What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the strength of your blood pushing against the sides of your blood vessels. There are two components to your blood pressure reading. 

  • Systolic blood pressure (the top number) — indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls during heartbeats.
  • Diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) — indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.

Below is a chart from The American Heart Association explaining healthy and unhealthy blood pressure ranges.

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