Majid Ali, M.D.

It is pressure of blood within blood vessels.

My own blood pressure varies between 110 to 125 systolic (higher values) and between 60 to 70 diastolic (lower value). This is a good range for healthy individuals.

The expression 110/70 means the higher systolic value of 110 millimeters (mm) of mercury and a lower diastolic blood pressure of 70 millimeters of mercury. As an explanation, if I were to put a needle into the large artery at my elbow and connect it with tubing to a column of mercury, during systole (heart beat) the pressure of the blood in the artery will push the mercury column to a height of 110 mm (4.33 inches) of mercury. When the heart beat ends and diastole begins, the pressure of the blood in the artery will push the mercury column to a height of 70 mm of mercury.

It is our practice at the Institute of Integrative Medicine, New York, to measure blood pressure four ways: over the left and right upper arms, and in standing and supine (lying) positions. It is not uncommon to observe differences of ten to twenty points between the two sides and between the two postures.

I consider a blood pressure range from 100/60 to 140/90 normal; the closer the value to 110/70, the more desirable it is. The closer the value to 140/90, the greater the probability of developing high blood pressure (hypertension) as one grows older.

There are some individuals, like me, who have a stable blood pressure under various conditions of stress and frustration. The majority of the people, however, do not have such stability. It is common for me to see patients whose blood pressure fluctuates over a wide range—from 100 to 140 or higher under different conditions. When considering the blood pressure status of a given individual, it is evidently necessary to be aware of the normal range of blood pressure.


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