Is It Bad to Have a Blood Pressure Reading of 130/74?

A blood pressure reading of 130/74 indicates prehypertension, according to the American Heart Association. A normal reading is less than 120 for the systolic, or top number, and less than 80 for the diastolic, or bottom number. Because 134 falls between the systolic range of 120 to 139, the blood pressure reading is indicative of prehypertension, even though the diastolic number is within normal range.

Prehypertension is diagnosed in patients whose systolic numbers fall between 120 and 139 or their diastolic numbers fall between 80 and 89. Prehypertension is the initial stage of high blood pressure. Sometimes lifestyle modifications are all that are required to get the numbers back into an acceptable range, notes the American Heart Association.

Stage 1 hypertension is characterized by systolic readings of 140 to 159 or diastolic readings of 90 to 99. Stage 2 hypertension features systolic readings of 160 or more or diastolic readings of 100 or more. At these stages, most patients are started on a blood pressure medication to reduce their numbers.

Systolic numbers higher than 180 or diastolic numbers high than 110 represent a hypertensive crisis. Emergency care is needed right away if these readings are obtained.

The American Heart Association cautions that in order for a diagnosis of high blood pressure to be given, the patient should show repeated high readings over a period of time.