Normal Blood Pressure vs Ideal Blood Pressure

ideal blood pressure - does it exist?

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Ever worried that you don’t have normal blood pressure? Or, more specifically, that your blood pressure might be too high?

What if you don’t have normal blood pressure?

High blood pressure gets a lot of press these days and fairly alarmist press at that. It’s often darkly portrayed as the “the silent killer” waiting to pounce on its unsuspecting victims. And who wouldn’t be alarmed at that thought?

Now, I’m not saying that high blood pressure can’t be dangerous to one’s health. Nor am I trying to deny that it can easily be overlooked if you’re not looking out for it.

However, as far as I understand it, high blood pressure is not a disease as such. It’s a measurement, a sign that a body gets out of balance. Of course extremely high blood pressure is sign that your circulatory system is approaching collapse. So heed its warnings.

However, one of the key questions here is what is ‘too high’ when it comes to blood pressure? Or phrased the other way, what is normal blood pressure?

What is normal blood pressure anyway?

The former “rule of thumb” for acceptable blood pressure levels went like this:
100 (systolic) + your age.

In other words, it was accepted that blood pressure would rise as one grew older.

The new regime is much simpler. It says that 120/80 and below is OK. Up to 140/90 is “pre-hypertension”. And anything over 140/90 is hypertension. (For folk over the age of about 60, 150/90 is the new ‘normal’ – more details here: High blood pressure and the elderly)

The 120/80 is now the one-size-fits all model. “Pre-hypertension” is regularly treated with prescription medication to prevent it from turning into the dreaded “silent killer” hypertension.

The new regime has resulted in a multi-billion dollar boom to the pharmaceutical industry dealing in blood pressure-regulating medications. Which has lead some to question this shift to regulating blood pressure at lower levels: is it more motivated by profit than health?

I’ve certainly noticed that anytime I browse the web for high blood pressure articles I come across a boat-load of conformist scaremongering about so-called ideal blood pressure.

It’s as if a party line on high blood pressure had been handed out and everyone is preaching from the same sermon. The pharmaceutical bosses must be smiling themselves to sleep every night. Sales are good – and increasing.

To be fair, doctors are caught between a rock and a hard place regardless of their own professional judgment. They are bombarded almost daily by sales literature from powerful pharmaceutical companies that can and do sway the prevailing opinions of accepted medical practice. Doctors leave themselves open to malpractice litigation if they don’t follow the newly established measurements and procedures.

But there does seem to be too much emphasis on 120/80 as the ideal blood pressure.

Is there really an ideal blood pressure?

As far as I can see, a blood pressure measurement of 120/80 is not necessarily ‘normal’ – rather it’s an ideal. As such, it’s not a number that everyone can or should try to achieve. (No more than everyone should try to force their feet into the ideal sized shoe.)

If your blood pressure is consistently near to 120/80 then pat yourself on the back. It doesn’t get much better. The other 95% of us, in our 40s and above, require a blood pressure range that’s a little more flexible in order to remain in reality and avoid becoming a lifelong medication junkie.

The fact is, it’s normal to have slightly higher blood pressure levels as one ages. Welcome to the human race. What isn’t normal is to have desperately high blood pressure levels. If you’re measuring in at over 150/110 it’s time to act.

I can’t tell you what is a safe blood pressure for you. However, even if you are concerned about your blood pressure, you don’t necessarily need to go on medications. Most people can reduce their blood pressure to a healthier level through exercise and diet. And in forcing your blood pressure down with medications (and possibly suffering undesirable side effects) is not always wise. Especially considering that, statistically, more deaths occur from heart disease and stroke in people are on these medications than those who aren’t on them….!

High blood pressure medications (indeed, most medications) can have particular dangers for the elderly. Although the medical establishment is now starting to acknowledge this. More studies are coming out showing that high blood pressure medications may have quite negative effects in the elderly, such as reduced mental clarity or being more likely to fall. See our article here for more details: High blood pressure and the elderly

Still, it could be a while before a more nuanced approach is taken by all doctors… In the meantime, taking a non-drug approach to lowering your blood pressure could well be your best and safest option.


Lowering your blood pressure without medications: How I reduced mine

I brought my blood pressure from close to 200/120 down to 130/90 range in four months through diet and exercise. Six months on it is now usually below 130/90. And I’ve never felt better.

