\our doctor measures two numbers when checking your blood pressure, systolic and diastolic. Systolic pressure is the top, larger number. This represents the amount of pressure that is in your arteries while your heart contracts (or beats). During this contraction, blood is ejected from the heart and into the blood vessels that travel throughout your body.
Diastolic pressure is the bottom, smaller number. This represents the pressure in your arteries while your heart is relaxing between beats. During this relaxation period, your heart is filling up with blood for the next squeeze. Although both numbers are critically important, your doctor might be more concerned with an elevated diastolic number because this indicates that there is increased pressure on the artery walls even when your heart is resting.
Was this article helpful?