Blood Pressure Readings - Diastolic and Systolic Readings Explained
Do you know what blood pressure readings are? The 2 numbers measuring blood pressure appear like a fraction. At least, that’s what it feels like as one number is on top and the other one is at the bottom (e.g. 128/82). It’s that number on the top we call the systolic pressure.
And systolic blood pressure is the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart beats. The number at the base is the diastolic pressure.
Diastolic blood pressure actually measures the level of pressure within your blood vessels in between two heartbeats. Both diastolic pressure and systolic pressure are measured when the patient is resting.
As the blood pressure changes too often throughout the day, it’s better if you make use of multiple readings to figure out your average blood pressure. This is because your blood pressure will tend to fluctuate within a particular range.
There are many things which can cause your blood pressure to change in a matter of few minutes or so. Good examples are posture, exercise, tension and the use of tobacco. But apart from that let’s see what’s considered too high.
If you want to find out the average reading of your blood pressure, you’ll have to take readings twice a day or more often. In general, anything below 120/80 is regarded as normal blood pressure.
Still, enormously low levels of blood pressure could cause a problem as well. Today, most of the healthcare professionals regard average readings of 120/80 to 139/89 as pre-hypertension.
And when the average of the blood pressure readings are more than 140 over the 90 mark, this is a clear sign that you’ve got alarmingly high blood pressure (hypertension).
Just a single reading of 140/90+, however, does not necessarily mean that you’ve got high blood pressure. Then again, the doctor will want you to watch your blood pressure throughout a particular time period to understand whether it’s stable or not.
You’ll also have alarmingly high blood pressure if only one of these numbers is too high. You may want to make a table with your blood pressure readings so that the doctor can diagnose your condition more easily.
Let’s take a recap of what you’ve learnt so far. There are two kinds of pressures measured to read blood pressure levels.
Systolic blood pressure is the total amount of pressure or force that your blood exerts on your blood vessels’ walls as it passes through them. In other words, systolic blood pressure measures the level of blood pressure as your heart beats.
On the other hand, diastolic pressure is a measure of your blood pressure when your heart remains relaxed. Systolic blood pressure is measured by a special device called sphygmomanometer.
A fabric cuff is wrapped around your arm and then inflated slightly. The blood pressure is measured on a gauge attached to the cuff.
The healthcare provider reads the numbers that appear on the gauge as air is released from the cuff. Blood pressure can also be measured with an electronic blood pressure device.
The significance of Systolic Blood Pressure is great. When blood gets pumped out of your heart into the blood vessels, sufficient systolic blood pressure is produced to send the blood to virtually all parts of the body.
Since in arteries the blood travels away from your heart, they slowly get tinier. The blood vessel system is comparable to the branches of a tree. A branch might go into the brain whilst another may actually go into the kidneys.
That way, the systolic blood pressure will keep your blood easily flowing all the way through these branches to make sure that the cells in the body manage to get the oxygen and nutrients needed.
Unnaturally low systolic pressure is known as hypotension. People also call it simply low blood pressure. Problems arise when the blood fails to bring oxygen as well as nutrients into the cells of the body.
In general, you should not focus much on where the readings come from, but on what they mean. If the device you are using at home shows readings of or higher than 120/80, you should make an appointment to see your doctor.
If your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher then you should seek medical help immediately.
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