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Your blood pressure is the force of circulating blood on the walls of the arteries. It is taken during and between heartbeats using two measurements: systolic (measured when blood pressure is at its highest) and diastolic (measured when blood pressure is at its lowest).
The first number (systolic) reveals how much pressure your blood exerts against your artery walls when the heart beats. The second number (diastolic) indicates how much pressure your blood exerts against your artery walls while the heart rests between beats.
Your blood pressure is then categorized into five different categories:
- Normal – blood pressure numbers of less than 120/80 mm Hg are considered within the normal range.
- Elevated – blood pressure readings consistently range from 120-129 systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic.
- Hypertension Stage 1 – numbers consistently range from 130-139 systolic or 80-89 mm Hg diastolic.
- Hypertension Stage 2 – numbers consistently range at 140/90 mm Hg or higher.
- Hypertensive crisis – blood pressure readings suddenly exceeding 180/120 mm Hg require immediate medical attention.