when blood pressure is too high

You’ll generally be diagnosed with high blood pressure if your systolic blood pressure reaches between 140 and 159 mm Hg, or if your diastolic blood pressure reaches between 90 and 99 mm Hg. This is considered stage 1 hypertension.

However, the AHA notes that if you get only one reading this high, you may not truly have high blood pressure. What determines the diagnosis of hypertension at any stage is if your numbers remain this high over a period of time.

Your doctor can help you measure and track your blood pressure to confirm whether it’s too high. You may need to start taking medications if your blood pressure doesn’t improve after one month of following a healthy lifestyle.

If you are 60 years or older and do not have a history of stroke, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, your doctor may not recommend treatment unless your BP is regularly greater than 150/90 mmHg.

Stage 2 high blood pressure indicates an even more serious condition. If your blood pressure reading shows a top number of 160 or more, or a bottom number of 100 or more, it’s considered stage 2 hypertension.

At this stage, your doctor will recommend one or more medications for keeping your blood pressure under control. But you should not rely solely on medications to treat hypertension. Lifestyle habits are just as important in stage 2 as they are in the other stages

Some medications that can complement a healthy lifestyle include:

ACE inhibitors to relax blood vessels
alpha-blockers used for decreasing arterial resistance
beta-blockers to decrease heart rate and relax blood vessels
calcium channel blockers to relax blood vessels
diuretics to decrease the amount of fluid in your body, including your blood vessels