What is blood pressure

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Blood pressure is not a disease. In fact, it is essential for life and is important for maintaining a proper circulation through the body to provide adequate oxygen and nutrients to the vital organs. So it’s important to know about blood pressure and how to keep it within a healthy level.

When the heart pumps blood into the arteries it creates a pressure within the arteries. This pressure results from two forces :

  • The first force is created by the heart as it pumps blood into the arteries and through the circulatory system.
  • The second force is created as the arteries resist blood flow.

Hence, blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries.

Blood pressure is recorded at two points :

  • the maximum point at which the heart contracts to empty its blood into the circulation, called systole.
  • the minimum point at which the heart relaxes to fill with blood returned by the circulation, called diastole.

Hence, the maximum pressure of blood in artery is called as systolic pressure and the minimum pressure in the arteries is known as diastolic pressure. The systolic pressure is always stated first and the diastolic pressure second. For example: 120/80 (120 over 80); systolic = 120, diastolic = 80.


The difference between these two pressures is called as pulse pressure and it is this pressure which keeps the blood moving constantly.

Normal blood pressure is less than 130 mm Hg systolic and less than 85 mm Hg diastolic. In certain pathological conditions the blood pressure rises above normal and may sometimes reach so high as to put imminent danger to life. Hence it is important to be aware of blood pressure and keep it within a healthy limit.