What does the blood pressure measurements mean?

Blood pressure, or simply referred to as BP, is nothing but the level of pressure that is exerted by the blood while traveling across the artery walls in the body. Six out of every ten people are said to have been affected by this problem in life. A higher blood pressure, which does not indicate any symptoms in the early stages, if left uncontrolled, might lead to hyper tension and also to cardiac related diseases.

Before dwelling more about the disease and its repercussions, let us try to understand what the measurements or reading of the BP actually mean.

If you are suffering from fever and visit a doctor, he will place a thermometer in your mouth and find out the reading – a single number such as 100 Deg. – of your temperature level. But if you visit a doctor to check the BP level, he will give two numbers – something like 120/80 or 140/90.

What these two numbers mean and what does it convey to you as well as to the doctor?

The blood does not flow through the body in a steady manner. It often flows in spurts – sudden boost for a while and then resting or pausing for a while. Hence the reading of blood pressure is measured in two numbers. The higher number is first recorded and the second number will be relatively lesser than the first number – for e.g., 130/90.

The higher number or the first number implies the systolic pressure; and the second one implies the diastolic pressure.

Systolic pressure refers to the peak force that is exerted on the blood for pumping a small amount of blood to the circulation. While pumping the blood, the heart contracts and exerts the force. The second number in the reading, or the diastolic pressure, measures the pressure exerted on the blood when the heart is pausing or taking rest between the beats.

What is the unit of measurement we use in recording the readings of both the systolic and diastolic pressures?

The unit of measurement for blood pressure is millimeters of mercury. In other words, the reading indicates how high the pressure of the blood can move a column of mercury in an evacuated tube.

The doctor uses the stethoscope and also sphygmomanometer to take the reading of the blood pressure. Before taking the reading, he temporarily stops the flow of flood by tightening the cuff in the hand, and applies some pressure. When the pressure is released, he listens to the sounds that provide an indication of the systolic and diastolic pressures.

The two numbers indicate the amount of pressure of the blood both in movement as well as in rest, thus providing an indication to the doctor and even to you by looking at the numbers.

The ideal number for blood pressure reading is 120 for systolic pressure and 80 for diastolic pressure. This reading indicates that the pressure levels are normal enough and functioning in proper condition.

If the reading exceeds this ideal numbers, then you should take additional care to keep it around this ideal number. A higher reading would imply that you can contract hyper-tension and undiagnosed hyper-tension or higher levels of hyper-tension might lead to serious heart diseases and even prove fatal.

Hope this article helped you just understand what the BP readings imply or tell you about the condition of your heart that pumps the blood to the arteries.

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