Understand your blood pressure
What do your blood pressure numbers mean?
Hypertension–or high blood pressure–increases your risk of developing serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.
While you can’t always control your high blood pressure, understanding your numbers can help prevent hypertension and reduce your risk of future health issues.
Your blood pressure measures the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels as your heart pumps blood around your body.
Systolic (top number)
The systolic number indicates the pressure in your arteries when your heart is beating.
Diastolic (bottom number)
The diastolic number indicates the pressure in your arteries while the heart is at rest between beats.
Healthy and unhealthy blood pressure ranges
|Blood pressure category||Systolic (top number)||Diastolic (lower number)|
|Normal||Less than 120||Less than 80|
|Elevated||120-129||Less than 80|
|High (hypertension) stage 1||130-139||80-90|
|High (hypertension) stage 2||140 or higher||90 or higher|
|Hypertensive crisis||180 or higher||120 or higher|
Some people experience abnormally low blood pressure–hypotension. This can also cause problems such as dizziness and fainting.
If you fall into the hypertensive crisis range, you should seek immediate medical care.