast and it will flow easily through the hose. But if there’s a kink in the hose, the water doesn’t flow as well beyond the kink. And the pressure inside the hose builds up behind the kink. Or imagine there is gunk inside the hose blocking the path of the water. Your arteries are a lot like that garden hose.
If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, or any major medical procedure, tell the doctor that you are taking metformin. Also, tell your doctor if you plan to have any x-ray procedure in which dye is injected, especially if you drink or have ever drunk large amounts of alcohol or have or have had liver disease or heart failure. You may need to stop taking metformin before the procedure and wait 48 hours to restart treatment. Your doctor will tell you exactly when you should stop taking metformin and when you should start taking it again.
3. Fairly recently, the difference between Systolic and Diastolic pressure, named "Pulse Pressure", has been gaining interest in the research community. This Pulse Pressure has been found to correlate linearly with heart attack risk - the higher the number, the higher the risk. According to this theory, a BP of 140/ 90 (PP=50) is more desirable than a BP of 140/ 80 (PP=60).
To make an official diagnosis of high blood pressure you will need to see your doctor. Often your blood pressure will be checked on at least two different visits, at different times of the day. Your doctor may ask you to keep a blood pressure log for a short time in order to see your overall blood pressure trends. If your blood pressure is consistently over 134/80, your doctor will work with you to determine the best regimen for treating your high blood pressure.
For older people, often the first number (systolic) is 130 or higher, but the second number (diastolic) is less than 80. This problem is called isolated systolic hypertension, which is due to age-related stiffening of the major arteries. It is the most common form of high blood pressure in older people and can lead to serious health problems (stroke, heart disease, eye problems, and kidney failure) in addition to shortness of breath during light physical activity, lightheadedness upon standing too fast, and falls. Isolated systolic hypertension is treated in the same way as regular high blood pressure (130 or higher for the first number, or 80 or higher for the second number) but may require more than one type of blood pressure medication. If your doctor determines that your systolic pressure is above a normal level for your age, ask how you can lower it.

‘White coat syndrome’ refers to elevated blood pressure due to nervousness or anxiety when clients have their blood pressure taken by a healthcare provider. This occurs in approximately 20% of clients. Key message: have the client take their blood pressure at home with an automatic home blood pressure cuff and compare the findings. Alternatively, you can ask the client to sit quietly and leave the room while an automatic cuff takes a client’s blood pressure. The automatic cuff can be programmed to take three measurements and the blood pressure documented is an average of the three readings.


Some people may ask why doctors are lowering the threshold for high blood pressure, when it was already difficult for many patients to achieve the previous blood pressure targets of below 140 mm Hg/90 mm Hg, said Dr. Pamela B. Morris, a preventive cardiologist and chairwoman of the ACC's Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Leadership Council. However, Morris said that the guidelines were changed because "we now have more precise estimates of the risk of [high] blood pressures," and these new guidelines really communicate that risk to patients. So, just because it's going to be difficult for people to achieve, "I don't think it's a reason not to communicate the risk to patients, and to empower them to make appropriate lifestyle modifications," Morris told Live Science.
But it’s not all bad news. Yes, hypertension contributes to a lot of serious conditions, but blood pressure treatment options are very effective. And the first step, of course, is knowing if you have high blood pressure. You can check your blood pressure for free at many pharmacies nationwide. CVS “Minute Clinics” and Walgreens Blood Pressure screening both offer in-store blood pressure test.
