High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is a common condition that can have serious health consequences, contributing to nearly 500,000 deaths per year in the United States. Nearly 1 out of 2 adults—around 108 million—have high blood pressure, and only 1 in 4 have their condition under control. Fortunately, high blood pressure is preventable and treatable.

Systolic mmHg Diastolic mmHg
Normal Less than 120 Less than 80
Elevated 120-129 Less than 80
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 1 130-139 80-89
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 2 140 or higher 90 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis (consult your doctor immediately) Higher than 180 Higher than 120

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  • Quick Facts

    • The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association published new guidelines for hypertension management and defined high hypertension as a blood pressure at or above 130/80 mmHg. Stage 2 hypertension is defined as a blood pressure at or above 140/90 mmHg. 1
    • High blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for 516,955 people in the United States in 2019.  1
    • In 2019, more than half a million deaths in the United States had hypertension as a primary or contributing cause.  1
    • About half of adults (45%) with uncontrolled hypertension have a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher. This includes 37 million U.S. adults.  1
  • Prevention

    Eat a Healthy Diet

    • Consider the D.A.S.H. (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan from National Institutes of Health, which has been shown to reduce elevated blood pressure.
    • Read food labels. Consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day.
    • Limit sodium in the foods you eat, especially added salt, processed foods, and canned soups.
    • Potassium helps to prevent and control high blood pressure. Choose fruits and vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, lima beans, and bananas.
    • Learn more about healthy eating and the D.A.S.H. eating plan from the Optima Health “Eating for Life” program.

    Maintain a Healthy Weight

    • Being overweight increases your risk of developing high blood pressure.
    • Losing even 10 pounds can lower blood pressure and has the greatest effect for those who are overweight and already have hypertension.

    Stay Physically Active

    • Being physically active can prevent or control high blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease.
    • Your goal should be at least 30 minutes of moderate-level physical activity on most days of the week, like brisk walking, bicycling, raking leaves, and gardening.

    Limit Alcohol Intake

    • Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure.
    • If you drink alcoholic beverages, have only a moderate amount; one drink a day for women, two drinks a day for men. Check with your physician about how your health may be affected by drinking alcohol.

    Don’t Use Tobacco

    Tobacco use injures blood vessel walls and speeds up artery damage. If you use tobacco, quit. Once you quit, your risk of having a heart attack is reduced after the first year.

    Take Your Medication

    If your doctor has prescribed medication for your high blood pressure, make sure you take it every day.

    Get Regular Checkups With Your Physician

    Visit your doctor regularly to have your weight and blood pressure checked, and to schedule preventive health screenings.

  • Risk Factors

    • Elevated Blood Pressure
    • Diabetes
    • Unhealthy diet
    • Physical Inactivity
    • Obesity
    • Genetics and Family History
    • Other characteristics—age, sex, race or ethnicity

1 Facts About Hypertension | CDC