High blood pressure (hypertension) is a leading contributor to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and other serious and potentially deadly conditions. It is widespread, affecting at least a third of the adult population worldwide. Still, high blood pressure can be prevented or managed to avoid these deadly complications.
Small decreases in blood pressure can really help your heart. Every five point decrease in blood pressure reduces your risk of heart attack by 21%.
Know Your Blood Pressure
National blood pressure guidelines were updated November 2017. If your blood pressure is elevated, talk with your health care provider. If your blood pressure is in the high blood pressure range (stages 1 & 2), see your health care provider soon. If your systolic blood pressure is higher than 180, and/or your diastolic blood pressure is higher than 120, get emergency care now.
|BLOOD PRESSURE CATEGORY||SYSTOLIC mm Hg
|DIASTOLIC mm Hg
|NORMAL||Less than 120||and||Less than 80|
|ELEVATED||120-129||and||Less than 80|
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
|HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
(HYPERTENSION) STAGE 2
|140 or higher||or||90 or higher|
(consult your doctor immediately)
|Higher than 180||and/or||Higher than 120|
Talk to Your Healthcare Provider
Work with your healthcare provider to figure out how to best manage your blood pressure. Some people require medication to reach their heart health goals. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions.
Make Lifestyle Changes
- Focus on achieving a healthy weight. Even a small amount of weight loss can provide big health benefits.
- Lower your sodium intake (PDF).
- Eat a healthy diet. One good example is the DASH Eating Plan.
- Be physically active.
- Live tobacco-free. You can get help quitting.
- If you drink, limit your alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per day for men and one for women.
- Manage stress