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Systolic blood pressure greater than 140 or
Diastolic blood pressure greater than 90 or
Taking medications for high blood pressure
Systolic vs Diastolic: The blood pressure (BP) reading is written as two numbers, the systolic pressure and the diastolic pressure. For example, if a person had a BP of 130/65, then 130 would be the systolic blood pressure and 65 would be the diastolic blood pressure.
Definition of High Blood Pressure: An adult has hypertension (high blood pressure) if the blood pressure (BP) readings consistently show a BP greater than 140/90, that is, a systolic BP over 140 OR a diastolic BP over 90.
Untreated hypertension may cause damage to the heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes.
Automatic home BP measurement devices can sometimes be unreliable. You should check your BP in both arms. If there is another adult in the home, consider checking his/her BP to see if the device is functioning correctly. If there is any doubt, go in to your doctor's office to get your blood pressure checked.
Blood Pressure Classification in Adults
Normal: less than 120/80
Prehypertension: between 120-139/80-89
Hypertension - Stage 1: between 140-159/90-99
Hypertension - Stage 2: greater than 159/99
You think you are having a stroke or a heart attack
Difficult to awaken or acting confused
You feel weak or very sick
Your BP is over 200 / 120
Your BP is over 140/90 and you are more than 20 weeks pregnant
Pregnant with hand or face swelling
You think you need to be seen
Your BP is over 180 / 110 (and you are feeling fine)
Your BP is over 140 / 90 and you are less than 20 weeks pregnant
You ran out of BP medications
Taking BP medications and you think you are having side effects (e.g., impotence, cough, dizziness)
You have other questions or concerns
Your BP is over 140 / 90 (and you are feeling fine)
Your BP is over 130 / 80 and you have any heart problems, kidney disease or diabetes
Your BP is over 120 / 80 and no improvement one month after lifestyle modifications (see Home Care Advice)
Your BP is between 120-139 / 80-89 (prehypertension), you are feeling fine, and you don't think you need to be seen.
Your BP is less than 120 / 80 (normal blood pressure), and you don't think you need to be seen
Untreated high blood pressure may cause damage to the heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes.
Treatment of high blood pressure can reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart failure.
The goal of blood pressure treatment for most patients with hypertension is to keep the blood pressure under 140/90.
BP 120-139 / 80-89
This is considered borderline high blood pressure, or "prehypertension".
Sometimes, changes in your lifestyle can reduce your blood pressure without medications.
If your blood pressure stays elevated during the next month, you should go in to see the doctor and get your blood pressure checked.
BP less than 120 / 80
This is considered normal blood pressure
Lifestyle Changes - The following lifestyle changes can help you reduce your blood pressure:
Maintain a healthy weight. Lose weight if you are overweight.
Do 30 minutes of aerobic physical activity (e.g., brisk walking) most days of the week.
Eat a diet high in fresh fruits and low fat dairy products. Limit your intake of saturated and total fat. Choose foods that are lower in salt.
If you smoke, you should stop.
If you drink alcohol, you should limit your daily alcohol drinking. Women should have no more than one drink per day. Men should have no more than 2 drinks per day. A drink is defined as 1.5 oz hard liquor (one shot or jigger), 5 oz wine (small glass), or 12 oz beer (one can).
Call Your Doctor If:
Headache, blurred vision, difficulty talking or difficulty walking occurs
Chest pain or difficulty breathing occurs
You want to go in to the office for a blood pressure check
You become worse
What to Do When You Miss a Dose of Your Blood Pressure Medication:
Generally, you should take a missed dose as soon as you remember.
If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time.
Do NOT take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
My Blood Pressure Wallet Card. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/hbpwallet.htm
Your Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/hbp_low/index.htm