Blood Pressure Categories

The American Heart Association recommends blood pressure screening occur starting at age 20, unless a medical condition would require a patient younger than 20 years of age be checked.  Blood pressure readings defined by the American Heart Association include normal, prehypertension, two stages of hypertension, and hypertensive crisis.  Prehypertension is a designation meant to alert patients of a need to intervene and prevent hypertension.  Patients in this designation have increasing health risks and need to make major lifestyle changes to return to a normal reading.  If changes are not made, prehypertension may progress into hypertension – a serious health risk.  Treatment options for hypertension usually require prescription medications and should be discussed, prescribed, and monitored by a physician.


Blood Pressure Category Systolic
mm Hg
Diastolic
mm Hg
Normal (optimum) <120 <80
Prehypertension 120–139 80–89
Hypertension (Stage 1) 140–159 90–99
Hypertension (Stage 2) >160 >100
Hypertensive Crisis >180 >110
Source: American Heart Association 2015