Secondary hypertension results from an identifiable cause. Kidney disease is the most common secondary cause of hypertension.[23] Hypertension can also be caused by endocrine conditions, such as Cushing's syndrome, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, acromegaly, Conn's syndrome or hyperaldosteronism, renal artery stenosis (from atherosclerosis or fibromuscular dysplasia), hyperparathyroidism, and pheochromocytoma.[23][47] Other causes of secondary hypertension include obesity, sleep apnea, pregnancy, coarctation of the aorta, excessive eating of liquorice, excessive drinking of alcohol, and certain prescription medicines, herbal remedies, and illegal drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine.[23][48] Arsenic exposure through drinking water has been shown to correlate with elevated blood pressure.[49][50]
^ Jump up to: a b Semlitsch, T; Jeitler, K; Berghold, A; Horvath, K; Posch, N; Poggenburg, S; Siebenhofer, A (2 March 2016). "Long-term effects of weight-reducing diets in people with hypertension". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 3: CD008274. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD008274.pub3. PMID 26934541. Archived from the original on 23 March 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
Secondary hypertension refers to hypertension that is caused by another condition or medication. In most cases, secondary hypertension occurs suddenly and may cause greater elevation in blood pressure than primary hypertension. Thyroid disorders, kidney disease, obstructive sleep apnea, alcohol abuse, illegal drugs, and tumors of the adrenal gland are some of the causes of secondary hypertension.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends ambulatory blood pressure measurement for accurate diagnosis of hypertension. Although you may have elevated blood pressure when measured in your doctor's office, this can be the result of "white coat hypertension." Screening by your healthcare provider may also miss "masked hypertension." 12- and 24-hour average blood pressures using ambulatory blood pressure monitoring are often significantly different from readings taken in a clinic or hospital setting, and result in fewer patients requiring treatment, with significantly fewer patients requiring treatment as a result. Other patients may have elevated blood pressure averages discovered with ambulatory monitoring that place them at risk for stroke and cardiovascular disease even when the readings obtained in a healthcare setting are normal.
^ Wulffelé MG, Kooy A, Lehert P, Bets D, Ogterop JC, Borger van der Burg B, Donker AJ, Stehouwer CD (November 2003). "Effects of short-term treatment with metformin on serum concentrations of homocysteine, folate and vitamin B12 in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial". Journal of Internal Medicine. 254 (5): 455–63. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2796.2003.01213.x. PMID 14535967.
But what is a healthy blood pressure level? The exact range considered acceptable can vary. For those individuals with a family history of hypertension or with related complications, like chronic kidney disease, it’s even more important to stay at a low level. A blood pressure reading is composed of two numbers that measure the pressure in your arteries when the heart beats (called systolic pressure) and the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats (called diastolic pressure). A healthy blood pressure should measure below 120/80 (the numbers represent millimeters of mercury). The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute provides the following guidelines for understanding normal blood pressure and hypertension:
There have been a significant number of studies on metformin’s risk of inducing lactic acidosis — a state in which lactic acid builds up in the body, which can be fatal. But the greater majority of studies concluded without any cases of lactic acidosis according to “The Phantom of Lactic Acidosis due to Metformin in Patients With Diabetes” in the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Diabetes Care journal.
The Metformin-PCOS connection has been studied extensively since a majority of health complications associated with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) are due to hyperinsulinemia (high amounts of insulin in the blood stream). Metformin is known to reduce circulating insulin levels. The use of this drug in women with PCOS has shown highly encouraging results.
The molecular mechanism of metformin is incompletely understood. Multiple potential mechanisms of action have been proposed: inhibition of the mitochondrial respiratory chain (complex I), activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), inhibition of glucagon-induced elevation of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) with reduced activation of protein kinase A (PKA), inhibition of mitochondrial glycerophosphate dehydrogenase, and an effect on gut microbiota.[92][93][94] Ultimately, it decreases gluconeogenesis (liver glucose production).[76] It also has an insulin-sensitizing effect with multiple actions on tissues including the liver, skeletal muscle, endothelium, adipose tissue, and the ovary.[47][95] The average patient with type 2 diabetes has three times the normal rate of gluconeogenesis; metformin treatment reduces this by over one-third.[96]
Hypertension clinical guidelines from the American Heart Association are comprehensive guidelines for healthcare professionals for the detection and treatment of high blood pressure in a wide range of patients. Included in the 2018 hypertension clinical guidelines are proper methods for measuring blood pressure, risk factors for hypertension, and hypertension treatment for different populations.

In the fight against hypertension, the best strategy is to recognize one’s individual risks-which might include genetic history, obesity or simple physical inactivity-and act accordingly. For the elderly, moderately high blood pressure might be less serious than it is in a middle-aged person. But even when blood pressure rises minimally past age 50, it’s still important to take the proper steps to ensure healthy senior years. A normal blood pressure is an important first step toward achieving long-term health. Hypertension might be a common problem-but fortunately it has plenty of solutions.
