Commit to a Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Systolic is less than 120 and my diastolic is less than 80

Great job! Your blood pressure is normal. To keep your readings in this range, stick with heart-healthy habits like following a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.

Systolic is 120 – 129 and my diastolic is less than 80

The good news is that you don’t have high blood pressure. However, your numbers fall within the Elevated category, making you more likely to develop high blood pressure unless you take action to control it. Ready to make some small changes that have big impacts? Healthy lifestyle choices are a great place to start.

Systolic is 130 – 139 or my diastolic is 80 – 89

You are in the first stage of hypertension, but there are actions you can take to get your blood pressure under control. Your doctor will speak to you about small changes that can make a big difference and other BP Raisers. In addition, monitoring blood pressure outside of the doctor’s office is important for BP control. Use one of AHA’s local or digital resources to easily track your numbers.

Systolic is 140 or higher or my diastolic is 90 or higher

It looks like you have Stage 2 Hypertension. Don’t be discouraged because with lifestyle changes, in conjunction with medication that your doctor will most likely prescribe, you’ll be on your way to reducing your blood pressure. In addition, monitoring blood pressure outside of the doctor’s office is important for BP control. Use one of AHA’s local or digital resources to easily track your numbers.

Systolic is higher than 180 and/or my diastolic is higher than 120

Your BP falls within the Hypertensive crisis category and requires immediate attention. If your numbers suddenly spiked to or above 180/120 mm Hg, from where they usually are, wait five minutes and test your blood pressure again. If it remains high, contact your doctor immediately as you could be experiencing a hypertensive crisis.

Creating a Plan with Your Doctor

Lower Your HBP WorksheetCommitting to a plan to control high blood pressure (HBP) is important – but it doesn’t always come easily. Partnering with your doctor is the key to finding a routine that you can actually stick with. Let your doctor know what’s making it tough to stick with your treatment plan (such as a busy schedule, finding time for exercise, or the cost of medication). The high blood pressure worksheet below provides a structure of what to do before, during and after your appointment to help you create a personalized high blood pressure treatment plan with your doctor.

Answer These Questions Before Seeing Your Doctor (PDF)

Before The Appointment

Take Note Of:

  • How have you been feeling?
  • Is anything preventing you from sticking to your current plan?
  • Any changes in your blood pressure?
  • Any side effects from any medication or symptoms?
  • How do you treat your side effects and/or symptoms?
  • What questions or concerns do you have for your doctor?

Bring:

  • High Blood Pressure Worksheet (PDF)
  • List of all your medicines (including OTC, vitamins, and herbs)
  • Pen and paper or recording device
  • The right mindset:
    • Be your own health advocate
    • Identify a meaningful goal for why you want to improve your health

During The Appointment

Be honest with how you’ve been feeling. Tell your doctor if you’ve been having any symptoms or side effects, and talk through any questions you may have about your prescribed blood pressure plan and medication moving forward. If you have any concerns, discuss them with your doctor and the two of you can work together to find a solution that works for you.

Ask Questions

Part of being your own health advocate is getting all the information you need. If language is a barrier, bring someone with you who can translate and help you get all the information you need.

Write Things Down

Ask your doctor to write down your blood pressure treatment plan for you. Also, you can ask your doctor if you can record the visit on a tape recorder or your phone.

Understand Your Blood Pressure Numbers

Learn how often, where, and how your numbers should be checked.

After The Appointment

Take Your Medication

Resources for getting discounts for your prescriptions:

Keep Track Of:

  • Your medication and usage
  • How you’re feeling: side effects, energy levels, etc.
  • Questions you have for your doctor
  • Your blood pressure numbers

Commit to a Blood Pressure Treatment Plan

If you fall off the plan one day, get back on track the next day. If you find it too hard to stick to your high blood pressure treatment plan, talk with your doctor about making a plan that’s more manageable for you. Remember that committing to your plan is the best way to avoid the consequences of high blood pressure. For tips to help you stick to your plan; go to the Manage Your High Blood Pressure page.