Health Advice



Blood pressure goals should be lower than "normal"

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In 2018, Stanford University researchers found that one-third of the almost 1,500 high school, college and professional athletes they screened (with a one-time reading) registered as having high blood pressure -- that is, blood pressure above the official guideline of 130/80.

That was pretty shocking, but it makes us wonder how many more folks, including those who think they're heart healthy, would have an unhealthy BP if we applied the new findings published in JAMA Cardiology. Turns out, the risk for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease starts when your systolic (top number) blood pressure is well below 130/80.

The 14-year study found that if you have a systolic blood pressure between 90 and 129, every 10 point increase (even from 90 to 100, or 110 to 120) is associated with an increase in coronary artery calcium deposits that clog up your veins and a greater risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

We've long advocated you aim for 115/75, and keep it there -- and this confirms that. So, how can you control or lower your blood pressure?

-- Lose excess pounds and aim for a waist circumference of no more than 40 inches for men, 35 for women.

-- Exercise regularly (300 minutes a week).

-- Eat a diet without red or processed meats, added sugars or ultra-processed foods.

-- Limit alcohol intake to one (women) to two (men) drinks a day.


-- Reduce stress with meditation, exercise and quality sleep.

-- If you're on blood pressure medication, take it at bedtime every day and never stop it without the guidance of your doctor.


Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c)2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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