Harvard Health Letter

Going too low with blood pressure?

Lowering diastolic pressure too much may be bad for people with coronary artery disease.

They keep lowering the bar for blood pressure. Normal is now 120/80 or below, revised from the previous mark of 130/85. And we've come a long way from the old rule of thumb that your blood pressure was okay if the systolic (the first number) reading wasn't any higher than your age plus 100.

But the "lower is better" agenda has been questioned, and some findings lend support to doctors who worry that going too far with diastolic blood pressure (the second number) might be bad for the heart, particularly for someone who's had heart problems in the past.

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