Blood pressure is a measurement of the pressure of blood within the arteries. A reading records two values; systole is the maximum pressure when the heart beats and diastole is the minimum arterial pressure between heart beats. Normal (resting) blood pressure should ideally be below 130/85 mmHg. A resting blood pressure between 130/85 and 139/90 mmHg is considered to be high-normal and anything over 140/90 is considered to be hypertension (high blood pressure). To diagnose hypertension an individual must present with a blood pressure of 140/90 on a number of occaisions, as a single high reading could be due to anxiety, stress or exertion prior to the exam and the measurement may therefore not reflect the person's true resting blood pressure.
|Example blood pressure measurement:|
This is a list of normal arterial blood pressure ranges;
|Category||Systolic (mmHg)||Diastolic (mmHg)|
|Grade 1 hypertension (mild)||140-159||90-99|
|Grade 2 hypertension (moderate)||160-179||100-109|
|Grade 3 hypertension (severe)||>180||>110|
|Isolated systolic hypertension||>140||<90|
Pulse pressure is the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and at rest should ideally be around 40mgHg.
A high pulse pressure (e.g. 60 or 80mgHg) could either be the result of stiffening of the arteries (which occurs naturally with age) or could be due to aortic regurgitation - many of the symptoms and signs of aortic regurgitation are the result of the increased pulse pressure that accompanies it. A pulse pressure lower than 40mgHg is probably the result of a measurement error - if however, it is genuinely reduced the cause could be the result of decreased cardiac output due to heart failure, hypovolemic shock or another similar condition.