Medical Q&As

Blood pressure - normal range?

I am a fifty-year-old man and I am taking medication for blood pressure. What should my blood pressure be after medication?

When a GP measures a personís blood pressure two figures are usually recorded. The first figure is known as the systolic blood pressure, which is a measure of the pressure within the arteries when the heart muscle is contracting and pumping blood from the heart throughout the circulatory system. The second figure is known as the diastolic pressure, which is the pressure within the arteries when the heart muscle is relaxing between each contraction. The systolic and diastolic pressures are usually recorded as follows; 120/80, where 120 refers to the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure. We tend to pay more attention to the diastolic pressure when monitoring a personís blood pressure while on treatment. As a general rule of thumb once the diastolic pressure is less than 90 the blood pressure is considered to be adequately controlled. Most doctors would also like to see the systolic pressure being less than 160. It is important to realise that blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day depending on the personís level of physical activity. For example you would expect blood pressure to be low during sleep whereas it would be significantly higher if a person were running to catch a bus.