Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Numbers in a blood pressure reading

Blood pressure is "a measurement of the force applied against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood through the body. The pressure is determined by the force and amount of blood pumped and the size and flexibility of the arteries." A reading consists of two numbers, for example: 112/77, which is read as "112 over 77."
The first number,
systolic blood pressure, measures the maximum pressure exerted as the heart contracts, while the lower number indicates diastolic pressure, a measurement taken between beats, when the heart is at rest.

According to high blood pressure guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA), numbers under 140/90 and over 90/60 are generally considered normal in adults.
For greater accuracy, measure blood pressure while in a seated position with your arm at the same level as your heart, after you have been at rest for five minutes or more. Baselines vary considerably from one individual to the next.

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