120/80 blood pressure is a normal, healthy blood pressure reading, also known as Normotension.
What Does 120 over 80 Blood Pressure Mean?
A BP reading of 120 over 80 means it is within the normal blood pressure range; a systolic pressure reading of 120 mmHg when your heart contacts on a beat, and a diastolic pressure of 80 mmHg when the heart is dilated or relaxing between beats. They are both measured in units of mmHg which are millimetres of mercury.
You may find these readings written as, 120 over 80, or more simply BP 120/80.
Looking at your systolic and diastolic numbers independently, means they would each fall into the following categories:
- A systolic reading of 120 is generally considered to be at the ‘ideal’ blood pressure level.
- A diastolic reading of 80 is generally considered to be at the ‘ideal’ blood pressure level.
Both your systolic and diastolic readings play an important role when assessing your health. Typically, the reading that falls into a less favourable range dictates your overall blood pressure’s categorisation. In your situation, it is deemed ideal overall, since both your systolic and diastolic readings align at the same health status level. Minor variations exist in the naming conventions and specific boundaries of each category between different nations. We show what these differences are in the tables presented later in this article so you know where you stand on the EU, US, UK, Japan and international scales.
What Is Blood Pulse Pressure And What Is Mine?
Blood pulse pressure is the difference in value between your systolic and diastolic readings. Your pulse pressure is therefore 40mmHg, calculated by subtracting your diastolic reading of 80mmHg from the systolic reading of 120mmHg.
A normal pulse pressure is typically considered to be around 40mmHg. Your pulse pressure will naturally vary with different BP readings but the variation will typically be in the 5 to 10 mmHg range. Once again it is best to take several readings to determine an average.
A pulse pressure which is less than 25% of your systolic pressure is considered concerningly low and over 100%, would be considered wide. Your pulse pressure of 40mmHg as a percentage of your systolic reading of 120mmHg comes in at 33%.Narrow pulse pressure means the heart is not pumping enough blood with each beat. This is often seen in people who develop heart valve diseases or heart failure. It can also be seen when people have lost a lot of blood from an injury.
Wide pulse pressure, also referred to as high pulse pressure, can occur during exercise and is often seen in endurance athletes and high muscle mass individuals without concern. However, for less active and aging individuals experiencing hardening of the arteries, a wide pulse pressure occurs for different reasons and can be a warning sign of increased risk of stroke, heart rhythm problems and heart disease.
If you are concerned about your pulse pressure, ask your healthcare professional for advice.
Different Countries May Interpret 120/80 Differently
Your 120/80 reading is seen an ideal or optimal normal blood pressure in many countries, although the specific boundaries for each category and the naming of them can vary slightly between nations.
Revisions to these scales also occur, notably in 2017, leading U.S. health groups, including the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, set lower levels for what counts as the start of high blood pressure and removed the term prehypertension from their scale. Yet when the EU later reviewed their scale in 2018, they maintained a higher boundary for the start of hypertension.
So, large segments of the US population defined as having high blood pressure would not be considered to be suffering from hypertension by the EU.
You can check several country specific and international associations’ hypertension tables further down this page.
Where Does My Blood Pressure Show On The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) Hypertension Chart?
The ACC/AHA hypertension scale was most recently revised in 2017 and the major change at that time was lowering the definition of the start of hypertension from ≥140/≥90 mmHg to ≥130/≥80 mmHg. It also re-classified “prehypertension” as “elevated” blood pressure (120-129/<80 mmHg).
Your readings on the ACC/AHA blood pressure chart are shown below:
Categorisations of Blood Pressure by Region/Country
Here we present the latest revised blood pressure tables and naming terms used by the EU, US, Japan, UK and International Society of Hypertension (ISH). Some differentiate office vs home readings, office not meaning your workplace but the office of the medical staff. The reason this differentiation is made is because medical environments can be stressful and raise the readings compared to what is achieved when relaxing at home and taking your own measurements.
European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) Classifications
|Grade 1 hypertension
|Grade 2 hypertension
|Grade 3 hypertension
|Isolated systolic hypertension
|Isolated diastolic hypertension
American College of Cardiology (ACC)/American Heart Association (AHA) Classifications
Japanese Society of Hypertension (JSH) Classifications
|Office blood pressure (mmHg)
|Home blood pressure (mmHg)
|Normal blood pressure
|High normal blood pressure
|Elevated blood pressure
|Grade I hypertension
|Grade II hypertension
|Grade III hypertension
|(Isolated) systolic hypertension
UK National Health Service (NHS)/British Heart Foundation(BHF) Classifications
|Office blood pressure (mmHg)
|Home blood pressure (mmHg)
|Low blood pressure
|Normal blood pressure (Under 80s)
|Normal blood pressure (Over 80s)
|High-normal blood pressure (pre-hypertension)
|Stage three (Severe hypertension)
International Society of Hypertension (ISH) Classification
|Systolic (mm Hg)
|Diastolic (mm Hg)
|Grade 1 hypertension
|Grade 2 hypertension
What Blood Pressure Is Normal?
