PREVIOUS QUESTION:

 

NEXT QUESTION:

 

What do the numbers mean in high blood pressure?

ANSWER

You may notice that when your doctor measures your blood pressure, the reading includes two numbers, one written on top of the other. These numbers can be confusing. The top number is called your systolic blood pressure. This number represents the force of blood through your blood vessels during your heartbeat.

The bottom number is called your diastolic blood pressure. This number represents the force of blood through your blood vessels in between heartbeats, while your heart is resting.

  • 119 or below is normal systolic blood pressure
  • 120-129 is considered elevated
  • 130 and greater is high blood pressure
  • 79 or below is normal diastolic blood pressure
  • 80 and greater is hypertension

SOURCES: American Academy of Family Physicians web site: "High Blood Pressure: Things You Can Do to Help Lower Yours." Mayo Clinic web site: "How being black affects your blood pressure: A healthy lifestyle is important regardless of skin color." National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute web site: "Your Guide to Lowering High Blood Pressure; What Are High Blood Pressure and Prehypertension?" WebMD Medical Reference: "High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)," "How adrenaline regulates blood pressure." American Medical Association.



 

Reviewed by Suzanne R. Steinbaum on January 22, 2017

SOURCES: American Academy of Family Physicians web site: "High Blood Pressure: Things You Can Do to Help Lower Yours." Mayo Clinic web site: "How being black affects your blood pressure: A healthy lifestyle is important regardless of skin color." National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute web site: "Your Guide to Lowering High Blood Pressure; What Are High Blood Pressure and Prehypertension?" WebMD Medical Reference: "High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)," "How adrenaline regulates blood pressure." American Medical Association.



 

Reviewed by Suzanne R. Steinbaum on January 22, 2017

NEXT QUESTION:

How do numbers change in high blood pressure?

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.