Blood Pressure Readings Meaning

Wondering what is the blood pressure reading meaning? The following article will help you know more on blood pressure reading meanings and blood pressure levels
Blood pressure is defined as the non-invasive measurement of the pressure exerted by the blood circulating within the artery walls in the human body system. Blood pressure is commonly measured with the help of a sphygmomanometer. An inflatable cuff is wrapped around the upper arm. The air is pumped into the cuff till the circulation is cut off and one can hear silence with the help of the stethoscope placed over the cuff. Slowly the air, is let off and the blood begins to flow and is heard in the stethoscope. This flow of blood is the point of greatest pressure known as systolic blood pressure and is expressed by the high force that makes the column of mercury rise in the tube. As more and more air is let out of the cuff, a point is reached where the sound of the blood pulsing against the artery walls subsides and silence is heard over the stethoscope. This is the point of lowest pressure and is called diastolic blood pressure. It is very important to understand the blood pressure readings meaning as over the years one may develop life-threatening complications due to high blood pressure. In order to keep your blood pressure in check it is important to know about the blood pressure reading meaning. The blood pressure reading explanation is given in this article.

Blood Pressure Readings Explained

Blood pressure that is measured is written as a fraction, that is, systolic BP/Diastolic BP. The blood pressure is measured in mmHg (millimeters of mercury). The normal blood pressure levels are 120/80 mmHg. The lower diastolic number represents the pressure of a resting heart between beats. The following table will provide the meaning of blood pressure readings.

Rating Systolic Blood Pressure Readings Diastolic Blood Pressure Readings
Optimal < 120 < 80
Normal < 130 < 85
High Normal 130 - 139 85 - 89
Hypertension Stage I 140 - 159 90 - 99
Hypertension Stage 2 160 - 179 100 - 109
Hypertension Stage 3 < 179 >109

Further blood pressure readings explanation supporting the preceding table are as follows; a blood pressure that is less than 140 and over 90 can be considered normal reading in adults. When the systolic pressure is somewhere between 130 to 139 and a diastolic pressure is in between 85 to 89, blood pressure for the particular person needs to be watched and kept in control. When a blood pressure reading is equal to or higher than 140 and over 90 it is said to be high blood pressure. A sustained high blood pressure of 140/90 mm Hg is said to be hypertension. It is said 90% of the population suffers from essential hypertension, that is, no identifiable cause. The other 10% have hypertension due to kidney diseases, diabetes, or any other disorder.

When you visit a doctor for a blood pressure reading check up, do not go on a full bladder. You should empty your bladder about 5 minutes before the check up and then take your blood pressure readings. In case you are angry, excited or frightened, your blood pressure reading can be higher than the expected reading. When you sit for taking the reading, rest for 5 minutes then allow the medical expert to take your blood pressure. Make sure your back is resting on the chair support, your feet are on the floor and the art and the monitor are at chest level. This helps give the closest BP reading.

If you have high blood pressure, you are at risk of developing heart attack or stroke. You may even have a kidney failure or failure of any other organ in the body. Therefore, it is very important to maintain normal blood pressure levels. You should take a healthy diet and eat fruits, vegetables, low salt and sodium diet. You should exercise regularly to keep your weight in check and lower the risk of developing high blood pressure. You should get your blood pressure checked at least twice a year, as many blood pressure related problems do not show symptoms till they turn into a life-threatening disease. I hope you can now understand blood pressure readings meaning and their effects on your health.
By Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
Last Updated: 10/7/2011
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