Understanding Blood Pressure Readings

Doctors are always checking our blood pressure and rattling off numbers, but just what do those numbers mean?

Blood pressure is typically recorded as two numbers, written as a ratio like this:

HBP Reading With Systolic And Diastolic Graphic Reading

Read as “117 over 76 millimeters of mercury”

Systolic

The top 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

The bottom 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).

 

Click here to learn more from the American Heart Association

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