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Blood pressure measures two numbers. This is the blood pressure of your body when the heart pumps, which is highest, and then when the heart is at rest, which is lowest. Theoretically, the two numbers give you a range of what your blood pressure is like at its highest and lowest numbers. So if you say your blood pressure is "140/80" (said as "140 over 80"), then the idea is that your blood pressure is always in the range of 80 to 140, depending on whether the heart pumps or not.
So that explains why the doctor or nurse listens with the stethoscope pressed on your arm. They watch the pressure measurement go up and down. They take the higher number when they hear a heartbeat, and a lower number between heart beats. And they also count the heartbeats to get a pulse measurement at the same time.
The upper number should always be more than the lower number. The two numbers have official names:
Although the desirable target numbers depend on various factors, a commonly cited healthy blood pressure is 120/80. Ideally, the diastolic lower number should be below 80, and the systolic upper number should be below 140. Too high numbers mean high blood pressure called "hypertension". But you also don't want them too low, which is low blood pressure called "hypotension".
Disease or Condition count: 3; see list of conditions below. These are the diseases or medical conditions in which the medical test 'Blood pressure tests' may be involved.
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