Understanding the Difference Between Your Systolic and Diastolic Numbers

Understanding the Difference Between Your Systolic and Diastolic Numbers

Blood pressure is the force your blood exerts on the walls of your arteries. It’s a key health indicator because it represents how hard your heart is working to pump blood throughout your body. 

When you measure your blood pressure, you get two numbers. The systolic number is first, and the diastolic number is second. Both give you important information about your heart health — and if your blood pressure is high, understanding the differences could save your life.

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a chronic health condition that can lead to more serious issues, including heart disease and heart attack. As primary care specialists in Fort Worth, Texas, our team at Medical Associates Of North Texas is dedicated to helping you manage your high blood pressure and lower your risk.

Here’s what you need to know about systolic blood pressure versus diastolic blood pressure.

How to read your blood pressure numbers

Blood always exerts pressure on your arteries. And every time your heart beats, it pushes blood through your arteries to the rest of your body. Systolic numbers measure the stress during heartbeats, and diastolic numbers measure the pressure in between.

Systolic blood pressure

Your systolic number measures the pressure in your arteries during a heartbeat. It’s the first of two numbers in your blood pressure measurement.

For adults, a healthy systolic blood pressure is below 120. Elevated systolic pressure is between 120 and 129. We diagnose stage 1 hypertension when your systolic number is between 130 and 139 and stage 2 hypertension at 140 or more.

High systolic blood pressure is the most common type of hypertension. It happens when your arteries get stiffer, usually due to aging.

Diastolic blood pressure

Your diastolic number measures the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats. It’s the second number in your blood pressure measurement.

Normal diastolic blood pressure is below 80 for adults. We diagnose stage 1 hypertension for diastolic readings between 80 and 89 and stage 2 hypertension for 90 or more.

Even if your diastolic blood pressure is in the normal range, you might be diagnosed with hypertension if your systolic number is too high.

What to do if you have high blood pressure

Did you find out you have high blood pressure at a recent doctor’s appointment? You’re not alone. Nearly half of all American adults have high blood pressure, and it’s treatable.

Our team at Medical Associates Of North Texas offers chronic condition management to help you lower your blood pressure and your risk of related complications.

We often start by recommending lifestyle changes. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your blood pressure naturally. If you smoke, quitting makes a big difference. We may also prescribe blood pressure medication.

Proactively managing your blood pressure is one of the best ways to protect and improve your heart health. Ready to schedule a personalized evaluation? Call our office at 972-433-7178 or send us a message online to get started.

You Might Also Enjoy...

How Can a Dietician Help Me Lose Weight?

When trying to lose weight, healthy eating is essential — but what does a healthy diet look like? A registered dietician can help you answer that question. See how working with a dietician could help you achieve your goals.

Is My Type 2 Diabetes Reversible?

Millions of Americans have Type 2 diabetes. It’s a chronic metabolic condition with no cure, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have treatment options. Learn more about what a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis means and how treatment can protect your health.

The Importance of Primary Care

When you’re feeling good, going to the doctor might be the last thing on your mind. But primary care is essential for everyone — and it can help you enjoy better health throughout your life. Here’s how.

The Dangers of Ignoring a Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common, and they can be very painful. Plus, untreated UTI can increase your risk of some serious complications. Learn the signs and why they shouldn’t be ignored, then find treatment here.

Living with Emphysema

Emphysema is a progressive lung disease that makes breathing difficult. There’s no cure, but actively managing it can help you live better and breathe easier. Find expert care and tips for living with emphysema here.

When Does a Cut Need Stitches?

When you find yourself with a cut or laceration, it’s important to know what to do next. Minor cuts may not require professional care, but more serious injuries may need stitches. Learn when your cut needs the attention of a medical pro.