Tuesday, December 27, 2005

What the Numbers Mean - How Blood Pressure is Measured

A check up at the doctor quickly reveals many important facts about
your health. One very important test is the blood pressure reading.
The test is routine and simple. You don't even need to undress or
be stuck with a needle to get a clear picture of what is going on
with your blood pressure. The end result is vital information
about how much pressure or force is put on your blood vessels as
the heart muscle pumps and then again as it relaxes.

The two numbers related to blood pressure are officially known as
the systolic and diastolic readings. The systolic, or top number,
measures the pressure of the blood as it leaves the heart and
surges through the blood vessels. The diastolic number on the
blood pressure reading is what kind of force is on the artery walls
in between heart beats.

A blood pressure reading is written with the systolic number on top
and diastolic number on the bottom and is expressed as "x over y."
A normal blood pressure may be 120 over 80 or written as 110/70.
The value of the numbers refers to milligrams of mercury (mmHg).

I created a chart on the following webpage which shows what normal
blood pressure ranges are and when you need to be concerned about
lowering your blood pressure:


Not only is high blood pressure measured, but a reading of
90/25mmHg is considered very low blood pressure and warrants
specific kinds of treatments.

Blood pressure is measured using a cuff that goes around the upper
arm. It is pumped with air to make it tighten around the arm so
that a pulse can be heard through a stethoscope. The medical
professional listening is recording when they hear a pulse as the
band tightens and then when they can no longer hear it as the
pressure is released. This gives them the systolic and then the
diastolic readings.

There are many times throughout the day when blood pressure
readings are affected which does not necessarily mean you have the
condition of high blood pressure. A temporary rise in blood
pressure is often seen after consuming certain foods or beverages
or if you have taken specific kinds of medications. The concern
doctors have is when blood pressure is in the stage 1 range

On the other hand, low blood pressure readings may indicate there
is an infection present or that you are dehydrated. It can also
signal more serious conditions such as heart disease.

It is important to have blood pressure readings at every annual
physical. Often if you visit the doctor when you are sick they will
routinely measure blood pressure. If you have had high readings in
the past, you doctor may want to monitor your condition more
closely. He or she may recommend testing each week or even everyday at your local pharmacy or using a home testing device.


This article is based on the book, "The Silent Killer Exposed" by
Frank Mangano. Frank is an author, researcher and health advocate
who dedicates his life to finding solutions for people interested
in reducing their risk of health problems by improving their overall
quality of life naturally, without the use prescription medication.
Learn more by visiting his website: