Recommended Blood Pressure Levels (Systolic/Diastolic)

By Carol Ann Rinzler, Martin W. Graf

Part of Controlling Cholesterol For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Having high blood pressure, or hypertension, causes your heart to work harder than normal to pump blood. Get a blood pressure test and look at your numbers to see if you’re at risk for health problems related to high blood pressure.

Blood Pressure Category Systolic (1st Number) Diastolic (2nd Number)
Normal less than 120* less than 80*
Prehypertension 120–139 80–89
Stage 1 140–159 90–99
Stage 2 160 or higher 100 or higher

*All figures measured in mm/Hg (millimeters/mercury). Source: The American Heart Association.