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Blood pressure (BP) is one of the critically important signs of life (vital sign). It is the pressure exerted by circulating blood upon the walls of blood vessel. The difference in blood pressure between two points is what helps your blood flow. Blood pressure is expressed as systolic/diastolic blood pressure. Normal blood is less than 120 mmHg/80 mmHg. Mean blood pressure decreases as we move away from the heart. Blood pressure doesn’t stay the same all the time. It lowers as you sleep and rises when you wake up. Blood pressure also rises when you’re nervous, excited or active. Very high or low blood pressure usually indicates some sort of health problem. High BP or Hypertension indicates that the heart is working too hard and is linked to strokes, heart attacks, aneurysm and chronic kidney disease. Low BP (hypotension) on the other hand leads to vital organs not getting enough oxygen or blood.

Maximum pressure in the arteries during contraction of ventricles is called the systolic blood pressure. A normal systolic blood pressure is 120 or below. A systolic blood pressure of 120-139 is borderline high blood pressure and a pressure of 140 or higher is considered high blood pressure. Borderline high blood pressure is a risk factor for developing heart disease.

The pressure in the arteries as the muscle of the heart relaxes following its contraction is called diastolic blood pressure. Normal diastolic blood pressure ranges between 60 and 80 mm Hg. A diastolic blood pressure between 80 and 89 indicates prehypertension and a pressure of 90 or higher is considered high. In isolated diastolic hypertension, only the diastolic blood pressure is above normal.

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