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Glossary of terms

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Blood pressure

Blood pressure, name commonly given to arterial pressure, relates to the pressure exerted by blood on the arteries, the vessels by which the heart irrigates the body. It is measured in "Torr" or "mmHG", and is indicated by two values:
  • systolic arterial pressure: peak pressure in the arteries, which occurs near the beginning of the cardiac cycle;
  • diastolic arterial pressure: lowest pressure, at the resting phase of the cardiac cycle.
 
Arterial pressure is not static. It may vary from one heartbeat to another, throughout the day, or in response to stress, emotions, physical effort, nutritional factors, drugs, or disease.
 
Normal blood pressure readings corresponding to highest life expectancy according to the Society of Actuaries:
  • systolic blood pressure of 98-127;
  • diastolic blood pressure of 48-67.
 
Systolic pressure of 140 or higher or diastolic pressure of 90 or higher are currently considered to be indicators of hypertension, which is viewed as a major health hazard.
 
Current Blood Pressure Guidelines are as follows:
 
Classification of Blood Pressure (BP)
  SBP (systolic blood pressure) DBP (diastolic blood pressure)
mmHg mmHg
Normal < 120 and     < 80
Prehypertension 120139 or      8089
Hypertension, Stage 1 140159 or      9099
Hypertension, Stage 2 ≥ 160 or      ≥ 100
 
(National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of US Department of Health and Human Services, 2004)
 
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