Blood Pressure

The heart pumps blood around the body through blood vessels called arteries. “Blood pressure” is the force of blood as it is pumped through your arteries around the body by the heart. Your blood pressure number is based on 2 numbers called “systolic” and “diastolic” blood pressure.

120           Top number (systolic BP) measures the force of blood rushing against artery walls when your heart contracts during a heartbeat.

80            Bottom number (diastolic BP) represents the pressure in your heart when it relaxes between beats.

BP is usually measured on the arm with a sphygmomanometer (BP machine).

BP Category

Systolic (mmHg)

Top Number


Diastolic (mmHg)

Bottom Number

NormalLess than 120andLess than 80
Elevated (Pre-Hypertension)120-139or80-89
Stage 1 Hypertension/ High Blood Pressure140-159or90-99
Stage 2 Hypertension/ High Blood Pressure160 or higheror100 or higher

If your blood pressure is normal, that’s great! Keep it that way by living a healthy lifestyle and check it regularly to be sure it stays in the normal ranges.

5 ways to keep your Blood Pressure numbers in check!

  1. Exercise daily for at least 30 minutes
  2. Limit your intake of salt daily
  3. Limit intake of fatty foods
  4. Avoid excessive drinking of alcohol
  5. Avoid smoking (cigarettes, tobacco, etc.)

Go to Screening for Major NCDs for more information.

If your blood pressure is elevated or high, it should be re-checked to determine whether you have Pre-Hypertension or Hypertension. Ask your doctor went to have it checked again and whether or not you need to start treatment.

High BP (Hypertension) is a “silent killer” which often causes no symptoms. If high BP is detected early and controlled, you can prevent irreversible damage to major organs in the body like the brain, heart, eyes and kidneys. (go to “Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease” for more information).