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# What Do the Numbers in A Blood Pressure Reading Mean?

The heart pumps blood, which is carried by the blood vessels called arteries, to every part of the human body Blood pressure is basically the pressure or force at which the blood is pushed against the arterial walls

The heart pumps blood, which is carried by the blood vessels called arteries, to every part of the human body. Blood pressure is basically the pressure or force at which the blood is pushed against the arterial walls. With every heartbeat, blood is pumped out and a pressure is generated.

How do we measure blood pressure? Well it is done with a very common instrument, called sphygmomanometer; all of us have seen the doctor wrapping a cuff (inflatable) around our upper arm. A balloon like pump is used to pump in air into this cuff until the circulation is temporarily stopped. Then a stethoscope is used over the cuff, silence prevails. Then the air is allowed to flow out and the blood flows again, which is heard with the help of the stethoscope.

Blood pressure is measured in numbers, the normal being 120/80. Do you know what it means? Well, it means systolic/diastolic. Systolic is the higher and diastolic is the lower number.

The pressure due to the contraction of the heart is the Systolic pressure and the remaining pressure is the one present in the arteries between the heartbeats, while at rest, it is the Diastolic pressure, it is measured in mercury millimeters abbreviated as mm Hg.

The first mentioned is the systolic pressure and the other one is the diastolic pressure. If a person is said to have a blood pressure level of 140/90, it means his systolic is 140 and diastolic is 90. 130-139 of systolic pressure and 85 to 89 of diastolic pressure needs to be carefully watched. Anything above this is an alarm and predicts a higher level of blood pressure. Both these numbers are important and a healthy level should be maintained.

As stated above, 120 (systolic) / 80 (diastolic) is considered to be a healthy pressure level. The level of blood pressure changes all through the day, you can understand the change as it affects your health.

Blood pressure levels above 140/90 are actually a state of hypertension. A person, whose blood pressure levels are elevated, needs to be extra cautious. Such elevating numbers are caused due to constricted arteries. Almost 90% people suffering from elevated levels of blood pressure are bound to have hypertension, which means the cause behind the rise in the blood pressure cannot be identified. The remaining 10% of the cases of high blood pressure can be an outcome of having another lifestyle disease like diabetes or other disorders like kidney problem or some other disorders.

Knowing the exact figures are very crucial, you should be aware of your blood pressure levels at all times. Persistent hypertension can lead to severe complications, which can be a threat to your life. The blood vessels lack flexibility because of the pressure against the inner wall, thus making the vessels vulnerable to form fat deposits.

Hypertension actually compels the heart to perform harder and pump ample blood within the body, this extra effort causes an enlarged muscle that leads to enlargement of heat. This eventually results in insufficient blood supply, because the heart fails to pump enough blood.

A low blood pressure is also not healthy; it can make your body weak and feeble.

Try to maintain the correct level of blood pressure, if the levels are elevating; take necessary steps to reduce it. Incase of hypertension; avoid salt, check your diet and exercise to keep yourself fit. Maintaining your ideal body weight and not allowing fat deposits should be your motto for a healthy living.

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Author: Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback Charles Salmon Food/cooking/nutrition community 1USA Sep 22, 2008 673 Are All Drugs Addictive? Safe Diets Can Be Nutritious and Healthy