Blood Pressure Home > Normal Adult Blood Pressure

An average reading of 120/80 or below is considered a normal blood pressure for adults. However, "normal" blood pressure can vary from person to person based on factors such as overall health and family history. To determine if your blood pressure is normal, have multiple readings taken on different days.

What Is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the amount of force (pressure) that blood exerts on the walls of the blood vessels as it passes through them. Most healthcare providers agree that normal adult blood pressure can vary within a range. However, blood pressure can also be too high or too low -- both of which can cause problems.

Defining Normal Blood Pressure for Adults

Having your blood pressure taken is quick and painless. The device that your healthcare provider will most likely use to measure blood pressure is called a sphygmomanometer.
The two numbers that measure your blood pressure are written like a fraction: one number on top and one on the bottom. A normal adult blood pressure reading is generally considered to be 120/80 or below; however, normal blood pressure can actually vary based on factors such as family history and lifestyle. As a result, normal blood pressure may fall anywhere between 90/60 to 120/80, depending on these factors.
The top number in a blood pressure reading refers to the systolic pressure. It measures the pressure inside your blood vessels at the moment your heart beats. The bottom number represents your diastolic pressure. It measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart is resting between heartbeats.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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