A blood pressure calculator assigns your blood pressure measurement to one of five categories. The risk assessment tool is originally based on data from Australia when researchers there put out The National Heart Foundation’s Guide to Management of Hypertension in 2008. But the American Heart Association has since updated the guidelines to make it even easier to determine if your blood pressure is high.
Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers: the systolic number (the top number) and the diastolic. Systolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when your heart beats. Diastolic blood pressure tells you how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
Having high blood pressure can cause your arteries to harden and lead to complications like heart attack, heart disease and stroke. Let’s find out how the blood pressure calculator works, so you can determine if you’re at risk.
Using a Blood Pressure Calculator
Calculating your blood pressure and determining where you stand is an important part of keeping your blood pressure under control. The good news is that it’s very simple to do.
All you have to know is your age, gender and your most recent blood pressure reading. You’ll use the combination to find out whether your blood pressure is normal, high or low, and how often you should have your blood pressure checked by your doctor.
An Australian website called “HealthEngine” has a blood pressure calculator that you can use, but you can get a more detailed health assessment in roughly the same amount of time by assessing your risk with the American Heart Association’s Check. Change. Control. Calculator™.
What The Calculation Will Tell You
The information you input into the blood pressure calculator will tell you which category you fall under. In 2017, new guidelines from the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and nine other health organizations lowered the numbers for the diagnosis of hypertension (high blood pressure) to 130/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Guidelines are changed when sufficient new evidence suggests the old guidelines are no longer accurate or relevant.
The new guidelines stem from the 2017 results of the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT). The study looked at more than 9,000 adults 50 years of age and older who had systolic blood pressure (the top number in a reading) of 130 mm Hg or higher and at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
The results found that targeting a systolic pressure of no more than 120 mm Hg decreases your risk of heart attacks, heart failure or stroke over a three-year period.
It’s also important to point out that the old guidelines set the blood pressure bar for people older or younger than age 65. The new guidelines don’t do this because the SPRINT study looked at all patients regardless of age and didn't break down groups above or below a certain age.
Blood Pressure Evaluation and Treatment
Now that you know how to use a blood pressure calculator and the guidelines you’ll use to understand the category you fall under, let’s look at the categories. Fortunately, the American Heart Association makes it easy.
Using a blood pressure calculator is a fast, easy way to find out critical information about your blood pressure and your risk of developing heart disease. You can use a blood pressure monitor to keep track, or you can see your doctor regularly.
Another thing you can do is download our guide called: “Blood Pressure: Know Your Numbers” to learn four easy ways to get your blood pressure down.