How is blood pressure measured?
A doctor or nurse can listen to your blood pressure by placing a stethoscope on your artery and pumping up a cuff placed around your arm. The blood pressure is read on a special meter. It is recorded as two numbers:
Systolic blood pressure – the first number; the amount of pressure against the artery walls each time the heart contracts or squeezes blood out of your heart.
Diastolic blood pressure – the second number; the amount of pressure inside your arteries when your heart is at rest, in between heartbeats.
Your blood pressure recording is not always the same. When you are exercising or excited, your blood pressure goes up. If you are at rest, your blood pressure will be lower. This is a normal response to changes in activity or emotion. Age, medications, and changes in position can also affect blood pressure.