While 120/80 used to be considered normal, the new American Heart Association guidelines define three levels of abnormal blood pressure values.
- 120-139 / 80-89 is now considered to be prehypertension (or Almost High Blood Pressure"), and doctors are watching blood pressures in this range more carefully than in the past.
- 140/90 is the cutoff for Stage 1 Hypertension. Stage 1 Hypertension may or may not be treated with medicines, depending on lifestyle and other risk factors.
- Systolic pressures above 160, or diastolic pressures above 100, patients are classified as having Stage 2 Hypertension, a serious condition that warrants immediate medical treatment.