Blood Pressure Readings Explained

Blood Pressure Chart: Diastolic Blood Pressure (DBP)

Diastolic blood pressure is the lowest number of blood pressure when it comes to your heart. It is measured at or near the bottom of your chest. Your diastolic blood pressure may be higher than systolic if you have high cholesterol levels or diabetes.

If you are diabetic, your blood pressure may be too low. A high level of cholesterol in your body can cause your blood pressure to rise and stay above 120/80 mmHg. High cholesterol levels may increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease such as heart attack, stroke, coronary artery disease and other types of heart problems.

Diabetes is a condition where the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to control glucose levels in the bloodstream. Insulin helps regulate blood sugar levels. People with type 2 diabetes need insulin injections every three hours to keep their blood sugar level within a certain range.

People with type 1 diabetes do not require insulin treatment.

People with high cholesterol levels may have high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and low HDL (“good”) cholesterol. High triglycerides are elevated in people with these kinds of cholesterol numbers. Having high triglycerides increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Blood Pressure Reading Explained – Normal Blood Pressure

For adults, a normal blood pressure is when the systolic pressure is less than 120 and the diastolic pressure is less than 80. This reading is measured after at least five minutes of resting. When your heart beats, your blood pressure increases.

This number is often higher when you are active or stressed. Also a higher blood pressure reading is normal for some people as they age, especially if they are in good health. If your blood pressure is always high even at rest and you have other risk factors such as smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, obesity or a family history of heart disease, then you need to make lifestyle changes and work with your doctor to monitor your blood pressure.

Elevated blood pressure is when the top number is higher than 140 or the bottom number is higher than 90. This reading may be a sign of an underlying health condition such as kidney disease, heart failure, liver disease, pregnancy or the inability to metabolize certain drugs. If you have high blood pressure you need to see your doctor immediately and get treatment.

There are lifestyle changes and medications that can lower your blood pressure into a safer range.

Sources & references used in this article:

On the ability of blood pressure effects to explain the relation between oral contraceptives and cardiovascular disease. by RL Prentice – American journal of epidemiology, 1988 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Arterial stiffness as underlying mechanism of disagreement between an oscillometric blood pressure monitor and a sphygmomanometer by NM van Popele, WJW Bos, NAM de Beer… – …, 2000 – Am Heart Assoc

The blood pressure in a population: blood pressure readings and height and weight determinations in the adult population of the city of Bergen. by J Bøe, S Humerfelt, F Wedervang – Acta Medica Scandinavica, 1957 – cabdirect.org

Observations in man upon a blood pressure raising reflex arising from the voluntary muscles by M Alam, FH Smirk – The Journal of physiology, 1937 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Explaining high blood pressure: Variation in knowledge about illness by LC Garro – American Ethnologist, 1988 – Wiley Online Library