Ideally your blood pressure should be between 90/60mmHG and 120/80mmHg to be considered within the normal blood pressure range, also known as the normotension range. You can see slight variations to this in the tables above. The main concern however, often known as the “silent killer,” is high blood pressure, which rarely has obvious symptoms. The World Health Organisation estimates 1.28 billion adults aged 30-79 have high blood pressure, with 46% of those unaware that they have it. If left untreated persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, such as:
– aortic aneurysms
– heart attacks
– heart disease
– heart failure
– kidney disease
– peripheral arterial disease
– vascular dementia
If you develop high blood pressure, reducing it even a small amount can help lower your risk of these health conditions.If you regularly take your blood pressure readings at home with a blood pressure monitor (sphygmomanometer), you will have a more accurate average to work with. This is because you will be taking more readings than what you would get from just one doctor’s visit. You can then use this information to see if your blood pressure is ok, or if you need to make some changes to your lifestyle. If your blood pressure readings are consistently high or abnormally low, you should speak with your medical practitioner to explore the possible underlying causes and see if they think you may need blood pressure medications.
As My Blood Pressure is ‘ideal’ or ‘normal’ Should I Have Any Concerns?
Your blood pressure’s overall status comes in as an ideal blood pressure in general, being classed as a normal blood pressure reading on the newer ACC/AHA (American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association) scale, which was last revised in 2017. This is an excellent result and you should either seek to maintain a healthy lifestyle or focus on adopting one to prevent the onset of higher blood pressure later in life.
There are number of things you can do to keep your blood pressure in the recommended range:
Keep Your Weight Under ControlIncreased weight is normally associated with increased blood pressure. Losing a kilogram or 2.2 pounds will generally reduce you blood pressure reading by 1mm of mercury (mmHg). Women should look to keep waist sizes under 89cm or 35 inches and men less than 89cm or 40 inches (depending on ethnic group). Carrying too much weight around the waist increases the risk of high blood pressure.
Eat HealthilyKeeping to a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts and grains alongside low fat dairy products will lower the amount of saturated fats you intake. You should also keep the amount of salt in your diet relatively low as salt increases blood pressure, however as with caffeine, which may also increase blood pressure after consumption by around 10mmHg, sensitivity varies from person to person. Eating foods high in potassium helps reduce the effects of sodium on blood pressure. Most adults should aim to limit their sodium intake to around 1.5 grams a day according to the AHA (a teaspoon has about 2.5g), while the World Health Organisation deems the average actual consumption is closer to 9-12 grams per day. Opt for low sodium varieties of any processed food you buy, processed food is typically high in salt content, and read food labels to see how your sodium intake is adding up.
Quit Smoking And Reduce Alcohol IntakeSmoking or drinking too much alcohol can cause both short and longer term increases in blood pressure. While drinking low levels of alcohol has been shown to reduce blood pressure in some studies, exceeding moderate recommended intake levels can lead to alcohol induced hypertension – which has been shown to affect about 16% of the US population in past studies.
Exercise And Find Ways To Reduce StressIf you want to keep your blood pressure down, you should exercise for at least 30 minutes every day. This can be done through activities like fast walking, yoga, swimming, weight training, or playing active sports. You can also try to reduce stress in your life by avoiding things that trigger it, or handling stressful situations calmly. Some people find that reducing stress is helped by meditating or pursuing their interests and hobbies outside of work. Dogs have also been found to be beneficial in reducing stress and lowering blood pressure in humans and aside from the interaction with them, they provide a good reason to get out and exercise every day.
- Blood Pressure Reading: A blood pressure of 120/80 is considered a normal and healthy reading, also referred to as Normotension.
- Understanding the Readings: A systolic reading of 120 and a diastolic reading of 80 both fall into the ‘ideal’ blood pressure level. These readings represent the pressure when the heart contracts and relaxes, respectively.
- Pulse Pressure: The difference between systolic and diastolic readings is known as pulse pressure.
- A normal pulse pressure is around 40mmHg and between 25-100% of you systolic reading.
- The pulse pressure for this reading of 120/80 is 40mmHg.
- 40mmHg a percentage of your systolic reading (120mmHg) is 33%.
- Variations Across Countries: Different countries might have slight variations in the naming conventions and boundaries for blood pressure categories. For instance, the U.S. and the EU have different criteria for what constitutes high blood pressure.
- Consistency is Key: A single blood pressure reading is not definitive. It’s essential to take multiple readings over time to get an accurate average.
- Importance of Monitoring: Regularly monitoring blood pressure at home provides a more accurate picture of one’s health status. If readings are consistently high or abnormally low, it’s crucial to consult a medical professional.
- Maintaining Ideal Blood Pressure: To maintain or achieve an ideal blood pressure, it’s recommended to manage weight, eat a balanced diet, limit salt intake, quit smoking, reduce alcohol consumption, exercise regularly, and manage stress.