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Systolic vs Diastolic: Understanding Your Blood Pressure

By    |   Monday, 20 Jun 2016 05:48 PM

Do you know the difference in systolic vs. diastolic blood pressure readings and what they mean? When blood pressure is taken, these two numbers are measured and each one corresponds to pressure levels in the arteries.

The top number in a blood pressure reading is the systolic pressure, which represents the level of pressure that is created by the heart contracting and pushing blood through the arteries. When the heart beats and pumps blood, pressure is at its highest. A normal systolic reading indicates the blood isn’t dangerously pressing on the artery walls. Abnormal readings can indicate higher risk for heart disease and stroke.

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Healthline explains that a normal systolic reading is between 90 and 120. Numbers higher than 120 indicate the heart is exerting an abnormal amount of effort to pump blood. Stage 1 hypertension is diagnosed with a blood pressure reading between 140 and 159. Stage 2 hypertension is diagnosed with a blood pressure reading of 160 or higher and is considered very serious.

The systolic number, according to the American Heart Association, is often the number doctors are most concerned with as it indicates an increased risk for cardiovascular disease in people over 50.

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Diastolic pressure is the bottom number in a blood pressure reading. It measures the level of pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest or between beats. A normal diastolic reading should be between 60 and 80. Numbers between 80 and 89 indicate prehypertension; numbers between 90 and 99 indicate stage 1 hypertension, and a number of 100 or higher is considered stage 2 hypertension.

According to the American Heart Association, systolic and diastolic blood pressure numbers can fluctuate throughout the day due to stress, posture changes, exercise, or sleep. A physician may recommend monitoring blood pressure at home if readings are high at the doctor's office before diagnosing hypertension.

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Do you know the difference in systolic vs. diastolic blood pressure readings and what they mean? When blood pressure is taken, these two numbers are measured and each one corresponds to pressure levels in the arteries.
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2016-48-20
Monday, 20 Jun 2016 05:48 PM
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