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Meaning of systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurement and pulse

Can someone please explain in very simple terms the meaning of systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurement and pulse. What is the most important number. I recently measured 164 / 121 with a pulse of 93. Since 26 Sept, my readings have been: 193/140. 172/91. 164/121 (P:93). 170/119. 161/110 (P:109). 156/62 (P: 115). 174/84 (P: 75). 142/104 (P: 101). I have been to see my doctor but he doesn t seeem unduly concerned though he says it s a bit high but I don t think medication is necessary . Any serious educated advice would be appreciated, particularly an explanation of the numbers. Thanks in advance.
Asked On : Sat, 19 Dec 2009
Answers:  1 Views:  1206
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Long winded answer coming up I'm afraid. Basically, during each heart beat, the muscles of the heart contract causing a wave of pressure which forces blood through the arteries. This wave of pressure is known as the pulse. There is one pulsation for each heartbeat. Normal heart rate is 60-100 but can rise up to as much as 200 when exercising or stressed. The average pulse rate is about 70. Blood pressure is the force per unit area exerted on the wall of the blood vessel by the blood it contains. We express it in terms of millimetres of mercury. BP refers to systemic arterial pressure in the large arteries near the heart. BP gradually peters out as blood moves further away from the heart, and it is this pressure gradient that drives blood around the body. Arterial BP reflects two things- how much the elastic arteries near the heart can be stretched (compliance) and the volume of blood forced into these arteries. So BP rises and falls all as the heart contracts and relaxes; it is pulsatile When we measure BP, it appears as two readings; the first and higher of the two is a measure of systolic pressure which is the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills them with blood. The second number measures the diastolic pressure which is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. Normal BP is 90/60- 120/80. The systolic (top reading) is more important. The higher the BP, the greater the stroke risk. Poorly managed hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease Your BP, both systolic and diastolic are way too high and are within treatment range. Your GP needs to exclude secondary causes for hypertension such as kidney issues and then he needs to do a 24 hour BP study (single BP readings are never diagnostic and this gives us a more accurate analysis of BP) and prescribe medication appropriately. If your GP isn't really concerned by your BP then change GP. Any BP consistently over 150 is within treatment range and if you have other risk factors for heart disease such as diabetes, the treatment threshold is lower. Go back to your GP please. If your BP is consistently high, your heart is being forced to work way beyond it's capacity. Besides injuring blood vessels, it can damage the brain, cause swelling of the optic nerve or hemorrhaging of the retina and kidneys issues. You are also at an increased risk of suffering from a cardiovascular event such as stroke and/or heart attack. Has your GP checked your cholesterol levels? In the meantime, reduce sodium in your diet, exercise and lose weight if you are overweight. Edit The first part of Ellie's answer is correct, it is the systolic that is more important but the diastolic is important too. However we no longer use 100+ your age BP readings anymore and we haven't for the last 20 odd years. Optimal BP is <120/80. Anything above is a risk to health regardless of adult age. Ignore the other answers including the cardiac tech and other Nurse who should keep more up to date with medicine.
Answered: Sat, 19 Dec 2009
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