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What is meant by systole and diastole?

Blood pressure is typically recorded as two numbers, written as a ratio, for example, 117/76. You would read this as “117 over 76 millimeters of mercury.”
  • Systolic blood pressure: The first number, which is also the higher of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (when the heart muscle contracts).
  • Diastolic blood pressure: The second number, which is also the lower of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (when the heart muscle is resting between beats and refilling with blood).
This content originally appeared on StoneCrest Family Physicians Blog.
Richard L. Weiss, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Systole is the contraction of the heart and the time when the heart muscle is pumping blood. Diastole is the time when the heart muscle is relaxing and filling up again with blood.
Blood pressure is divided into systole (the top number) and diastole (the bottom number). Systole is the pressure in your blood vessels when the heart is pumping and diastole is the pressure in your blood vessels when the heart is at rest.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.