The numbers

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Your blood pressure numbers show how hard your blood is pushing against the sides of your blood vessels (arteries) as it travels round your body.

When you have your blood pressure measured it is written like this: 120/80mmHg, which is said '120 over 80'. The first number is the systolic pressure, when your heart pushes blood around your body. The second is the diastolic pressure, when your heart relaxes.

Blood pressure usually ranges between 90 to 250 for the top or maximum number (systolic) and 60 to 140 for the bottom or minimum number (diastolic).

A healthy blood pressure is 120/80 or less, but the lower you can get it, the better. To maintain a healthy level and reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease, check out our lifestyle tips.

140/90mmHg is the level used to diagnose high blood pressure for everyone, whatever your age. It is important to remember that high blood pressure is never diagnosed after just one reading, but only when blood pressure levels are consistently at or greater than 140/90mmHg. If this is the case, it will need to be lowered.

Blood pressure monitors

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UK blood pressure results 2009

How does your region measure up?

Blood pressure stats from your region

'I had no idea'

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