One of the most basic measurements that a doctor will take from you is your blood pressure reading. Your blood pressure reading is very important, because your blood pressure is considered as one of your vital statistics which will tell the doctor whether you are in stable condition or not. For many people, however, the blood pressure reading is usually a mystery. Here’s how you can understand what the numbers mean in the BP reading.
- The basics. The blood pressure reading is usually summarized in a fraction. The top number is called the systolic number, while the bottom number is called the diastolic number. The blood pressure is measured in relation to your heartbeat. Each time your heart beats it basically pumps in some blood and pumps out some blood. The pressure that the blood exerts on the walls of the arteries in the heart is what the blood pressure measures.
- The systolic number. The systolic number is the figure that is usually written first, on the top of the fraction. This number is used to refer to the amount of pressure that your heart exerts in order to pump blood out into the arteries. If you have a high systolic number, this means that your heart is exerting more pressure in order to get blood out into the body. This could be caused by various factors, such as hardened arterial walls, or the formation of plaque in the openings of the heart, which makes the opening much smaller, and therefore much harder for the heart to pump blood.
- The diastolic number. The bottom number is the diastolic number, which refers to the pressure that is exerted on the arterial walls on the heart when the heart is at rest. When the heart muscles are at rest, this is the time when the blood rushes into the heart. In a normal heart, there is very little pressure on the heart when it is at rest, and blood can easily flow in. As people get older, however, the heart tissues may harden and make it harder for blood to get into the heart, thereby increasing the pressure.
- Using the pressure readings. The normal heart should have a blood pressure of around 120/80. Keep in mind, however, that this average will vary throughout the day. If you are in the gym and doing some weights, for instance, the heart will need to pump more blood into the body. This is normal. If you are under stress or intense pressure, it is also possible for your heart to beat more, which increases your blood pressure levels. If you want to get an accurate reading of your blood pressure, learn how to take your own blood pressure, and then create a log that will give you a pretty accurate idea of your blood pressure throughout the day.
With these in mind, you should be able to understand exactly what the figures in a blood pressure reading means. With your blood pressure reading, you should be able to understand important information about your heart and your health.