Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure (the higher number) — indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.
- Diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) — indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
WHICH NUMBER IS MORE IMPORTANT?
Typically, more attention is given to systolic blood pressure (the top number) as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50. In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to the increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term build-up of plaque and an increased incidence of cardiac and vascular disease. However, elevated systolic or diastolic blood pressure alone may be used to make a diagnosis of high blood pressure. And, according to recent studies, the risk of death from ischemic heart disease and stroke doubles with every 20 mm Hg systolic or 10 mm Hg diastolic increase among people from age 40 to 89.
IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU CONSULT WITH YOUR PHYSICIAN IN ORDER TO DETERMINE YOUR NORMAL BLOOD PRESSURE.