Blood Pressure Information

Blood Pressure PhotoEverybody has and needs blood pressure. Without it blood can't circulate through the body. Without circulating blood, vital organs cannot get the oxygen and food they need to work. It's important to know about blood pressure and how to keep it at a healthy level. Normal blood pressure falls within a range; it's not one set of numbers.

When the heart beats, it pumps blood through the arteries and creates pressure in them. This pressure (blood pressure) results from two forces. The first force is created as blood pumps into the arteries through the circulatory system. The second is created as the arteries resist the blood flow.

If you are healthy, your arteries are muscular and elastic. They stretch when your heart pumps blood through them. How much they stretch depends on how much force the blood exerts.

Your heart beats about 60 to 80 times a minute under normal conditions. Your blood pressure rises with each heartbeat and falls when your heart relaxes between beats. Your blood pressure can change from minute to minute, with changes in posture, exercise or sleeping, but is should normally be less than 140/90 mmHg for an adult. Blood pressure that stays above this level is considered high. Your doctor may take several readings over a period before making a judgment about whether your blood pressure is considered to be in a high level range.

Blood Pressure Numbers

  • The higher (systolic) number represents the pressure while the heart is beating.
  • The lower (diastolic) number represents the pressure while the heart is resting between beats.
  • The systolic pressure is always stated first and the diastolic pressure second. For example: 122/76 (122 over 76); systolic = 122, diastolic = 76.