Blood Pressure is the Pressure of the blood against the walls of the blood vessels. The term usually refers to the pressure of the blood within the arteries , or arterial blood pressure. This pressure is determined by several factors, namely: The pumping action of the heart The resistance to the flow of blood in the arterioles, The elasticity of the walls of the main arteries The quantity of blood within the blood vessels and The blood's viscosity, or thickness The pumping action of the heart refers to how hard the heart pumps the blood (force of the heart beat) and how much blood it pumps and how efficiently it does the job. Contraction of the heart, which forces blood through the arteries, is the phase known as SYSTOLE. Relaxation of the heart between contraction is called Diastole.

Blood pressure is usually written and spoken of as one number over another number, for example - 120/80. The first number representing the systolic pressure and the second number representing the diastolic pressure, both recorded in millimeters of mercury.

Blood pressure varies according to the time of day and the kind of activity a person is engaged in. It is lowest just before awakening in the morning. Strenuous physical activity can increase systolic blood pressure 60 to 80 mm. Excitement , nervous tension or fright raises the systolic blood pressure. Increased weight also increases blood pressure.

At birth, the systolic blood pressure is about 80 mm. of mercury. In young people it varies normally from 100 to 140 mm., in people over 60 years of age, from 140 to about 170.

Blood Pressure fluctuates; consecutive readings usually differ; therefore the best method to find out your typical blood pressure is to average 8 measurements taken over several days.

SYSTOLIC Maximum pressure in blood vessels when the heart beats.

DIASTOLIC Minimum pressure in the blood vessels when the heart relaxes between beats.

SYSTOLIC Normal (below 130) High Normal (130-139) High (140+)

SYSTOLIC Normal (below 85) High Normal (85-89) High (90+)

DIASTOLIC Maximum pressure in blood vessels when the heart beats.

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