Yesterday You Were Fine, Today You Have High Blood Pressure

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on March 1, 2018 · 0 comments

In an effort to prevent costly and life-threatening chronic diseases public health messages change as we learn more about certain conditions. To lower the risk for heart disease and stroke the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiologists recently announced revised blood pressure categories.

The purpose of these changes is to diagnose individuals earlier and help them lower their blood pressure instead of waiting for the condition to become more advanced. The biggest change in the new guidelines is that previously high blood pressure was diagnosed with readings of 140/80. Now high blood pressure will be diagnosed at 130/80, which means more people categorized as having high blood pressure.

Here are the new blood pressure categories which will help you understand your doctor’s recommendations at your next visit.

Normal: Less than 120/80

Elevated: Systolic (top number) between 120 to 129 and diastolic (lower number) less than 80.

Stage 1 Hypertension: Systolic between 130 to 139 or diastolic between 80 to 89.

Stage 2 Hypertension: Systolic 140 or higher and diastolic 90 or higher.

Hypertensive Crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120. If your blood pressure is at this level you need to consult with your doctor immediately.

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