First Update of Healthy Blood Pressure Guidelines in 14 Years Impacts Nearly Half of U.S. Adults

The American Heart Association (AHA) has changed the definition of healthy blood pressure levels for the first time in 14 years. Here is what you need to know about these new guidelines and if you’d like to read more about this announcement, you can visit the American Heart Association’s website at

46% of U.S. adults impacted by new guidelines

With the new guidelines announced by the American Heart Association, the number of adults impacted will increase from 32% under the previous definition to 46% of U.S. adults. The AHA has been working on these new guidelines for the past three years and is based on hundreds of clinical trials and studies. It is the first comprehensive update in 14 years and focuses on making sure doctors and the general consumer understand how to accurately measure healthy blood pressure levels based on these new guidelines.

“Elevated Blood Pressure” range added

Part of the updates recommended by the AHA is the addition of a new range that sits between normal blood pressure and higher than normal blood pressure. This new range is now known as “elevated blood pressure”. At this stage of supporting healthy blood pressure levels, recommendations include healthy lifestyle changes and a reassessment in 3-6 months.

New guidelines will affect those under 45 too

With the new healthy blood pressure guidelines and thresholds, not only will more U.S. adults be impacted, but it will also disproportionately affect younger people by tripling the number of men under 45 and doubling the number of women under 45.

A focus on creating a whole framework of healthier lifestyle changes

The guideline published by the American Heart Association makes an emphasis that doctors need to focus on “a whole framework of healthier lifestyle changes for patients.”

“We need to send the message that yes, you are at increased risk and these are the things you should be doing,” said Whelton, chair of global public health at Tulane University in New Orleans. “I’m not saying it’s easy to change our lifestyles, but that should be first and foremost.”

Healthier lifestyle recommendations include a heart-healthy diet focused on reducing salt and incorporating potassium-rich foods such as bananas, potatoes, avocados and dark leafy vegetables. The guidelines also do provide specific suggestions for other lifestyle changes such as weight loss and increasing physical activity.

For additional lifestyle change ideas, check out our blog post Top 3 Ways to Help Support Healthy Blood Pressure Levels.



  1. American Heart Association article:

  2. ABC News article: