The pressure of the blood in the circulatory system, often measured for diagnosis since it is closely related to the force and rate of the heartbeat and the diameter and elasticity of the arterial walls.”heart failure is common in patients with high blood pressure”
Systolic Blood Pressure
When your heart beats, it squeezes and pushes blood through your arteries to the rest of your body. This force creates pressure on those blood vessels, and that’s your systolic blood pressure.
- A normal systolic pressure is below 120.
- A reading of 120-129 is elevated.
- 130-139 is stage 1 high blood pressure (also called hypertension).
- 140 or more is stage 2 hypertension.
- 180 or more is a hypertensive crisis.
Diastolic Blood Pressure
The diastolic reading, or the bottom number, is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. This is the time when the heart fills with blood and gets oxygen.
- A normal diastolic blood pressure is lower than 80.
- 80-89 is stage 1 hypertension.
- 90 or more is stage 2 hypertension.
- 120 or more is a hypertensive crisis.
How Is Blood Pressure Measured?
A doctor or nurse will measure your blood pressure with a small gauge attached to an inflatable cuff. It’s simple and painless.
The person taking your blood pressure wraps the cuff around your upper arm. Some cuffs go around the forearm or wrist, but often they aren’t as accurate.
Your doctor or nurse will use a stethoscope to listen to the blood moving through your artery.
She’ll inflate the cuff to a pressure higher than your systolic blood pressure, and it will tighten around your arm. Then she’ll release it. As the cuff deflates, the first sound she hears through the stethoscope is the systolic blood pressure. It sounds like a whooshing noise. The point where this noise goes away marks the diastolic blood pressure.
In a blood pressure reading, the systolic number always comes first, and then the diastolic number. For example, your numbers may be “120 over 80” or written as 120/80.