High Blood Pressure Readings and Hypertension Explained
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High Blood Pressure Readings and Hypertension Explained

What blood pressure readings mean regarding high blood pressure and hypertension and things to look out for while taking blood pressure readings.

When a doctor takes a blood pressure reading he or she will record two numbers and place one number above the other in a ratio. The two numbers are called:


Systolic is the top number and must always be higher than the lower number because it measures the blood pressure in the arteries as the heart pumps the blood as the heart muscle contracts.


Diastolic is the lower number in the ratio and must always be lower than the Systolic reading because the Diastolic number measures the blood pressure in the arteries when the heart muscle is resting between heartbeats and is filling up with more blood to pump.

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Measuring Blood Pressure Readings

Blood pressure readings are given with the Systolic number first above the Diastolic number which is given second.

120/80 or anything below for both numbers is considered normal.

120 - 139/80 - 89 is considered Prehypertension or pre High Blood Pressure

140 - 159/90 - 99 is Hypertension or High Blood Pressure Stage 1

160 - 179/100 - 109 is Hypertention or High Blood Pressure Stage 2

180 or above for the Systolic reading and/or 110 or above for the Diastolic reading is a Hypertensive Crisis and needs immediate medical care.

Things to Watch Out for with Blood Pressure Readings

Some patients get nervous when someone takes their blood pressure and this can artificially raise the blood pressure.

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This is known as white-coat hypertension. To counteract this effect doctors will ask patients who have high blood pressure readings in their office to take their own blood pressures at home. In many cases the blood pressure readings will be normal when a patient is relaxed and taking their own readings at home. If the blood pressure readings remain high even at home a doctor will then diagnose a patient with high blood presssure.

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During stressful times a patient might have a temporarily elevated blood pressure reading which will revert back to normal when the stress eases. For example: if a patient's refrigerator stops working a few hours prior to having their blood pressure taken the reading might be elevated due to that temporary stress.

Anytime a Systolic reading above 180 or a Diastolic reading above 110 is recorded the blood pressure should be taken again and if the blood pressure reading is still above those numbers immediate medical care should be sought.

Over time as people age their blood pressure readings will tend to rise due to long-term buildup of plaque and increasing age of arteries.

33% of all adults in the United States have High Blood Pressure.

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Lifestyle changes especially eating habits and exercise are the best ways to lower elevated blood pressure readings.

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If in doubt about high blood pressure readings always seek a certified health care professional for advice.

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypertension

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Comments (2)

good information. My daughter has started using omega 3 supplements to help bring down her blood pressure and they worked!

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