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Understanding the Updated Blood Pressure Guidelines

blood pressure cuff on a table

New Blood Pressure Guidelines for Heart Health

The American Heart Association released new standards for healthy blood pressure readings at the end of 2017. The new guidelines encourage better control early on to help avoid more serious health conditions down the road.

The updated blood pressure categories include the following.

  • Normal
  • Elevated
  • Hypertension Stage 1
  • Hypertension Stage 2
  • Hypertensive Crisis

chart comparing blood pressure guidelines

A normal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80. Please speak with your doctor if multiple readings taken at home or elsewhere are above 120/80. More detail regarding the updated blood pressure categories can be found on the American Heart Association website.

Because of the new guidelines, more people will be told they are at risk for high blood pressure. Fortunately for many, doctors may recommend lifestyle changes alone, without the need for medication.

How to control blood pressure

Try these healthy habits to control blood pressure.

  • Eat a balanced, low-salt diet
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • Exercise regularly
  • Manage your stress level
  • Quit smoking
  • Take medications as prescribed

Managing blood pressure can lower risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney damage and other chronic illnesses. Making small changes now may result in big benefits later in life.

Visit for free, interactive programs on blood pressure.

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