Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120/80 mm Hg. However, blood pressure is a variable thing. It fluctuates throughout the day, rising and falling based on many factors. If you’re wondering, “What is normal blood pressure for a woman?” the answer is that there is a range of normal, and age is a major factor in determining what your “ideal” blood pressure should be.
First, let’s understand what blood pressure is, why high blood pressure is dangerous, and what the risk factors are so that we can fully answer the question about what normal blood pressure for a woman is.
What Is Blood Pressure?
Your blood pressure is a measure of the force at which your heart pumps blood through your arteries. It is always given in two numbers:
- Systolic Pressure: The number given at the “top of the fraction.” It is a measure of the highest pressure against your arteries when your heart beats
- Diastolic Pressure: The number given at the “bottom of the fraction.” It is a measure of the lowest pressure in your arteries when your heart is at rest in between beats
Normal blood pressure for a woman is a reading up to 120/80 mm Hg. Any numbers higher than that are considered in the “high” range.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a dangerous condition that can lead to heart disease or stroke. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a third of all US adults have high blood pressure. (1)
Hypertension is also known as the “silent killer,” because there are often no warning signs or symptoms—and long-term, it can be deadly.
Understanding Your Blood Pressure Reading
By following the guidelines below, you can determine whether your reading is considered to be normal blood pressure for a woman.
- Normal Blood Pressure. Systolic: Below 120, Diastolic: Below 80
- Elevated Blood Pressure. Systolic: 120–129, Diastolic: Below 80
- Stage 1 Blood Pressure (Hypertension). Systolic: 130–139, Diastolic: 80–89
- Stage 2 Blood Pressure (Hypertension). Systolic: 140 or higher, Diastolic: 90 or higher
It should be noted that while the numbers given above are ideal, they do increase slightly with age. While young adults and teenagers are expected to have a blood pressure reading of 120/80 or below, older adults’ readings will most likely be higher. This is because our blood pressure increases to better supply our aging bodies with oxygen and nutrients.
The risk of high blood pressure for women increases greatly after menopause. So, to answer the question, “What is normal blood pressure for a woman?” refer to your age range below.
What is normal blood pressure for a 40–49-year-old woman?
Women between the ages of 40–45 should have a systolic blood pressure of 124 or below and a diastolic blood pressure of 83 or below (124/83 mm Hg). From ages 46–49, normal blood pressure for women is considered 126/84 mm Hg or below.
What is normal blood pressure for a 50–59-year-old woman?
Normal blood pressure for women ages 50–55 is 129/85 mm Hg. From ages 56–59, normal blood pressure for women is 130/86 mm Hg and below.
What is normal blood pressure for a 60+-year-old woman?
Women 60 years and older are likely to have higher systolic blood pressure. Normal blood pressure for this age range is 134/84. As a general rule, the older a woman gets, the higher her systolic blood pressure will be.
Higher systolic blood pressure is necessary for older people, especially for those who have difficulty walking. The blood pressure increases to compensate for lack of movement, and it keeps blood pumping to central organs, like the brain and heart. (2)
What is normal blood pressure for a pregnant woman?
It is important for pregnant women to monitor their blood pressure regularly. Hypertension during pregnancy poses various risks to both the baby and the mother. Among other things, it greatly increases your risk of developing preeclampsia—a dangerous pregnancy complication that can develop after week 20 of pregnancy.
Ideally, your blood pressure during pregnancy should remain in the normal range—at about 120/80 mm Hg. If your blood pressure is elevated (120–129/80 mm Hg), your doctor may want to monitor you closely and take your blood pressure more often to ensure that it doesn’t increase too much.
Blood pressure greater than 140/90 mm Hg during pregnancy is cause for concern. It may indicate preeclampsia, and your doctor will take the necessary precautions to ensure that you and your baby are safe.
Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure
The best way to lower your risk for hypertension is to live a healthy lifestyle, including eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fatty fish; exercising; quitting smoking; and limiting your alcohol intake. The following people are at a higher risk for hypertension:
- African Americans
- People with a family history of hypertension
- People over the age of 55
- People who are overweight or obese
- Those who smoke
- Women who have more than one alcoholic drink per day and men who have more than two alcoholic drinks per day
- People who eat foods high in salt
- People who do not exercise regularly
If you have high blood pressure, you may be able to bring it down by reducing your sodium intake, eating healthfully, and exercising regularly.
Normal blood pressure for women changes based on age. Ideally, you should try to keep your blood pressure at a reading of 120/80 mm Hg or below, although the number increases slightly with age, especially after menopause.
With lifestyle changes, you may be able to maintain healthy blood pressure without the use of medication. Talk to your doctor about monitoring your blood pressure regularly to lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.