Normal Blood Pressure Reading Know-How

So you want to know what your normal blood pressure reading is. The next time you visit the

doctor, you ask the nurse’s aide to tell you. That is after she finishes putting the cuff on your arm,

pumping it until you think your arm is going to explode, and then she rattles off a number…

124/86. Well, that is fine, but what does that mean?

A blood pressure reading measures the pumping action of the heart. The first number is a reading

of the systolic pressure, or the pressure exerted by your heart to pump oxygenated blood into the

aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body. This vessel branches off into other, smaller vessels

that oxygenate every organ, tissue and cell in your body. The bottom number, a diastolic

pressure, reads your heart at rest, or between beats.

Blood pressure readings for healthy individuals will usually range around120/80. Some people

may have varying numbers like 124/82 or 126/84 or so. You always get your blood pressure

reading in even numbers, but if someone does give you a reading with an odd number, just round

up to keep things simple. Keep in mind that your age, weight, exercise level and diet may also

have much to do with a blood pressure reading. Some people who exercise a lot and are healthy

have blood pressures hovering around 110 over 70, and that is normal, for them. The same goes

if the numbers are a little higher.

However, a normal blood pressure reading becomes a high blood pressure reading when those

numbers reach around 140/90 or so. There are several different levels typical to high blood

pressure, or hypertension, so speak to your doctor if your levels are over the 126/86 ranges.

It is difficult to pinpoint a single cause for high blood pressure, as many factors usually coincide

to produce the condition. For some, high blood pressure is inherited, and African-Americans

suffer more from high blood pressure, or hypertension, than Caucasians. Medical issues may also

cause a rise in a normal blood pressure reading, so it is a good idea to have your pressure checked

at least periodically. Nearly 65 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure, and countless

others who have not been diagnosed are walking around with the condition without even

realizing it.

As people age, high blood pressure becomes more prevalent. However, preserving a healthy

weight, exercising regularly and eating a well-balanced diet will help to prevent high blood

pressure. Stay away from excess salt, alcohol and high fat diets, and if you smoke, try to quit.

Studies have shown that certain medications may cause high blood pressure, so speak to your

doctor about risks if you are taking certain prescription drugs.

A normal blood pressure reading may not seem like a big deal to many people, but as we grow

older, it may mean the difference between a healthy, active lifestyle, or sitting your later years out

on the bench. Take an active part in your health, especially heart health, and your body, and your

family and friends, will thank you for it.