Diastolic blood pressure; Systolic blood pressure
In adults, the ideal top number (systolic pressure) should be less than 120 mmHg. The bottom number (diastolic pressure) should be less than 80 mmHg.
What abnormal results mean
- Top number is consistently 120 to 139 or the bottom number reads 80 to 89.
Stage 1: Mild high blood pressure:
- Top number is consistently 140 to 159 or the bottom number reads 90 to 99.
Stage 2: Moderate to severe high blood pressure:
- Top number is consistently 160 or over or the bottom number reads 100 or over.
Low blood pressure (hypotension):
- Top number reading lower than 90 or pressure 25 mmHg lower than usual
Blood pressure readings may be affected by many different conditions, including:
- Cardiovascular disorders
- Neurological conditions
- Kidney and urological disorders
Pre-eclampsiain pregnant women
- Psychological factors such as stress, anger, or fear
- Various medications
- "White coat hypertension" may occur if the medical visit itself produces anxiety
Review Date: 05/23/2010
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.