Date Updated: 02/28/2024

High blood pressure is called hypertension. This blood pressure chart can help you figure out if your blood pressure is at a healthy level. It also can help you understand if you need to take some steps to improve your numbers.

Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). A blood pressure reading has two numbers.

  • Top number, called systolic pressure. The top number measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats.
  • Bottom number, called diastolic pressure. The bottom number measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats.

The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association divide blood pressure into four general categories. Ideal blood pressure is categorized as normal. Increased blood pressure may be categorized as elevated, stage 1 or stage 2 depending on the specific numbers.

A diagnosis of high blood pressure is usually based on the average of two or more readings taken on separate visits. The first time your blood pressure is checked, it should be measured in both arms to see if there is a difference. After that, the arm with the higher reading should be used. An accurate reading is important. It helps your healthcare team decide what kind of treatment you may need, if any.

Here's a look at the four blood pressure categories and what they mean for you. If your top and bottom numbers fall into two different categories, your correct blood pressure category is the higher category. For example, if your blood pressure reading is 125/85 mm Hg, you have stage 1 hypertension.

Top number (systolic) in mm Hg And/or Bottom number (diastolic) in mm Hg Blood pressure category* What to do†

Sources: American College of Cardiology; American Heart Association

*Ranges may be lower for children and teenagers. Talk to your child's care provider if you're concerned that your child has high blood pressure.

†These recommendations address high blood pressure as a single health condition. If you also have heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease or certain other conditions, you may need to treat your blood pressure more aggressively.

Below 120 and Below 80 Normal blood pressure Maintain or adopt a healthy lifestyle.
120 to 129 and Below 80 Elevated blood pressure Maintain or adopt a healthy lifestyle.
130 to 139 or 80 to 89 Stage 1 hypertension Maintain or adopt a healthy lifestyle. Talk to a healthcare professional about taking one or more medicines.
140 or higher or 90 or higher Stage 2 hypertension Maintain or adopt a healthy lifestyle. Talk to a healthcare professional about taking more than one medicine.

A blood pressure measurement over 180/120 mm Hg is called a hypertensive emergency or crisis. Seek emergency medical help for anyone with these blood pressure numbers.

Your healthcare team can tell you what the best blood pressure goal is for you.

If your blood pressure is OK, following a healthy lifestyle may prevent or delay high blood pressure or other health problems.

If your blood pressure is high, you may need lifestyle changes and medicines to control it and reduce the risk of complications, such as heart attacks and strokes.

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