Blood pressure is the force exerted against the walls of your arteries as blood moves through them. There are two parts to a blood pressure measurement: systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the pressure exerted in your blood vessels when your heart contracts and pushes blood throughout your body. Diastolic pressure is the pressure exerted in your blood vessels between heartbeats, when your heart is resting.

Blood pressure is considered normal when the systolic pressure is 130 or less and the diastolic pressure is 85 or less. This is written as a fraction. One example is 130/85 mmHg, which is read as 130 over 85. The systolic pressure is the top number, and the diastolic is the bottom number. Both numbers are important.

Blood pressure is considered high-normal if either of these is true.

  • The systolic pressure is 131 to 139.
  • The diastolic pressure is 86 to 89.

Blood pressure is considered high if either of these is true.

  • The systolic pressure is 140 or higher.
  • The diastolic pressure is 90 or higher.