FAQ035: What do our blood pressure numbers mean?

Blood pressure – the first thing you take going into the doctor’s office

Whenever we go into a doctor’s office, one of the first things we get checked is our blood pressures. These two numbers pack a lot of punch. Your pressure reading is contrived of two different numbers – your systolic blood pressure and your diastolic blood pressure. Let’s take a closer look at what these numbers mean and why they are so important.

Systolic Blood Pressure (Systolic BP)

The first number in your reading is the pressure against your arteries when your heart beats. This is an important number because it is the one that gives an indicator of heart health. Persons with high systolic BP are at increased risk of heart disease and heart attacks. It is usually the reason why people are put on medications for high blood pressure.

Diastolic Blood Pressure

The second number in your reading is the pressure against your arteries when your heart relaxes. Less attention is paid to the diastolic blood pressure, though it’s still important. It doesn’t carry the same weight in terms of risk for heart issues.

Heart health is becoming more and more important. Heart disease is considered a lifestyle disease because healthy habits such as eating healthy and exercising have huge roles to play in preventing it from happening.

Learning what the tests your doctor makes you take and the way that things are diagnosed is super important. Knowledge is power when it comes to your healthcare. When I talk to my physiotherapy clients, I say that I am the passenger but you are in the driver seat (though sometimes I am a little bit of a backseat driver!). It’s important that you keep yourself informed. If you aren’t sure – ask!


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Christina Prevett

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