What is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure refers to the force exerted by circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels and constitutes one of the principal vital signs. The pressure of the circulating blood decreases as blood moves through arteries, arterioles, capillaries, and veins; the term blood pressure generally refers to arterial pressure, i.e., the pressure in the larger arteries, arteries being the blood vessels which take blood away from the heart.

NOTE: Blood pressure is NOT the same as heart rate (pulse).

You can calculate your predicted maximum heart rate by using the calculation: 220 – (age) = Age Predicted Maximum Heart Rate.

Blood pressure is always given as two numbers;

  • Systolic Pressure (when the heart beats)
  • Diastolic Pressure (when the heart relaxes)

When the measurements are written down, both are written one above, or before, the other with the systolic being the first number.

 

Age   Systolic Pressure (mm Hg)   Diastolic Pressure (mm Hg)
   
3 to 6   116   76
7 to 10   122   78
11 to 13   126   82
14 to 16   136   86
17 to 19   120   85
20 to 24   120   79
25 to 29   121   80
30 to 34   122   81
35 to 39   123   82
40 to 44   125   83
45 to 49   127   84
50 to 54   129   85
55 to 59   131   86
60+   134   87