What is Mean Arterial Pressure?
Mean Arterial Pressure – also known as MAP – is the average pressure that can be measured in your arteries throughout a whole cardiac cycle. To understand this better, it is important to understand the key concepts behind arterial pressure as a whole.
What is Arterial Pressure?
Simply put, arterial pressure is the amount of pressure that blood exerts on your artery walls. This pressure stems from how the heart pumps blood into your arteries. Your arterial pressure is a result of your heart’s left ventricle activity.
The left ventricle expands and contracts to pump blood into your arteries. When it contracts, it exerts what is called “systolic pressure.” As the left ventricle relaxes, getting ready to pump blood again, the pressure falls. Pressure during this part of the cycle is termed “diastolic pressure.”
Full Cardiac Cycle
Left ventricle contraction that results systolic pressure and its subsequent relaxation – during which the ventricle fills up with blood and gets ready to pump it again – which results diastolic pressure, are both part of a full cardiac cycle. Therefore, both types of arterial pressure are needed to calculate your MAP.
How Mean Arterial Pressure is calculated
Given that both systolic and diastolic pressure play a role in arterial pressure, they both play a role in calculating Mean Arterial Pressure. The issue is that measuring systolic and diastolic pressure alone would not suffice to calculate MAP. When a healthcare professional measures your pressure, they get readings that include venous pressure as well.
To isolate arterial pressure, it is necessary to use more precise instruments. Blood pressure, nevertheless, can help healthcare professionals estimate arterial pressure. In order to estimate mean arterial pressure, healthcare professionals can use a formula that does the following:
- Subtracts diastolic pressure from systolic pressure
- Divides the result by three
- Adds the result of that to diastolic blood pressure
- To calculate MAP healthcare professionals must measure blood pressure at rest – resting heart rate
Arterial Pressure vs Blood Pressure
Arterial pressure and blood pressure are not the same. Arterial pressure deals only with the pressure that blood exerts on large arteries. Blood pressure considers the whole cardiovascular system. Therefore, MAP estimates are based on blood pressure measurements, but these measurements are only inputs in the formula to estimate Mean Arterial Pressure.
What is normal Mean Arterial Pressure?
Although the reading from the formula used to calculate MAP is not precise, it is a good approximation for healthcare professionals to understand whether or not their patient’s organs are getting enough blood or not. A normal MAP reading ranges between 65 mmHg and 110 mmHg.
What is MAP used for?
MAP helps doctors understand if your organs are getting the blood flow they need to work properly. In other words, if MAP is too low, your organs might not be getting enough blood flow to function properly. On the other hand, if your Mean Arterial Pressure is too high, you might be stressing your arteries too much, which can result in other complications that could subsequently affect your organs.
Should I be worried about my Mean Arterial Pressure?
If you believe you are having any issues with your Mean Arterial Pressure, you should contact your doctor. Your physician can help you understand if your MAP is within normal ranges and if not, how to get your measurements to a healthy range.
Remember, if your MAP is too low, your organs might not be getting the blood flow they need. This means other bodily functions could be affected. If your MAP is too high, then there is excess pressure on your arteries, which is bad for your cardiovascular system, but it could also affect the following:
- Organ damage
Keeping MAP within healthy ranges
Most of the steps you should take to keep MAP within normal ranges are the same as the ones you should take to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level. These steps include:
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Exercising regularly
- Cutting back on smoking and alcohol consumption
- Following up with your physician and getting regular medical check ups
If you need any further medical attention to keep your MAP within healthy ranges, your doctor will help you understand what the best course of action is. This might include prescription medicine.