Blood pressure BP is the pressure of circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels. Most of this pressure is due to work done by the heart by pumping blood through the circulatory system. Used without further specification, "blood pressure" usually refers to the pressure in large arteries of the systemic circulation.
Your blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day. However, if your blood pressure stays high for a long time, it can damage your heart and lead to health problems. Chronic, or long-lasting, high blood pressure is also called hypertension.
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Automatic blood pressure monitors give you a systolic and diastolic blood pressure reading. Many of them also include a small number in parentheses underneath or beside your standard blood pressure reading. This number in parentheses is the mean arterial pressure MAP. As resistance in your arteries increases, blood pressure also increases while the flow of blood decreases.
It is considered a better indicator of perfusion to vital organs than systolic blood pressure SBP. True MAP can only be determined by invasive monitoring and complex calculations; however it can also be calculated using a formula of the SBP and the diastolic blood pressure DBP. To calculate a mean arterial pressure, double the diastolic blood pressure and add the sum to the systolic blood pressure.
If your institution subscribes to this resource, and you don't have a MyAccess Profile, please contact your library's reference desk for information on how to gain access to this resource from off-campus. After studying this chapter, you should be able to:. Describe the components of blood and lymph, their origins, and the role of hemoglobin in transporting oxygen in red blood cells.
Blood flow refers to the movement of blood through a vessel, tissue, or organ, and is usually expressed in terms of volume of blood per unit of time. It is initiated by the contraction of the ventricles of the heart. Ventricular contraction ejects blood into the major arteries, resulting in flow from regions of higher pressure to regions of lower pressure, as blood encounters smaller arteries and arterioles, then capillaries, then the venules and veins of the venous system.
High blood pressure is one of the most common health conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels. This is why visiting your doctor to get your blood pressure checked is so important. High blood pressure rarely has any noticeable symptoms.
This blood pressure chart can help you figure out if your blood pressure is at a healthy level or if you'll need to take some steps to improve your numbers. Your total blood pressure reading is determined by measuring your systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Systolic blood pressure, the top number, measures the force your heart exerts on the walls of your arteries each time it beats. Diastolic blood pressure, the bottom number, measures the force your heart exerts on the walls of your arteries in between beats.