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Blood Pressure What Do The Numbers Mean

Stroke And Brain Problems

Blood Pressure Numbers: What Do They Mean?

High blood pressure can cause the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain to burst or be blocked, causing a stroke. Brain cells die during a stroke because they do not get enough oxygen. Stroke can cause serious disabilities in speech, movement, and other basic activities. A stroke can also kill you.

Having high blood pressure, especially in midlife, is linked to having poorer cognitive function and dementia later in life. Learn more about the link between high blood pressure and dementia from the National Institutes of Healths Mind Your Risks®external icon campaign.

Why Is It Important To Manage Your Blood Pressure

Chronic high blood pressure significantly increases your risk of other diseases like kidney disease, heart failure and stroke. And when it comes to heart disease, managing your blood pressure is the most important risk factor that you can control. Hypertension is more common that smoking, diabetes or high cholesterol.

Whether your blood pressure falls within normal ranges, is slightly elevated or if you have high blood pressure, some lifestyle changes can help you improve your numbers. The main tenets of managing your blood pressure and heart health include:

  • Diet. Eat three meals per day with an emphasis on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats. The fewer processed and sodium-filled foods you eat, the better. Drink plenty of water and limit your intake of sugary or caffeinated beverages.
  • Exercise. Strive for 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week. For most people, this looks like five 30-minute sessions of aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, dancing, high-intensity weight training or cycling.
  • Stress. Reduce stress with healthy coping techniques such as meditation, talk therapy or exercise. Additionally, aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night for optimal stress management.

Optimize your heart health and know your blood pressure numbers by getting a check-up with a healthcare provider. Find a provider near you today.

How Is It Measured

A device called a sphygmomanometer is used. An inflatable cuff is wrapped around your upper arm. When inflated the cuff stops the blood flow in the main blood vessel in your arm. The nurse then watches a gauge in the sphygmomanometer and listens through a stethoscope as the air in the cuff is released. When the first sound of the heartbeat is heard, the systolic pressure is recorded. When the sound disappears, the diastolic pressure is recorded. Sometimes a computerised blood pressure machine is used to take the readings automatically.

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What Do The Numbers In A Blood Pressure Test Mean And What Does This Test Tell The Doctor

Well Carmen, blood pressure is really just that- the pressure at which blood moves around the body in your arteries. The easiest and least invasive way to test what that pressure is at any given moment is to momentarily stop the flow of blood and then slowly allow it to begin again. The pressure at which it begins to flow is the highest pressure the blood exerts on your artery walls.

Medical professionals do this by using a blood pressure meter known as a Sphygmomanometer They encircle a limb, usually an arm, with a balloon-like device known as a blood pressure cuff. While pumping the cuff up, they use a stethoscope to listen for your heart beat past where the cuff is cutting off blood flow. When they no longer hear your heart beating, they slowly release the pressure while watching the pressure gauge.

When they start to hear your heart beat again, this is the top number of your blood pressure, known as your systolic pressure. They continue to release the pressure until they once again, no longer hear the heart beating, this is the bottom number of your blood pressure, known as your diastolic pressure. Together these numbers tell them two things: the pressure that is inside your arteries between heartbeats and the pressure inside your arteries when your heart squeezes .

Bonus Blood Pressure Facts:

References: None specifically on this one, but dont fret on the accuracy. I am a trained professional , so know a thing or two about this sort of thing.

The Basics Of Blood Pressure

Magnesium: A Natural Treatment for High Blood Pressure

A blood pressure reading is made up of two numbers expressed as a fraction. The top number, or systolic pressure, measures how much pressure is in the arteries when the heart contracts. The bottom number, or diastolic pressure, measures the blood pressure between beats.

When your heart pumps, all that blood rushes and fills your arteries, Baker said. Its just like plumbing: if youre pumping more water into the system, the pressure inside the plumbing goes up. Thats your systolic reading. When the heart relaxes and fills, the reading falls and you get the lower number, or your diastolic reading.

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What Are The Treatments For High Blood Pressure

Treatments for high blood pressure include heart-healthy lifestyle changes and medicines.

You will work with your provider to come up with a treatment plan. It may include only the lifestyle changes. These changes, such as heart-healthy eating and exercise, can be very effective. But sometimes the changes do not control or lower your high blood pressure. Then you may need to take medicine. There are different types of blood pressure medicines. Some people need to take more than one type.

If your high blood pressure is caused by another medical condition or medicine, treating that condition or stopping the medicine may lower your blood pressure.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Getting The Most From Your Blood Test Results

There are quite a few more tests available, but the ones included here are among the most common.

To get accurate readings, be sure to follow your doctors instructions in preparing for tests. You may, for example, be asked not to eat and to drink only water for anywhere from a few hours to 12 hours beforehand.

