What Is Normal Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is a way of measuring the forces exerted by the heart when it pumps blood and the resistance of the arterial walls to blood flow. Blood pressure is measured using two numbers called the systolic and diastolic.

Diastolic Versus Systolic

The diastolic reading is a measure of the pressure created by the heart as it pumps blood through the arteries. The resistance of the arterial walls to the flow of blood is the systolic pressure.

Factors That Influence Blood Pressure

Blood pressure can be temporarily influenced by whether a person is asleep or awake. Engaging in physical activity can also cause blood pressure numbers to temporarily increase. The diastolic pressure may rise suddenly when a person is experiencing strong emotions.

A Healthy Blood Pressure

According to the American Heart Association, a normal blood pressure reading for an adult is 120/80 (diastolic over systolic). Sustained readings greater than 120/80 could signify hypertension (high blood pressure).

Complications From Abnormal Blood Pressure

Individuals suffering from high blood pressure have an increased risk of stroke. High blood pressure also presents a greater risk for kidney failure.

Maintain a Healthy Blood Pressure

To maintain a healthy blood pressure, drink plenty of water and eat a low sodium diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Engaging in moderate-intensity endurance exercises such as jogging will also have a positive effect on blood pressure.