The Blood Pressure Numbers,
Our Reading,

Are only two of the important blood pressure numbers. Others are the number of people who have HBP unknowingly, the percentage of people who will get it in their lifetime and many others.

Let's first go over the two numbers that constitute our reading such as 120 over 80.

Blood pressure numbers: Our reading

When our heart beats it pushes the blood out into the large arteries. The force it exerts on the walls is called Blood Pressure. The elastic arteries expand to take up some of this force and then contract while the heart rests. This keeps the blood moving until the next beat. This continuous movement is called the Circulation.

The maximum pressure attained when the heart beats is called the systolic. The minimum level to which the pressure falls between beats is called the diastolic. These values are measured by an instrument called a Sphygmomanometer and make up our two widely known blood pressure numbers.

Early measurements of pressure were made by using a column of water and putting a tube into a horse's artery. This required a column 6 or 8 feet tall. Then they used a column of mercury which is 13.6 times as heavy as water and thus required a column of less than one foot. They could then see how many millimeters of mercury were required to balance the pressure. That is why our pressures are read in millimeters of mercury or mm Hg.

The systolic pressure can be anywhere from 80 to 240 mm Hg or more. The diastolic pressure can be 50 to 140 mm Hg or more. The reading is expressed for example as 100/60 or 100 over 60. The most desirable or healthiest pressure is 115 over 75 or less. The minimum is in the neighborhood of 80/50 and the maximum is what your instrument can read but 220/140 is considered an emergency requiring immediate treatment.

The best and most accurate way to know your pressure is take it yourself. See How and Why at this page How To Take Blood Pressure

Blood pressure numbers: Who has it?

  • 50,000,000-Number of people in the US who have HBP including those under treatment.
  • 28.7%-Percentage of US adults who have it.
  • 33.5%-Percentage of blacks who have it.
  • 65.4%-Percentage of those over 60 years of age.
  • 90%-Percentage of people who will become hypertensive in their lifetime.
  • 31%-Percentage of people who have it but are unaware. (15,000,000)
  • 69%-Are aware of it. (35,000,000)
  • 58.4%-Percentage of the 35 million aware people who are under treatment. (58.4% X 35 million = 20,000,000)
  • 40%-Percentage of hypertensive people who are actually under treatment.
  • 60%-Percentage of hypertensive people who are not under treatment.
  • 53%-Percentage of treated patients who are controlled (53% of 20 million = 10.6 million) This leaves:
  • 39,400,000-Either unaware of having it, not under treatment, or inadequately controlled!

39,400,000 people in the United States have hypertension and are either:

  • Unaware or
  • Untreated or
  • Uncontrolled
thus raising their risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney disease and failure, and congestive heart failure.

Can you see why I want you to learn to take your own blood pressure? And take your spouse's? And elderly parents? And friends and neighbors? Learn how and Why at How To Take Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure Classification
Systolic Diastolic Class
115 75 Desirable
120-139 80-89 Prehypertension
140-159 90-99 Hypertension Stage 1
160 or over 100 or over Hypertension Stage 2

Doctor's Practical Guide:

A few more blood pressure numbers:

26% of people who have elevated readings in the doctor's office have normal pressure by subsequent intra-arterial measurement. 27 mm Hg was the average amount of false elevation in the systolic. 15 mm Hg was the average amount of false elevation in the diastolic. Taking your own reading eliminates this error.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a lot like smoking. If something else doesn't get you first then the cigarettes will. Eventually.

On a happier note, learn to take your own blood pressure and eliminate that inner concern and pay scant attention to all these numbers. That way you'll always know how you stand, anytime you want.


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