Stage 1 hypertension
Next, stage 1 hypertension is when systolic pressure is above 130 mmHg and diastolic pressure is over 80 mmHg. Doctors or hospitals may follow the JNC 8 guidelines for staging hypertension. In this case, 140/90 mmHg to 159/99 mmHg is considered stage 1 hypertension. This stage is when a person is officially diagnosed with hypertension.
At this stage, patients may not feel any symptoms such as headaches or dizziness. Therefore, diagnosis relies mainly on blood pressure measurements and other history. Doctors will recommend diet, lifestyle, and medications to manage blood pressure especially if the patient has co-morbidities like diabetes, atherosclerosis, or CKD. However, not all patients require medications if diet and exercise are enough.
Stage 2 hypertension
When someone with stage 1 hypertension does not control their blood pressure, their condition can worsen. Stage 2 is blood pressure that is regularly between 140/90 mmHg and 180/120 mmHg. Unfortunately, if your blood pressure is 140/80 mmHg, it is still stage 2. Based on JNC 8 guidelines, stage 2 is a reading of 160/100 mmHg or higher.
At this stage, a patient may or may not feel any symptoms of hypertension. At higher pressures, symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, flushing, and chest pain may occur.
Compared to the other stages of hypertension, diet and lifestyle changes are not enough. Stage 2 hypertension typically requires one or more maintenance medications, oftentimes for life-long treatment. Additional medications will be prescribed if there are other health risks.
Lastly, patients with extremely high blood pressure above 180/120 mmHg are in a hypertensive crisis. This stage is a medical emergency because too much pressure can cause serious damage to the blood vessels. At high pressures, thin or hardened blood vessels can burst, resulting in aneurysm, hemorrhage, and stroke. If you see extremely elevated blood pressure readings, it is important to seek medical attention right away.