blood pressure

Blood pressure is the force of the blood against the walls of the arteries. It is measured by a ratio of two numbers:

  • Systolic – registered during a heartbeat (when the heart muscle contracts)
  • Diastolic – registered between heartbeats (when the heart rests and refills with blood)

Blood pressure is measured in a numerical reading of millimeters of mercury, abbreviated as mm Hg. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. In general, the lower your blood pressure is, the better.
  • 120–129 and less than 80 is considered elevated
  • 130-139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic is stage 1 hypertension, or high blood pressure
  • 140/90 or higher is stage 2 high blood pressure. This puts a person at a greater risk for heart attack, angina, stroke, kidney failure and peripheral artery disease.

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