10 September 2021
Blood Pressure Numbers Explained
Are you unsure how to interpret your blood pressure? Keep reading to understand what it all means.
Types of blood pressure
What is the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure?
Firstly, blood pressure (BP) is generally represented by two numbers, one of which is higher than the other.
Systolic blood pressure is the higher number. It represents the pressure your blood is putting on the walls of your arteries when your heart contracts. Remember, your arteries are the blood vessels that take blood away from your heart, as opposed to your veins, which carry blood towards the heart.
Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure in your arteries while your heart is filling with blood between beats. It is the second, or lower, number you read when taking your blood pressure.
Both figures are significant and should be closely watched to ensure that they remain within a healthy range: click here to download a blood pressure infographic.
What is normal blood pressure?
This depends on where you are taking the readings and also if you have any other medical conditions, such as diabetes or kidney disease, that would affect your own individual BP target. For most people taking their BP at home, we would consider an upper limit of ‘normal’ to be a systolic pressure of less than 135 and a diastolic of less than 85 eg 130/80. Of course, it is also important that blood pressure is not too low, as this can also cause problems such as light-headedness and falls.
It’s great to have normal blood pressure, but that’s no reason to lose motivation. If you don’t live a healthy lifestyle and eat healthy food, your blood pressure may rise.
How do I find out if I have high blood pressure?
If you don’t know your blood pressure there’s a chance it could be high and there’s a chance it could be low, the passive mentality is to hope that your blood pressure is okay. But there’s no harm in checking. The easiest way to check your blood pressure is to purchase a blood pressures monitors. The monitor will be with you within 2 working days. Once you have taken a reading you can upload your results on our site using the NHS blood pressure tool.
How to take your blood pressure?
You can take your blood pressure measurement at home using a blood pressure monitor and use the blood pressure calculator as guidance on what your reading means. If you haven’t purchased a Kinetik blood pressure monitor, ensure the monitor has been clinically validated. Find a list of blood pressure monitors available for home use on the British and Irish Hypertension Society (BIHS) website.
When taking your blood pressure
Step 1 – Sit quietly and comfortably on a chair with legs uncrossed and feet flat on the ground with an even surface in front of you.
Step 2 – Place your arm on the surface in front of you so that it is supported level with your heart. Remove tight clothing and wrap the cuff around your upper arm.
Step 3 – Activate the blood pressure monitor, the cuff will inflate to restrict the blood flow in your arm is it gauges your blood pressure. This will last for a short amount of time.
Step 4 – As the cuff deflates, your reading is displayed on the monitor. Enter the two numbers into the blood pressure calculator to determine the health of your reading.
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