It will do you good to know what is blood pressure and have some basic knowledge about it.

Reason? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • About 70 million American adults (29%) have high blood pressure—that’s 1 in every 3 adults
  • About 1 in 3 American adults has prehypertension—blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal—but not yet in the high blood pressure range.
  • Only about half (52%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control.
  • High blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for more than 360,000 Americans in 2013—that’s nearly 1,000 deaths each day.

High blood pressure is known as the silent killer. Most of the times, it lies undetected while it continues doing serious damage inside your body. It is only when its serious and debilitating complications set in, that your diagnosis is pronounced.

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by the blood on the walls of the arteries during its flow through the arteries. Normal blood pressure range depend on whether the heart is contracting or expanding.

When the heart is contracting (systole), the blood is being pumped out of the heart and, therefore, the pressure will naturally be higher than when it is expanding and the blood is passively entering the heart (diastole).

Systolic blood pressure

The blood pressure which is higher at the time of contraction of the heart is called the systolic blood pressure. This is the pressure exerted on the walls of the arteries.

Diastolic blood pressure

The blood pressure  which is lower at the time of the relaxation of the heart is called the diastolic blood pressure. This indicates the pressure against which the heart has to pump blood.

What are the normal blood pressure readings?

The normal blood pressure range of the systolic pressure is 100 to 140 mm of hg and the blood pressure range of the diastolic pressure is 60 to 90 mm of hg  (hg stands for mercury which is used in the standard blood pressure instrument).

Blood pressure ranges therefore from the higher side of the normal to lower side of the normal. Blood pressure within this range is considered a good blood pressure or a healthy blood pressure. It is important to have and maintain your average blood pressure within these normal levels.

 How is blood pressure measured?

Blood pressure is measured by placing the stethoscope on the inner and front side of the elbow, where the brachial artery is situated,  and with the help of the blood pressure machine called the sphygmomanometer. Digital blood pressure monitors are also available.

Many a time, due to various reasons the systolic or the diastolic pressure may increase or decrease and cause  certain  complications which may be serious and even lethal. It is, therefore, necessary to have your blood pressure checked regularly especially after the age of 35 years or earlier.

Systolic Pressure above 140mm hg   or diastolic above 90 mm hg indicates a rise in  the  pressure and is called hypertension. Fall in blood pressure below the normal level is called   hypotension. Both these conditions when diagnosed, have to be treated consciously.

Why maintain regular blood pressure?

High blood pressure if undiagnosed may increase to a point where it can cause serious complications like chronic heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, leading to paralysis, among other things. High blood pressure can also be found in people of younger age groups.

High pressure can be due to some pathological reason like kidney disease or a tumor or it may occur without any cause or reason. High B.P. which  occurs  without any reason is called essential hypertension.

Low blood pressure or hypotension occurs due to some other illness and can be an indication of some life threatening illness.

Blood pressure chart

Many blood pressure charts are available which give a picture of the normal, high and low Blood Pressure Ranges. The following chart gives a comprehensive idea of  various the blood pressure readings.

Upper limit (systolic) in mm Hg  Lower limit (diastolic) in mm Hg Status
Below 120 Below 80 Normal blood pressure .
Between 120-139 Between 80-89 Prehypertension .
Between 140-159 Between 90-99 Stage 1 hypertension
160 or higher 100 or higher Stage 2 hypertension .


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