Healthcare professionals use a variety of assessments, measurements, and screenings to assess and track health. But what do these numbers mean? Below we will explore what some of these measurements mean for our health.

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against your arterial walls. A blood pressure measurement consists of two numbers. The top number refers to the systolic pressure, or the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart is beating. The bottom number is your diastolic pressure, which measures the pressure in your blood vessels while your heart is resting between beats. Blood pressure can change throughout the day, but chronically high blood pressure can be detrimental to your health.

Blood Pressure Levels

Normal

  • Systolic: less than 120 mmHg
  • Diastolic: less than 80mmHg

Prehypertension (At Risk)

  • Systolic: 120–139 mmHg
  • Diastolic: 80–89 mmHg

Hypertension

  • Systolic: 140 mmHg or higher
  • Diastolic: 90 mmHg or higher

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a quick and simple assessment to measure an individual weight in proportion to their height. After calculating BMI, an individual is placed into a weight category as underweight, healthy or normal weight, overweight, and obese. An elevated BMI has been linked with an increased risk for disease.

BMI Ranges

Formula = weight (kg)/height (m2)

  • Underweight: <18.5
  • Healthy Weight: 18.5-24.9
  • Overweight: 25-29.9
  • Obese: >30

Quick Tips

  • Get your blood pressure measured regularly by a health professional.
  • Know that physical activity and a healthy diet can help regulate and maintain a healthy blood pressure.
  • Get your BMI measured by a health professional to be aware of your numbers.
  • Know that BMI does not take into account muscle, only your total body weight.

 

Sources: CDC, NIH. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.

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