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Hypertension Stage 2 Blood Pressure

What Is The Definition Of Hypertension Stage 2?

Following on from our analysis of what the definition of hypertension stage 1 is, hypertension stage 2 blood pressure is a more highly elevated categorisation which sits above stage 1 but below what is termed variably as severe hypertension or hypertensive crisis. The sequence of blood pressure categorisations above the normal or normotension range is shown below:

  1. ‘Elevated’ or ‘Elevated Normal’
  2. ‘Prehypertension’ (no longer used in the United States ACC/AHA scale since 2017)
  3. ‘Hypertension Stage 1’
  4. Hypertension Stage 2
  5. ‘Severe Hypertension’ or ‘Hypertensive Crisis’
  6. ‘Hypertensive Emergency’

On the majority of blood pressure scales, hypertension stage 2 would be defined as having BP readings between 160mmHg and 180mmHg for systolic pressure and/or between 100mmHg and 110mmHg for diastolic pressure. The systolic reading represents the pressure when the heart has contracted to push blood around the body and the diastolic reading represents the blood pressure when the heart is in a relaxed, dilated state between beats. Blood pressure is measured in mmHg units which are millimetres of mercury, further explanation as to why those units are used can be found here.

As mentioned in the hypertension stage 1 article, the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association altered their blood pressure scale in 2017 to have lower boundaries for the onset of hypertension. In a similar way, the start of the hypertension stage 2 range on their chart also begins earlier than that found on other scales. For a bp reading to be considered as hypertension stage 2 on the ACC/AHA blood pressure scale, the reading for systolic pressure would need to be between 140mmHg to 180mmHg while a diastolic pressure reading would need to be between 90mmHg and 120mmg. If either the systolic or diastolic readings are higher than this band, then the overall classification would move into what the Americans term as hypertensive crisis and some other nations such as the UK refer to as severe hypertension.

If you wish to analyse any blood pressure reading and see it plotted on the above mentioned charts, then use the free tool on the homepage of You will be presented with explanations surrounding those readings as well as things like your ‘pulse pressure’ calculation and what they may mean for your health. You can start to monitor your blood pressure regularly and easily at home with one of the many reasonably priced home blood pressure monitors available.

What are the Symptoms of Hypertension Stage 2?

Even though hypertension stage 2 is unhealthily high and brings with it significant increased risks to your health, contributing to events such as, aortic aneurysms, heart attacks, heart disease, heart failure, kidney disease, peripheral arterial disease, strokes and vascular dementia, it rarely presents noticeable symptoms by itself at these levels. This is why hypertension in general is referred to as the silent killer and it is so important to monitor regularly. If you are getting consistent hypertension stage 2 readings, you should also get your blood pressure checked at your doctor’s or a pharmacy in the next few days to see how the readings compare.

How Do I Lower Blood Pressure From Hypertension Stage 2?

If your blood pressure readings are consistently at these levels it is unhealthily high. You ought to be seeking medical advice to see what your doctor recommends for you, as you may be prescribed blood pressure medicine to treat it if you do not already take any. The further up into the hypertension stage 2 band you are, the more likely your doctor will suggest an ambulatory blood pressure monitor (one you continue to wear while walking about) to be worn, typically for a 6 or 24 hour period to determine your average reading throughout the day or night.

There are several recommended lifestyle changes you might still be able to make to attempt to lower your blood pressure from these higher levels but seek the advice of your doctor first, for example:

Quit smoking and reduce alcohol intake

Smoking, or drinking too much alcohol can cause both short and longer term increases in blood pressure. While drinking low levels of alcohol has been shown to reduce blood pressure in some studies, exceeding moderate recommended intake levels can lead to alcohol induced hypertension – which has been shown to affect about 16% of the US population in past studies.

Keep your weight under control

Increased weight is normally associated with increased blood pressure. Losing weight will generally reduce you blood pressure. There is a strong correlation between waist size and hypertension, carrying too much weight around the waist increases the risk of high blood pressure.

Eat Healthily

Keeping to a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, low fat dairy products and lean meats and fish, will lower the amount of saturated fats you intake. You should also keep the amount of salt in your diet relatively low as salt increases blood pressure. However, as with caffeine, which may also increase blood pressure after consumption, sensitivity varies between individuals. Eating foods high in potassium helps to reduce the effects of sodium on blood pressure and diet plans referred to as DASH diets (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) can be used to help on the way to reducing you blood pressure as part of a healthy lifestyle. Most adults should aim to limit their sodium intake to around 1.5 grams a day (a levelled teaspoon has about 2.5g), also opt for low sodium options of any processed food you buy, as processed food is typically very high in salt content. Make sure you read food labels of ingredients you are using to see how your sodium intake adds up each day.

Exercise and find ways to reduce stress

Consistent regular exercise of 30 minutes a day or more helps to keep blood pressure down, whether that’s fast walking, jogging, swimming, weight training or any active sports activity they can all be beneficial if they get your heart rate elevated. Try to find ways to reduce the stress in your life where possible, exercise helps with removing stress tension. Seek to make alterations in your life to handle stressful situations in a calm manner. Many people find meditation or hypnosis and setting aside time to explore their interests and hobbies can help reduce stressful feelings, which will help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range.


Blood pressure Hypertension Stage 2 is a defined range of hypertension readings, there is slight variability on the boundary where it starts and ends depending on which blood pressure chart scale you choose to use. For example the WHO would not consider you as having Hypertension Stage 2 as early on as the ACC/AHA American scale would. Either way it is a warning sign to the individual that something in their lifestyle needs to change and that they should be seeking medical advice. It is much more likely at these levels, when compared to hypertension stage 1, that your doctor may see it fit to place you on a medicated approach in order to reduce your blood pressure readings to a lower, safer blood pressure. While lifestyle changes may still be effective in bringing down blood pressure long term they become somewhat less effective the higher your readings are within this categorisation and a greater reliance on medication is usually required.

Check out your own readings with the blood pressure tool offered for free on the Homepage of

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