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Blood pressure assessment is an integral part of clinical practice. Routinely, a patient’s blood pressure is obtained at every physical examination, including outpatient visits, at least daily when patients are hospitalized, and before most medical procedures.

Blood pressure measurements are obtained for a wide variety of reasons, including screening for hypertension, assessing a person’s suitability for a sport, or certain occupations, estimating cardiovascular risk and determining risk for various medical procedures.

Blood pressure is measured using two numbers. The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart rests between beats.
If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say “120 over 80” or write “120/80 mmHg.”

The chart below shows normal, at-risk, and high blood pressure levels. A blood pressure less than 120/80 mmHg is normal. A blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or more is too high. People with levels in between 120/80 and 140/90 have a condition called prehypertension, which means they are at high risk for high blood pressure. –

Blood Pressure Levels

  • Normal – systolic: less than 120 mmHg
  • diastolic: less than 80mmHg
  • At risk (Prehypertension)
  • systolic: 120–139 mmHg
  • diastolic: 80–89 mmHg
  • High
  • systolic: 140 mmHg or higher
  • diastolic: 90 mmHg or higher

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