Got your attention? The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association certainly grabbed mine as they recently offered a new definition of high blood pressure (hypertension). The bottom line? Normal blood pressure is under 120/80 (mm Hg, or millimeters of mercury), whereas up until this month, normal was under 140/90. Now, elevated blood pressure (without a diagnosis of hypertension) is systolic blood pressure (top number) between 120 and 129.

  • Stage 1 high blood pressure is now between 130 and 139 systolic (top number) or between 80 and 89 (bottom number).
  • Stage 2 high blood pressure is now over 140 systolic (top number) or 90 diastolic (bottom number).

These measurements should be obtained from at least two careful readings on at least two different occasions. And don’t check after you have just rushed into the doctor’s office, or had a caffeine-containing beverage like coffee.

Why should this matter to you? There is a clear connection between high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke. A 20 point higher systolic blood pressure or  10-point higher diastolic blood pressure may double your risk from a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular complication (such as heart failure or an aortic aneurysm).

In our next blog, we’ll turn to some of the diet and lifestyle changes that may allow some people to avoid medicines. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter (and I have used exercise and diet to drive my own blood pressure to 86/60).

I’m Dr. Michael Hunter. Wanna learn more? Click the word Wellness at the top of the page. If you found value in this blog, please go to the comment section and check the follow blog box. Thanks!



Dr. Michael Hunter