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Step up to a Healthier You with the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit

Blood Pressure

administering a blood pressure test

What is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood against the walls of your blood vessels (arteries) as the heart pumps blood throughout your body.

Blood pressure is very important because it allows blood to flow and deliver nutrients to every part of your body. We measure blood pressure using two numbers. The top number measures systolic blood pressure, when your heart contracts (beats) pushing blood out. The bottom number is diastolic blood pressure, when your heart relaxes and refills with blood. It is measured in units called millimeters of mercury or mmHg.

For most people target blood pressure should be: 120 over 80
120 is the Systolic (pressure when heart contracts and pushes blood out)
80 is the Diastolic (pressure when heart relaxes and refills with blood)

If you have diabetes or kidney disease, your target blood pressure should be: 130 over 80

Cross-section of a blood vessel