blood pressure readings what do they mean
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- SeeHypertension for more information about high blood pressure.
Blood pressure (BP) is the pressure exerted by circulating blood upon the walls of blood vessels, and is one of the principal vital signs. During each heartbeat, BP varies between a maximum (systolic) and a minimum (diastolic) pressure. The mean BP, due to pumping by the heart and resistance to flow in blood vessels, decreases as the circulating blood moves away from the heart through arteries. Blood pressure drops most rapidly along the small arteries and arterioles, and continues to decrease as the blood moves through the capillaries and back to the heart through veins. Gravity, valves in veins, and pumping from contraction of skeletal muscles, are some other influences on BP at various places in the body.
The term blood pressure usually refers to the pressure measured at a person's upper arm. It is measured on the inside of an elbow at the brachial artery, which is the upper arm's major blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart. A person's BP is usually expressed in terms of the systolic pressure over diastolic pressure (mmHg), for example 120/80.
The following US classification of blood pressure applies to adults aged 18 and older. It is based on the average of seated BP readings that were properly measured during 2 or more office visits. In the UK, hypertension is considered when a patient's reading is above 140/90 mmHg. According to the American Heart Association the following are the blood pressure categories:
While average values for arterial pressure could be computed for any given population, there is often a large variation from person to person; arterial pressure also varies in individuals from moment to moment. Additionally, the average of any given population may have a questionable correlation with its general health, thus the relevance of such average values is equally questionable. However, in a study of 100 subjects with no known history of hypertension, an average blood pressure of 112/64 mmHg was found, which are the normal values.
Various factors influence a person's average BP and variations. Factors such as age and gender influence average values. In children, the normal ranges are lower than for adults and depend on height. As adults age, systolic pressure tends to rise and diastolic tends to fall. In the elderly, BP tends to be above the normal adult range, largely because of reduced flexibility of the arteries. Also, an individual's BP varies with exercise, emotional reactions, sleep, digestion and time of day.
Differences between left and right arm BP measurements tend to be random and average to nearly zero if enough measurements are taken. However, in a small percentage of cases there is a consistently present difference greater than 10 mmHg which may need further investigation, e.g. for obstructive arterial disease.
The risk of cardiovascular disease increases progressively above 115/75 mmHg. In the past, hypertension was only diagnosed if secondary signs of high arterial pressure were present, along with a prolonged high systolic pressure reading over several visits. Regarding hypotension, in practice blood pressure is considered too low only if noticeable symptoms are present.
Clinical trials demonstrate that people who maintain arterial pressures at the low end of these pressure ranges have much better long term cardiovascular health. The principal medical debate concerns the aggressiveness and relative value of methods used to lower pressures into this range for those who do not maintain such pressure on their own. Elevations, more commonly seen in older people, though often considered normal, are associated with increased morbidity and mortality.
Average blood pressure in (mmHg):
There are many physical factors that influence arterial pressure. Each of these may in turn be influenced by physiological factors, such as diet, exercise, disease, drugs or alcohol, stress, obesity, and so-forth.
Some physical factors are:
- Rate of pumping. In the circulatory system, this rate is called heart rate, the rate at which blood (the fluid) is pumped by the heart. The volume of blood flow from the heart is called the cardiac output which is the heart rate (the rate of contraction) multiplied by the stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped out from the heart with each contraction). The higher the heart rate, the higher the arterial pressure, assuming no reduction in stroke volume.
- Volume of fluid or blood volume, the amount of blood that is present in the body. The more blood present in the body, the higher the rate of blood return to the heart and the resulting cardiac output. There is some relationship between dietary salt intake and increased blood volume, potentially resulting in higher arterial pressure, though this varies with the individual and is highly dependent on autonomic nervous system response and the renin-angiotensin system.
- Resistance. In the circulatory system, this is the resistance of the blood vessels. The higher the resistance, the higher the arterial pressure upstream from the resistance to blood flow. Resistance is related to vessel radius (the larger the radius, the lower the resistance), vessel length (the longer the vessel, the higher the resistance), as well as the smoothness of the blood vessel walls. Smoothness is reduced by the build up of fatty deposits on the arterial walls. Substances called vasoconstrictors can reduce the size
From Yahoo Answers
Answers:Your BP changes several times throughout the day, but those numbers aren't great if they're constant. Try to remember what you did during those days right before you took your blood pressure. Have you been under a lot of stress lately or exercising before taking your BP and pulse? The best time to take vital signs is right when you wake up. Try to do that for about a week and write the numbers down in a journal. Also, it may be helpful to write down daily activities, food consumed, and other habits (smoking, etc.) and then make an appointment with your doctor if you don't feel right about it. I hope that helped.
Answers:Wiki: Blood Pressure http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_pressure
Answers:It depends...What is the systolic reading? Do you have negative symptoms like dizzyness? Joggers, athletes...people who do arobic exercise may indeed have lower BPs compared to standard and this is good. The "mean" blood pressure" is the systolic and diastolic added together and divided by two. BP of 120/80 has a MBP of 100. The average acceptable MBP is 100, however the healthy normal for some may well be lower. The best way to answer your question has much to do with your own medical history and the incclusion of possible negative symptoms.
Answers:I don't think that you should be concerned....I really wouldn't be very worried as long as your not in the 100's!! If you wanted to lower it you could always exercise and watch what you eat, low sodium foods. Good luck, but that really isn't very high I wouldn't be too worried, again just small life style changes could fix it. (mine is much worse...like 100-120's on the bottom, but mine is b/c of my kidneys lol, so lifestyle change would do less for that)