Your blood pressure is an important factor to your overall health. Low blood pressure can make you feel tired, weak, or can even make you pass out. High Blood Pressure (HBP) or hypertension can cause significant health problems. High blood pressure can make you anxious, cause headaches and strokes. Regularly monitoring your blood pressure will give you a baseline as to what your blood pressure is and what it should be.
So what is blood pressure? The organs in your body need oxygen to survive. Oxygen is carried through the body by the blood. When the heart beats, it creates pressure that pushes blood through a network of tube-shaped arteries and veins, also known as blood vessels and capillaries. The pressure — blood pressure — is the result of two forces. The first force occurs as blood pumps out of the heart and into the arteries that are part of the circulatory system. The second force is created as the heart rests between heart beats. (These two forces are each represented by numbers in a blood pressure.)
Blood pressure is typically recorded as two numbers, written as a ratio like this: 117/76 mm Hg and read as “117 over 76 millimeters of mercury.”
Systolic – The top number, which is also the higher of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (when the heart muscles contract).
Diastolic – The bottom number, which is also the lower of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (when the heart muscle is resting between beats and refilling with blood).
Further information can be found on the American Heart website at www.heart.org