You are considered to have hypertension if your systolic blood pressure measurements are between 130 and 139 or your diastolic measurement falls between 80 and 89. At this level of blood pressure you may not have any symptoms. When blood pressure reaches 180/120 or higher, a serious condition known as a malignant hypertension or hypertension crisis may occur. This can lead to stroke, kidney damage, heart attacks, or loss of consciousness. If you measure your blood pressure and it is this high, rest a few minutes and measure again. If it remains high, call 911.
^ Jump up to: a b Calello DP, Liu KD, Wiegand TJ, Roberts DM, Lavergne V, Gosselin S, Hoffman RS, Nolin TD, Ghannoum M (August 2015). "Extracorporeal Treatment for Metformin Poisoning: Systematic Review and Recommendations From the Extracorporeal Treatments in Poisoning Workgroup". Critical Care Medicine. 43 (8): 1716–30. doi:10.1097/CCM.0000000000001002. PMID 25860205.
6. One blood pressure reading means very little. The advice to "Have your blood pressure checked once a year" is useless. What time of day? Had you eaten less salty foods recently? Were you relaxed that day, when you are usually much more stressed? Had you recently exercised vigorously? You must check your BP far more often than once a year, especially if you show "borderline" readings. I can produce a very low, or very high blood pressure AT WILL, based upon what I do during the 24 hours prior to the measurement.
Blood pressure readings fall into four general categories, ranging from normal to stage 2 high blood pressure (hypertension). The level of your blood pressure determines what kind of treatment you may need. To get an accurate blood pressure measurement, your doctor should evaluate your readings based on the average of two or more blood pressure readings at three or more office visits.
Resistant hypertension is defined as high blood pressure that remains above a target level, in spite of being prescribed three or more antihypertensive drugs simultaneously with different mechanisms of action.[131] Failing to take the prescribed drugs, is an important cause of resistant hypertension.[132] Resistant hypertension may also result from chronically high activity of the autonomic nervous system, an effect known as "neurogenic hypertension".[133] Electrical therapies that stimulate the baroreflex are being studied as an option for lowering blood pressure in people in this situation.[134]
Metformin (prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes) can cause excessive gas and bloating, heartburn, headaches, a cough, muscle pain and a metallic taste in the mouth, but these side effects typically ease after a few weeks. Very rarely, metformin may cause a serious condition called lactic acidosis. Key signs include weakness, trouble breathing, abnormal heartbeat, unusual muscle pain, stomach discomfort, lightheadedness and feeling cold. You're more at risk if you have reduced kidney function, worsening congestive heart failure or are dehydrated.
This is one of the most common metformin side effects that a lot of people tend to experience when medicating with metformin. Generally, it is expressed in chronic diarrhea. It is believed to be related to that fact that metformin prevents enterocytes (cells in your digestive tract) from absorbing certain nutrients, particularly carbohydrates, which results in upset GI tract. 53% of the patients medicating with metformin experience diarrhea.
The damage is cumulative over time. High blood pressure is rarely associated with symptoms, so it is often left untreated or overlooked until permanent and devastating organ damage has occurred. When blood pressure is increased, the walls of the arteries may become injured or stretched. Damage to the blood vessels can create weak regions that give rise to aneurysms or rupture.
Metformin is capable of affecting the level of certain hormones in the body, especially in large doses. For instance, an overdose may lead to a reduction in the blood levels of thyroid-stimulating hormones, especially if the individual has a history of suffering from hypothyroidism. It can also cause a reduction of the blood level in testosterone and luteinizing hormones found in men.
Damage to the heart muscle can also cause atrial fibrillation over time. Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart rate that puts you at risk for stroke. High blood pressure can also tear the inner layer of the arteries, allowing buildup of scar tissue that attracts cholesterol debris and platelets (blood cells that form clots). Cholesterol build-up in damaged blood vessels is called a plaque. These plaques cause a narrowing of the arteries, which results in more work for the heart to pump adequate blood through the body.
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