Blood pressure numbers include systolic and diastolic pressures. Systolic
blood pressure is the pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood.
Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure when the heart is at rest between
beats. You will most often see blood pressure numbers written with the
systolic number above or before the diastolic, such as 120 over 80
millimeters of mercury. Millimeters of mercury are the units used to measure
There are several categories for blood pressure levels in adults, including
normal, prehypertension, stage 1 high blood pressure, and stage 2 high blood
Normal blood pressure is a systolic number less than 120 AND a diastolic
number less than 80. Prehypertension is a systolic number between 120 and
139 OR a diastolic number between 80 and 89. Stage 1 high blood pressure is
a systolic number between 140 and 159 OR a diastolic number between 90 and
99. Stage 2 high blood pressure is a systolic number of 160 or higher OR a
diastolic number of 100 or higher.
These ranges apply to most adults aged 18 and older who don’t have
short-term, serious illnesses. To see these categories and ranges in a handy
table format, call us for information on where this is available.
A number of unhealthy lifestyle habits can raise your risk for high blood
* Eating too much sodium, or salt,
* Drinking too much alcohol,
* Not getting enough potassium in your diet,
* Not doing enough physical activity, and
How Can High Blood Pressure Be Prevented?
If you don’t have high blood pressure, you can take steps to prevent it.
Lifestyle measures can help you maintain normal blood pressure.
* Follow a healthy eating plan,
* Lose weight if you’re overweight or obese,
* Do enough physical activity,
* Quit smoking, and
* Manage your stress and learn to cope with stress.
Information provided by nhibi.nih.gov