Please follow these instructions, or your results may be skewed, requiring additional tests or even unnecessary medications.

If you dont understand something in your results, remember its okay to ask questions. Doctors are busy people, but you are entitled to the information. If your doctor cant provide it, ask the nurse or physicians assistant for help.

Knowing where you stand with these important parameters is essential for being proactive and owning your own health.We hope you find this guide handy and helpful the next time your doctor orders a blood panel.

Take good care.

Disclaimer: Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Feb 23, 2021Originally Published: August 20, 2012

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What Is Mean Arterial Pressure

Automatic blood pressure monitors give you a systolic and diastolic blood pressure reading. Many of them also include a small number in parentheses underneath or beside your standard blood pressure reading. This number in parentheses is the mean arterial pressure .

MAP is a calculation that doctors use to check whether theres enough blood flow, resistance, and pressure to supply blood to all your major organs.

Resistance refers to the way the width of a blood vessel impacts blood flow. For example, its harder for blood to flow through a narrow artery. As resistance in your arteries increases, blood pressure also increases while the flow of blood decreases.

You can also think of MAP as the average pressure in your arteries throughout one cardiac cycle, which includes the series of events that happen every time your heart beats.

Keep reading to learn more about the normal, high, and low ranges of MAP and what they mean.

Apps To Track Blood Pressure

What do the numbers mean on Blood Pressure? | Gina Eubank

Although there are apps that promise to check your blood pressure without using equipment, this isnt an accurate or reliable method.

However, there are apps available that can help you track your blood pressure results. This can be helpful in identifying patterns in your blood pressure. Your doctor may use this information to determine if you require blood pressure medications.

Some examples of free blood pressure-monitoring apps include:

  • Blood Pressure Monitor Family Litefor iPhone. You can enter your blood pressure, weight, and height, as well as track the medications you take.
  • Blood Pressure for Android. This app tracks your blood pressure and features several statistical and graphical analysis tools.
  • Blood Pressure Companion for iPhone. This app allows you to track your blood pressure as well as view graphs and trends on your blood pressure readings across several days or weeks.

These apps can help you quickly and easily track your blood pressure readings. Measuring your blood pressure regularly on the same arm can help you most accurately track your blood pressure readings.

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What Can I Do To Prevent Or Manage High Blood Pressure

Many people with high blood pressure can lower their blood pressure into a healthy range or keep their numbers in a healthy range by making lifestyle changes. Talk with your health care team about

  • Getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week
  • Not smoking
  • Managing stress

Learn more about ways to manage and prevent high blood pressure.

In addition to making positive lifestyle changes, some people with high blood pressure need to take medicine to manage their blood pressure. Learn more about medicines for high blood pressure.

Talk with your health care team right away if you think you have high blood pressure or if youve been told you have high blood pressure but do not have it under control.

Which Blood Pressure Number Is Important

Q.When I am monitoring my blood pressure, which number is most important top, bottom, or both?

A. While both numbers in a blood pressure reading are essential for diagnosing and treating high blood pressure, doctors primarily focus on the top number, also known as systolic pressure.

Systolic pressure reflects the force produced by the heart when it pumps blood out to the body, while diastolic blood pressure is the pressure in your blood vessels when the heart is at rest.

Over the years, research has found that both numbers are equally important in monitoring heart health. However, most studies show a greater risk of stroke and heart disease related to higher systolic pressures compared with elevated diastolic pressures. That’s especially true in people ages 50 and older, which is why doctors tend to monitor the top number more closely. The reason for the difference in risk may be related to the force put on the arteries when blood rushes out of the heart.

The American Heart Association now defines high blood pressure as 130/80 mm Hg or higher. The new guidelines recommend you check your blood pressure often, ideally with a home monitor, to help your doctor determine if you need to make lifestyle changes, begin medication, or alter your current therapy.

by Howard LeWine, M.D.

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What Numbers Mean High Blood Pressure What Numbers Mean Normal Blood Pressure

Normal blood pressure is at or under 120 over 80.

In November 2017, blood pressure guidelines were modified. Any blood pressure measurement at or above 130 over 80 is now considered high. And thats what we in the medical community call hypertension. These numbers are down from the old recommendation of 140 over 90.

In the past, many people in the United States were considered prehypertension. The new recommendations get rid of that category, and now almost half of U.S. adults fall into the category of hypertension. That could seem shocking. But patients who are in this category should already be discussing their blood pressure numbers with their primary care doctor. If they arent, now is a good time to connect with their medical provider and come up with a plan for treatment.

