pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls
of the arteries as the heart pumps blood through the body.
Every time your heart beats it pumps out blood into your arteries.
The pressure is determined by the force and amount of blood
pumped and the size and flexibility of the arteries.
blood pressure is at its highest when the heart beats, pumping
the blood. This is called systolic pressure. When the heart
is at rest, in between beats, your blood pressure falls. This
is the diastolic pressure.
pressure is always given as these two numbers, the systolic
and diastolic pressures. Both are important. Usually they
are written one above or before the other, such as 120/80
top number is the systolic and the bottom the diastolic. When
the two measurements are written down, the systolic pressure
is the first or top number, and the diastolic pressure is
the second or bottom number (for example, 120/80). If your
blood pressure is 120/80, you say that it is "120 over
blood pressure changes during the day. It is lowest when you
are sleeping and rises when you get up. It also can rise when
you are nervous, stressed-out, or active.
most of your waking hours, your blood pressure stays pretty
much the same when you are sitting or standing still. That
level should be lower than 120/80. When the level stays high,
140/90 or higher, you have high blood pressure. With high
blood pressure, the heart works harder, your arteries take
a beating, and your chances of a stroke, heart attack, and
kidney problems are greater.
is Normal Blood Pressure?
A blood pressure reading below 120/80 is considered normal.
In general, lower is better. However, very low blood pressures
can sometimes be a cause for concern and should be checked
out by a physician.
care providers classify blood pressures under 140/90 as either
"normal," or "prehypertension."
"Normal" blood pressures are lower than 120/80.
"Prehypertension" is blood pressure between 120
and 139 for the top number, or between 80 and 89 for the bottom
pressure readings of 138/82, 128/89, or 130/86 are all in
the "prehypertension" range. If your blood pressure
is in the prehypertension range, it is more likely that you
will end up with high blood pressure unless you take action
to prevent it.
is High Blood Pressure?
A blood pressure of 140/90 or higher is considered high blood
pressure. Both numbers are important. If one or both numbers
are usually high, you have high blood pressure. If you are
being treated for high blood pressure, you still have high
blood pressure even if you have repeated readings in the normal
are two levels of high blood pressure: Stage 1 and Stage 2
Stage 2: 160
or higher 100 or higher* For adults 18 and older who:
is true for or adults 18 and older who: are not on medicine
for high blood pressure, are not having a short-term serious
illness and do not have other conditions such as diabetes
and kidney disease.
When systolic and diastolic blood pressures fall into different
categories, the higher category should be used to classify
blood pressure level. For example, 160/80 would be stage 2
high blood pressure.
There is an exception to the above definition of high blood
pressure. A blood pressure of 130/80 or higher is considered
high blood pressure in persons with diabetes and chronic kidney
name for high blood pressure is Hypertension.
When it is caused by another condition, it is called secondary
hypertension. Other names also include: "Essential hypertension".
"Primary hypertension" and "Idiopathic hypertension".
blood pressure is called "the silent killer" because
it usually has no symptoms at all. Some people may not find
out they have it until they have trouble with their heart, kidneys
or other organs. When high blood pressure is not found and treated,
it can cause such as:
The heart getting larger, which may lead to heart failure.
Small bulges (aneurysms) to form in blood vessels. Common
locations are the main artery from the heart (aorta), arteries
in the brain, legs, and intestines, and the artery leading
to the spleen.
Blood vessels in the kidney to narrow, which may cause kidney
Arteries throughout the body to "harden" faster,
especially those in the heart, brain, kidneys, and legs.
This can cause a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, or
even amputation of part of the leg.
Blood vessels in the eyes to bleed, which may cause vision
changes and can result in blindness.
of this material: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood