What Are Normal Blood Pressure Levels?

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What Are Normal Blood Pressure Levels?

Don’t let a simple test stand between you and your livelihood.


This is the second in a series of four “We Mean Health ” articles that can help New Yorkers live healthier lives.

High blood pressure (also referred to as hypertension) can have a significant impact on your heart health, your sense of well-being, and your livelihood. What may surprise you is that you can have high blood pressure for years without any symptoms. 


According to the American Medical Association, hypertension affects one out of three Americans, 1 with a higher frequency for New Yorkers.2 Adults with hypertension have health care costs that are nearly $2,000 more per year than adults with normal blood pressure. 3


So how do you find out if you’re at risk? High blood pressure can easily be detected during an annual physical. A cuff is wrapped around your arm and inflated to measure your blood pressure. The test is painless and takes just a few minutes.


“Prevention and early detection are keys to a healthy life,” said Dr. Lama El Zein, medical director for population health and quality at EmblemHealth. “Checkups and routine screenings can uncover health problems early, when they’re easier to treat.” 


Blood pressure is measured as two numbers. Systolic blood pressure (the first number) measures the pressure inside the arteries when your heart beats. Diastolic blood pressure (the second number) measures the pressure inside the arteries when your heart rests between beats. When measuring blood pressure, <120 mmHG over <80 mmHG is considered normal and <120-129 mmHG over <80 mmHG is considered high. If your primary care provider (PCP) detects high blood pressure through a screening , they can help put together a plan to get it under control. 


Keeping your blood pressure in-check can help you live your best life. Prevention also helps keep people productive, active, and able to continue working well into their senior years. A recent study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that health problems forced 35% of retired people into early retirement before they were financially ready. 4


The cherry on top? Regular screenings can lower your overall health care costs by treating minor concerns before they escalate. 


Don’t let a simple test get between you and your livelihood. Find a PCP today and ask about checking your blood pressure. Review your insurance plan to see what’s covered. Or, if you need a health plan, we can help connect you to coverage  that suits your needs.


This article is the second in a series focused on important issues for keeping New Yorkers healthy. Our third article will cover diabetes — its impact on overall health, the importance of screenings, and resources for healthy living.


At EmblemHealth, we go beyond coverage to connect you to nearby care and health and wellness resources that can help keep you healthy. Because we don’t only mean coverage, we mean health. EmblemHealth is one of America’s largest not-for-profit health insurers, serving more than three million people in the New York tristate area. With an over 80-year legacy of serving New York communities, EmblemHealth offers a full range of commercial and government-sponsored health plans to employers, individuals, and families as well as virtual and in-person community resources through EmblemHealth Neighborhood Care.



  1. American Medical Association Hypertension Control
  2. Fei K, Rodriguez-Lopez JS, Ramos M, Islam N, Trinh-Shevrin C, Yi SS, et al. Racial and Ethnic Subgroup Disparities in Hypertension Prevalence, New York City Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2013–2014. Prev Chronic Dis. 2017;14:160478.
  3. Kirkland EB, Heincelman M, Bishu KG, Schumann SO, Schreiner A, et al. Trends in Healthcare Expenditures Among US Adults With Hypertension: National Estimates, 2003-2014. J Am Heart Assoc. 2018 May 30;7(11):e008731. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.118.008731. PMID: 29848493; PMCID: PMC6015342.
  4. Employee Benefit Research Institute. "2019 Retirement Confidence Survey Summary Report," Page 37.


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