When To Check Blood Pressure

What do blood pressure readings mean?
  • If your blood pressure is normal , get it checked every year, or more often as your doctor suggests.
  • If your blood pressure is elevated — a systolic blood pressure between 120 and 129 or diastolic blood pressure of less than 80 — your doctor will probably want to check it every 3-6 months. They will probably recommend lifestyle changes like more exercise and a better diet.
  • If you have stage 1 hypertension — 130-139 over 89-90 — the doctor might suggest lifestyle changes and see you again in 3-6 months. Or they could tell you to make the changes and give you medication, then recheck your condition in a month. It depends on what other health conditions or risk factors you have.
  • If you have stage 2 hypertension — 140/90 or higher — youâll likely get medication. You’ll also need to make lifestyle changes and see the doctor again in a month.

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Normal Blood Pressure Range

A normal blood pressure reading indicates that the heart and blood vessels are not working too hard pushing blood and that the blood is not exerting too much pressure on the walls of the vessels, says Aseem Desai, M.D., a cardiologist at Providence Mission Hospital in Southern California. Recent data from the American Heart Association suggests the optimal normal reading for adults over 20 is lower than 120/80 mmHgVirani S, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics 2021 update . American Heart Association Journal. 2021 143:e254-e743. .

Dr. Desai notes blood pressure can vary depending on a persons age, gender, race and ethnicity, but it should still fall within the general normal range. While numbers lower than 120/80 are generally considered normal, Dr. Desai adds, The target blood pressure for treatment varies depending on age and associated co-morbidities .

Previously, guidance for normal blood pressure for adults varied by gender and specific age, but new data states normal blood pressure for adults as a collective is less than 120/80 mmHgHigh Blood Pressure Symptoms and Causes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 7/16/2021. .

When it comes to race and ethnicity, Dr. Desai says certain groups have a higher rate of hypertension. Non-Hispanic Black people have a significantly higher rate of hypertension compared to non-Hispanic white people, and Hispanics and non-Hispanic Asians have lower rates than the first two, he says.

Lack Of Physical Activity

A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to several health issues, including high blood pressure.

According to the AHA, physical activity can help a person lower their blood pressure. It can also improve their heart health and reduce their weight.

The AHA recommend 150 minutes a week of moderate-to-intense physical activity, such as walking briskly, running, or bicycling.

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What Do Those Numbers Mean A Look At Blood Pressure

It happens at almost every visit to the doctors office. A nurse will wrap a blood pressure cuff around your arm, pump it up and then tell you that your blood pressure is something over something. Many of us have no idea what these numbers mean and are unsure what questions to even ask about the readings. Blood pressure reading should not be a mystery. Here are a few basics from the American Heart Association that are helpful in gaining an understanding of this important measure of your health.

What are those two numbers?Blood pressure is a way to measure the force of the blood moving through your blood vessels. The measurement is given in mm Hg, which refers to the pressure needed to move mercury up that tube on the blood pressure scale a distance of one millimeter. Mercury has long been used to measure pressure and temperature. Metals in general are good conductors of heat and expand or contract depending on the pressure of their environment. Mercury is the only metal that is liquid at room temperature so it is a good tool for measurement.

When is there cause for concern?Normal blood pressure readings are numbers lower than 120/80. If your systolic pressure is 120 to 129, and your diastolic pressure is less than 80, you have elevated blood pressure . If you have several elevated readings, it is important to take steps to control the condition to avoid developing high blood pressure.

What Is The Range For Normal And High Blood Pressure

What do the numbers of my blood pressure reading mean, and how can I control heart disease?

If your reading is 119/79, youre within normal range. But if you get a reading of 140/90 or above, your blood pressure is on the high side. You want your systolic pressure to fall between 120 and 139, and your diastolic pressure to fall between 80 and 89. However, if you have diabetes or chronic kidney disease, you should try to keep your numbers below 130/80.

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What’s The Difference Between Blood Pressure And Pulse

While your blood pressure is the force of your blood moving through your blood vessels, your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute.

  • They are two separate measurements and indicators of health.
  • For people with high blood pressure , theres no substitute for measuring blood pressure.

Blood Pressure Understanding The Numbers

New guidelines released this past fall by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have changed the way you should be looking at your blood pressure numbers. High blood pressure is now defined as 130/80 and higher, which differs from the older definition of high blood pressure as 140/90 or higher.

But what exactly is blood pressure, and what do these numbers mean?

Blood pressure is the pressure your blood puts on the walls of blood vessels as it circulates through your body. High blood pressure is when the force of the circulating blood is consistently too high, putting individuals at risk for health issues such as strokes, heart attacks, and heart failure among other conditions.

When an individual has his or her blood pressure taken, two numbers are given a top number and a bottom number . The top number represents the systolic number, which indicates how much pressure the blood is exerting against the artery walls as the heart beats. The bottom number represents diastolic pressure, or how much pressure the blood is exerting on the artery walls in between the heart beats when the heart is at rest.

According to the American Heart Association, ideal blood pressure is less than 120/80.

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