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A change in blood pressure guidelines.

The American Heart Association changed the guidelines about what classifies as high blood pressure or hypertension. The latest data defines hypertension as a reading of 130 on the top (systolic) or 80 on the bottom (diastolic). In the past, the standard was 140/90. The guidelines are:

  • Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg;
  • Elevated: Systolic between 120–129 and diastolic less than 80;
  • Stage 1: Systolic between 130–139 or diastolic between 80–89
  • Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg;
  • Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage
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