American Heart Association Releases New Blood Pressure Guidelines

For the first time in 14 years, the American Heart Association (AHA) changed their blood pressure guidelines. The new guidelines have lowered the number for what’s considered high blood pressure, also called hypertension.



The result: Nearly half of American adults are now considered hypertensive.

Blood Pressure Guidelines

Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg
Elevated: Systolic 120-129 and Diastolic less than 80
Hypertension—Stage 1: Systolic 130-139 or Diastolic 80-89
Hypertension—Stage 2: Systolic140 and above or Diastolic 90 and above
Hypertensive Crisis: Systolic 180 and/or Diastolic over 120

Source: American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association



High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

​When your heart beats, it pumps blood through the blood vessels. The force of the blood against the blood vessel wall is called blood pressure. The higher number (systolic) occurs after the heart beats. The lower number (diastolic) is the pressure on the blood vessel in between heartbeats.

If the blood vessel becomes narrowed or clogged, the heart has to pump harder to deliver blood to the tissues. This causes your blood pressure to go up. High blood pressure (hypertension) is a silent killer.

You usually do not notice anything until vital organs are damaged.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to:
  • Heart Problems
  • Kidney Failure
  • Stroke
What You Can Do to Lower Your Blood Pressure:
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Lose weight.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Lower salt intake.
  • Exercise.
  • Take your medicine.
  • Avoid or control diabetes.
  • Boost potassium-rich foods.
  • Limit alcohol.

For more information on managing your blood pressure, visit:

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