The main indicators of blood pressure: the norm and the deviation
Author Ольга Кияница
Arterial pressure (BP) is the pressure exerted by the blood, which circulates throughout the body, on the walls of the vessels. There are basic indicators of blood pressure, which are often correlated with the age of a person. When they are within the permissible range, the person feels good, but enough blood pressure to go up or down, to cause unpleasant symptoms, or to develop a more serious disease.
The normal value of blood pressure is traditionally considered to be 120/80 mm Hg. However, there are other variants of the norm, which correspond with the individual characteristics of each person.
Determine blood pressure by only sensations and symptoms is impossible. To get a reliable indicator, a tonometer is used, which in a short time shows the desired value. If necessary, a measurement can be made on both hands, then the most complete picture is obtained of the state of human health at the initial stage of the examination.
Video: What are the numbers of blood pressure
Physiology of formation of arterial pressure
During each heartbeat, the blood pressure changes between maximum (systolic) and minimal (diastolic) pressure. The formation of blood pressure is mainly associated with the pumping action of the heart. [1 - Caro, Colin G. (1978). The Mechanics of The Circulation. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press.]
Mean arterial pressure (SBP, that is, the average value between systolic and diastolic) is responsible for the blood flow from one place of the circulatory system to another. The speed of the average blood pressure depends both on the blood pressure and on the resistance to the flow represented by the blood vessels.
The average blood pressure decreases throughout the circulatory system, although the greatest fall occurs along small arteries and arterioles. Gravitation affects blood pressure through hydrostatic forces (for example, during standing), and valves in the veins, breathing and transferring from contraction of skeletal muscles also affect blood pressure in the veins
The main indicators of blood pressure
Based on the results of measurement of blood pressure, two values are shown:
- Systolic blood pressure (the upper number, it is usually greater) - shows what pressure produces blood on the walls of the artery when the heart contracts.
- Diastolic blood pressure (a smaller number) - shows the pressure that blood exerts on the walls of the artery when the heart rests between the systoles.
Which value is more important?
As a rule, more attention is paid to systolic blood pressure (the upper number), since it is considered the main risk factor for cardiovascular disease in people over 50 years old. In most people, systolic blood pressure increases steadily with age because of the increased rigidity of large vessels. This process is also facilitated by long-term accumulation of atherosclerotic plaques and an increase in the incidence of cardiac and vascular diseases.
Why is blood pressure measured in mm Hg. Art.
Abbreviation mm Hg. Art. millimeters of mercury. Why is it about mercury, if modern tonometers have nothing to do with it? The first measuring manometers used mercury and this substance is still used as a standard unit of pressure in medicine.
Pulse and blood pressure are the same?
Arterial pressure and heart rate (pulse) are two separate indicators that help in general to determine the state of human health. Learn more about the difference between blood pressure and heart rate.
Blood pressure by age
|Blood pressure by age|
|Eyes||Systolic blood pressure||Diastolic blood pressure|
|Arterial pressure in children|
|Age||Boys (mm Hg)||Girls (mm Hg)|
|1-12 months||on the average 90/60||on the average 90/60|
|1-3||80/34 - 120/75||83/38 - 117/76|
|4-6||88/47 - 128/84||88/50 - 122/83|
|7-10||92/53 - 130/90||93/55 - 129/88|
Video: Arterial pressure in children
Categories of blood pressure
In medicine, it is common to distinguish five categories of blood pressure, which are now recognized by the American Heart Association:
1. Normal blood pressure
BP indices are in the normal (optimal) range of less than 120/80 mm Hg. In such cases, it is sufficient to engage in good work and maintain habits that are healthy for the heart and vessels (such as maintaining a balanced diet and regular exercise) to maintain your condition at this level.
When the blood pressure fluctuates from 120 to 129 mm Hg. systolic and more than 80 mm Hg. diastolic speak of elevated blood pressure. People who belong to this category of blood pressure are probably in the group at risk for developing hypertension, especially if preventive measures are not taken to control it.
3. Type I Hypertension
The arterial pressure is in the range of 130-139 mm Hg. systolic and 80-89 mm Hg. Art. diastolic blood pressure. At this stage of high blood pressure, doctors are likely to recommend lifestyle changes and may consider adding a medicine based on the risk of developing an atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, such as a heart attack or stroke.
4. Type II Hypertension
With this form of hypertension, blood pressure is constantly at a level no lower than 140/90 mm Hg. Art. or higher. At this stage of high blood pressure, doctors often prescribe a combination of drugs against hypertension along with lifestyle changes.
5. Hypertensive crisis
This condition requires immediate medical attention. If the blood pressure values suddenly rise to 180/120 mm Hg. Art.and more, you need to wait five minutes and repeat the measurement. If the blood pressure is still unusually high, you should immediately consult a doctor. A hypertensive crisis may occur, especially if the blood pressure is above 180/120 mm Hg. Art. The patient in this state experiences signs of possible organ damage, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness / weakness, blurred vision, difficulty speaking. Independently, blood pressure is rarely lowered, so it is better not to wait for serious complications, but to call an ambulance.
To establish the diagnosis of high blood pressure, increased systolic and diastolic arterial pressure may be taken into account.
According to recent studies, the risk of death from coronary heart disease and stroke doubles with an increase of every 20 mm Hg. Art. systolic and 10 mm Hg. Art. diastolic pressure. Such indicators are especially relevant for people aged 40 to 89 years.
Determination of blood pressure at home
If you want to measure blood pressure at home, then you should purchase a blood pressure monitor in advance - a device for monitoring blood pressure. Such a purchase is especially necessary if the doctor recommended daily monitoring of blood pressure indicators.
Immediately before determining the level of blood pressure, you should avoid smoking, exercise, stress and caffeine use. These factors of influence can affect the tone of the vessels and the heart rate, which can be expressed in the wrong indicators.
Procedure for measuring blood pressure:
- The long sleeve needs to be rolled up and seated, placing a palm on the chair.
- It is important to make sure that the condition is completely relaxed, and you need to be in a quiet place, and not, for example, in the bathroom, because unnecessary sounds may not allow you to correctly determine the indicators.
- Inside the elbow you need to find your pulse, using the index and middle fingers of the opposite hand.
- The cuff of the device is fixed on the hand, for which the fastener is used, while tightening should not be done, but leave room for one or two fingers.
- The cuff is inflated and deflated with the help of the instructions attached to the device, since the tonometers can differ between each other.
- The hand should be kept straight for the most accurate measurement.
- The results can be written in a diary of hypertensive medicine, if such was recommended by the attending physician.
If the blood pressure is too high (pathology is known as hypertension), this creates an additional burden on the vascular bed, as well as the heart, which often contributes to the development of heart attacks.
For this reason, many believe that the lower the blood pressure, the better. But if you have to experience symptoms of dizziness, nausea, dehydration or an unconscious condition, then there may be a problem with low blood pressure.
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