We often have questions about what those numbers are that we hear when our blood pressure is tested. There is a lot of misunderstanding as to what the numbers mean, and what is considered normal as compared with high. We want to help you with a basic primer.
Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers, written as a ratio such as 120/80.
The top number (higher number) is called the systolic pressure, which measures the pressure in the arteries with each heartbeat (contraction). The bottom (lower) number is the diastolic pressure, which measures the pressure in the arteries between each heartbeat – when the heart muscles are at rest.
In order to get an accurate perspective on these important measurements, it’s necessary to monitor the readings over time.
A single high reading will not be an accurate measurement of your average blood pressure … home monitoring over time is the best way to get a true picture of your blood pressure measurements.
The textbook numbers for a healthy blood pressure have been 120/80. However, these numbers are not age adjusted, sex adjusted, or condition adjusted. Just like other medical parameters, nothing else is taken into consideration except the numbers.