How to Read Blood Pressure Reading in BP Machine?
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Many individuals might get confused on seeing their physicians jot down two different numbers for their blood pressure reading. Wondering what they depict and how to measure them?
Read the following piece, and you will get the answers.
How to Get an Accurate Reading for Blood Pressure?
When you take blood pressure tests at home with an automated blood pressure monitoring machine or manually, you can see two numbers on the machine’s display. The number on top and bottom is called systolic and diastolic pressure, respectively. This measurement is expressed as a fraction such as 120/80 mm Hg. Here, 'mm Hg' refers to millimetres of mercury.
Getting a blood pressure reading is easy. You just have to note the top and bottom numbers and express them in a fraction. Read on to know about this pressure in detail!
What Is Systolic Blood Pressure?
When the heart beats, it pushes blood into the arteries. Doctors term this function as systole, thus lending it the name of systolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure is the highest measured pressure.
Here is a list of systolic BP ranges -
- Normal: Below 120
- Elevated: 120-129
- Stage 1 High Blood Pressure (also called hypertension): 130-139
- Stage 2 Hypertension: 140 or more
- Hypertensive Crisis: 180 or more.
Systolic blood pressure can fall under into two types. These are -
- High Systolic Blood Pressure
- Low Systolic Blood Pressure
High Systolic Blood Pressure
When the heart pumps blood with increased pressure, the heart rate goes high. This happens when an individual is under stress or exercising or at similar states.
Here, the blood pressure reading is normal as the person is in certain intriguing circumstances. However, if the pressure goes high even when a person is resting, it points to high blood pressure. That is why doctors recommend tracking blood pressure when sitting at a quiet place comfortably.
High blood pressure usually occurs due to arteries narrowing, which compels the heart to work harder to push blood rhythmically.
Low Systolic Blood Pressure
When systolic BP goes below the normal reading, it is referred to as low systolic blood pressure. If the systolic blood pressure level decreases significantly, it can lead to light-headedness, dizziness or fainting. If a patient continues to ignore such health conditions, it can result in the failure of an organ such as kidney.
Low systolic blood pressure can happen to an individual with a low amount of blood level. Severe dehydration or blood loss can lead to low BP, where there is not enough blood to push through the body.
This condition can occur when the heart muscle is too weak to push blood. This condition is common among individuals suffering from cardiomyopathy (damaged heart muscles) or vasovagal syncope.
Other times, low blood pressure can occur when a person changes positions. When a person stands up, gravity pulls blood down through their feet. This condition is called orthostatic hypotension.
What Is Diastolic Blood Pressure?
The pressure against arterial walls during the heart’s relaxation phase is called diastolic blood pressure. In short, it is a measurement during the pause between two heartbeats. Diastolic blood pressure is lesser than systolic blood pressure.
Individuals who have high blood pressure have increased diastolic numbers even while resting. Low diastolic pressure is common in persons experiencing dehydration or severe blood loss. This condition may also occur when the arteries relax and open.
Here is a list of diastolic blood pressure ranges -
- Normal: Lower than 80
- Stage 1 Hypertension: 80-89
- Stage 2 Hypertension: 90 or more
- Hypertensive Crisis: 120 or more.
What Is the Danger Zone While Reading Blood Pressure?
When a blood pressure level reaches above 180/120 mm Hg, it can be considered a danger zone. The American Heart Association terms this condition as a ‘hypertensive crisis’. Individuals diagnosed with such a high range of blood pressure need treatment immediately.
Such patients must be careful if they notice symptoms, such as -
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Visual changes
- Symptoms of stroke, such as loss of muscle control in the face or paralysis
- Blood in your urine
In some cases, the high readings can stay temporarily, for which doctors will check a second time. If the numbers are still high, they will recommend immediate treatment, depending on any of the symptoms mentioned above.
What Is Normal Reading for Blood Pressure?
A normal blood pressure reading refers to when the top number (systolic pressure) is 90 and 120 and the bottom (diastolic pressure) is above 60 and less than 80. The American Heart Association considers this range of systolic and diastolic pressure to be normal.
Individuals falling under the normal range of blood pressure do not need any medical intervention. Individuals must maintain a healthy lifestyle and weight to prevent hypertension (high blood pressure). Additionally, you need to be doubly careful if you have a family history of high blood pressure.
With the above guide on how to read blood pressure, individuals can always keep an eye o\n any changes and ward off heart-related diseases and other issues.