What Is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of blood vessels called arteries. Each time your heart beats, it pumps out blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure. When your heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is called diastolic pressure.
Learn What Your Numbers Mean!
Your blood pressure reading uses these two numbers, the systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number). They are written one above or before the other. For example, a blood pressure of 120/80 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) is often spoken as “120 over 80.”
A consistent reading* of:
is normal blood pressure for most adults
120 to 139
(for the top number) or
80 to 89
(for the bottom number)
can be early-stage high blood pressure (pre-hypertension)
140/90 or higher
(for adults ages 18-59) or
150/90 or higher
(for adults ages 60 & older)
is high blood pressure (hypertension)
* These are general guidelines. Please consult with your healthcare provider about what your target blood pressure should be.
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*Based on Department of Health Care Services Enrollment Reports.