Blood Pressure (BP) Blood pressure is a measurement of the force/pressure that the blood exerts on the walls of the blood vessels. The reading is measured with two numbers, for example 120/80mmHg, these represent systolic and diastolic pressure.
Systolic This should be the higher of the two numbers, and is recorded first. It is the measurement of pressure once the left ventricle has contracted and blood is pumped into the Aorta, and exerts force on the walls of the vessel. The optimum figure is around 120mmHg.
Diastolic This is when the measurement is taken whilst the heart is in the resting phase and is refilling with blood, the pressure against the artery wall is much lower, and the optimum figure is usually 80mmHg, it is the smaller number and is recorded second.
Blood Pressure Classification we have looked at the optimum example of 120/80 mmHg above, but not everybody for different reasons will fall into this optimal range. There are therefore risk categories or classifications for blood pressure as it can have a significant effect on health.
Please be aware some clients may have a raised blood pressure due to white coat syndrome. The term ‘’white coat’’ comes from references to the white coats traditionally worn by doctors. The white coat effect means that your blood pressure is higher when it is taken in a medical setting than when taken at home. (Blood Pressure UK,2008).
There are two ways of taking Blood Pressure: