What is Pulse Pressure?

Pulse pressure, also known as pulse pressure (PP), is an important indicator of the health of the heart and blood vessels. It's the difference between the systolic blood pressure (the pressure in the arteries during the heartbeat) and the diastolic blood pressure (the pressure in the arteries during the resting phase of the heart). The pulse pressure depends on the force with which the heart contracts, the elasticity of the vessels (arteriosclerosis) and the strength of the blood flow (perfusion).

Measure pulse pressure

Doctors can measure the PP during a routine blood pressure measurement. If your PP is above normal, further medical evaluation and treatment may be advised. This may include making lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, quitting smoking and reducing stress. Medication can also be prescribed if necessary.


Normal pulse pressure

A normal pulse pressure or pulse pressure normal value is between 30 and 40 mmHg. This means that if your blood pressure is, for example, 120 over 80 mmHg, your pulse rate is 40 mmHg (120-80=40). Around this value is considered healthy with healthy heart function.


Low PP

A low pulse pressure means that the difference between the upper and lower pressures is less than 30 mmHg. This may be a sign that there is poor heart function. However, little research has been done on this. Rather, a high PP is looked at.


High pulse pressure

An elevated pulse pressure is a pressure greater than 60 mmHg. A high PP can be a sign of cardiovascular disease, such as atherosclerosis and heart failure. Atherosclerosis, yes arteriosclerosis is a condition in which cholesterol and other substances build up in the arteries, restricting blood flow. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart no longer functions properly and does not pump enough blood. Both conditions can lead to increased PP.

A pulse pressure higher than 60 mmHg can be very dangerous. Always contact your doctor with such high values.


PP and age

As we get older we see that the PP increases. This may be due to the leaking of an aortic valve or, for example, due to arteriosclerosis.

It is important to know that high pulse pressure is not always a sign of a condition. Some people naturally have high PP, while others have low PP. If you are concerned about your PP, it is wise to discuss this with your doctor. They can evaluate your health to determine if further steps are needed.

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