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:
(Pulse pressure) 40

Normal valuesEdit

This is a list of normal arterial blood pressure ranges;

Normal blood pressure readings
CategorySystolic (mmHg)Diastolic (mmHg)
Optimal <120<80
Normal <130<85
High-normal 130-13985-89
Grade 1 hypertension (mild) 140-15990-99
Subgroup (borderline) 140-14990-94
Grade 2 hypertension (moderate) 160-179100-109
Grade 3 hypertension (severe) >180>110
Isolated systolic hypertension >140<90
Subgroup (borderline) 140-149<90

Pulse pressureEdit

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.

See alsoEdit