Mind you I only embarked on alternative remedies for high blood pressure after two months of medication (ACE inhibitor). That medication was a total failure for me. It gave me a persistent dry cough and didn’t bring my blood pressure down at all.

Had I stayed with the medication, I’m sure the doctor would have found some combination of chemicals that forced my blood pressure to lower levels but that’s hardly a cure. And it would have turned me into a lifelong pill-popper.

Lower your blood pressure naturally. Get your body back in balance through diet and exercise. Get healthy again. If I can do it anyone can.


How to relax and lower your blood pressure: What you need to know

UPDATE (2017): My own route to lower blood pressure involved making some adjustments to my diet and I also started doing regular slow breathing exercises. (Physical exercise wasn’t so much an issue for me since I had an active lifestyle anyway.) Over a few months that brought my blood pressure levels down to what I felt to be a healthy level for me, though not always beneath the supposed ideal blood pressure 😉

High blood pressure can be due to a range of factors, slightly different for each of us, so there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution to lowering your blood pressure naturally. However, there are a huge range of small things you can do which can add up to big changes in your health and blood pressure. Changing some of what you eat and drink makes a huge difference. As does being more physically active on a daily basis. Making time for relaxation and practising techniques to reduce stress is another enjoyable and important way to reduce blood pressure.

I’ve used and reviewed various products in my quest to lower my blood pressure (some are reviewed here: high blood pressure remedy reviews). But since the best ones are now unavailable, I decided to create my own guide to lowering blood pressure naturally.

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide

hypertension treatments - naturallyAs the title imaginatively suggests, it’s arranged in an easy-to-follow format of nine steps which you can work through at whatever pace suits you.

Each step covers some aspect of diet, exercise or stress reduction. And each presents a range of simple things you can do to start lowering your blood pressure without taking prescription medications.

I should also emphasize that going down this road of getting your blood pressure back in shape does not involve terrible amounts of self-denial! There are lots of tasty foods and drinks which contribute to reducing your blood pressure (including alcohol and chocolate). And there are also a good number of pleasurable activities and relaxing techniques.

You can even do blood pressure-lowering exercises which don’t even require getting up from the sofa.

Just click here for more details: Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally

Cheers, Simon



  • phil

    I was interested to read that you consider a “safe level” of blood pressure to be under 140/105 and was wondering what evidence you based this assertion on. In a book approved by the British Medical Association (BMA) published in 2008, entitled “Understanding Blood Pressure”, Professor D.G. Beevers, who edits the Journal of Human Hypertension, writes: “There are two thresholds for diagnosing hypertension, which take into account total cardiovascular risk of developing a heart attack and stroke. In high risk individuals with existing damage to their blood vessels, the threshold is 140/90 mmHg. In all other people at low risk, with no other medical problems, the threshold is 160/100mmHg.”

    I am currently trying to wean myself off bp medication which I feel I should never have been put on in the first place, and so these figures are of some interest to me!


  • @phil
    Hi Phil, thanks for the comment.

    The ‘safe level’ of 140/105 are the blood pressure numbers I consistently aim to be under. If my reading is over these levels it means to me that my body is getting out of balance and needs attending to.

    Having said that, may actual BP reading are in the 125-135 / 85 – 95 range. I’m happy with that for two reasons:

    1. BP readings are not concise. If you take half a dozen readings over a 15 minute time period you will rarely get two identical readings. You get a range.

    2. IMHO our BP is like our fingerprints. Normal healthy ones are all similar but none are identical. Genetics plays a large part on how our body regulates itself. Hence to state that everyone should have a BP reading of 120/80 (which is the mantra most heard on the internet) is neither realistic nor helpful.

    This leads me to think in acceptable ranges of BP, rather than precise figures. The 140/105 is the top limit of what is acceptable to me. I don’t have lower limit although if your BP goes too low it’s not healthy either.

    I have seen the 140/105 figure quoted elsewhere backed by what I judged to be sound arguments.

    According to Proffesor D.G. Beevers you quote in your comment the acceptable range for ‘normal’ people is 160/100. The systolic seems too high for me … but at the end of the day … it’s your judgement call.


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