Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood against the walls of the arteries. Blood pressure results from two forces. One is created by the heart as it pumps blood into the arteries and through the circulatory system. The other is the force of the arteries as they resist the blood flow.
What do blood pressure numbers indicate?
The systolic pressure is always stated first and the diastolic pressure second. For example: 118/76 (118 over 76); systolic = 118, diastolic = 76.
- The higher systolic number represents the pressure while the heart contracts to pump blood to the body.
- The lower diastolic number represents the pressure when the heart relaxes between beats.