Blood pressure measures the pressure that is in the arteries when the heart is at rest as well as when it is actively pumping. Understanding the normal blood pressure levels can help you evaluate the health of your cardiovascular system.
For adults, the normal blood pressure reading is less than 120 mm Hg for the systolic pressure and less than 80 mm Hg for the diastolic pressure. The systolic pressure is the pressure when the heart is actively pumping, whereas the diastolic pressure is the arterial pressure when the heart is at rest.
Normal blood pressure readings in children vary depending on the age, sex and height of the child. In general, normal blood pressure is higher for males and increases with increasing age and height, but the normal numbers must be determined by looking at a chart. Many doctors recommend routinely measuring blood pressure beginning at age 3.
It is important to note that one abnormally high reading does not mean that a person has high blood pressure. Blood pressure can fluctuate significantly from one reading to the next, so an average of multiple readings taken over several days should be used when evaluating blood pressure numbers.