- Optimal blood pressure: 115/75
- Prehypertension: 120-140
- Hypertension (high blood pressure): Over 140/90
This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com
Heart and Circulatory System
A Answers (16)
About one in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure. There are lots of factors that help your doctor understand your health, and your blood pressure numbers are a critical part of the picture. Charting your blood pressure shows what happens to it over time. Starting at age 20, the American Heart Association recommends a blood pressure screening at your regular healthcare visit or once every two years, if your blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg.
Your blood pressure rises with each heartbeat and falls when your heart relaxes between beats. While it can change from minute to minute with changes in posture, exercise, stress or sleep, it should normally be less than 120/80 mm Hg (less than 120 systolic AND less than 80 diastolic) for an adult age 20 or over.
If your blood pressure reading is higher than normal, your doctor may take several readings over time and/or have you monitor your blood pressure at home before diagnosing you with high blood pressure.
Blood pressure is typically recorded as two numbers, written as a ratio like this:
Here are the blood pressure categories defined by the American Heart Association:
Two numbers are recorded when measuring blood pressure. The top number, or systolic blood pressure, refers to the pressure inside the artery when the heart contracts and pumps blood through the body. The bottom number, or diastolic pressure, refers to the pressure inside the artery when the heart is at rest and is filling with blood. Both the systolic and diastolic pressures are recorded as "mm Hg" (millimeters of mercury). This recording represents how high the mercury column is raised by the pressure of the blood.
The first number (systolic) measures pressure while the heart beats. The second number (diastolic) measures pressure between heartbeats, as blood flows throughout the body.