Basics of High Blood Pressure

6 Things To Know About Prehypertension

Yumhee Park Oct 15th, 2014 (updated Nov 8th, 2016)
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Prehypertension is a relatively new classification for people with a blood pressure level that is not healthy, but not yet in the hypertension range. Here are six things to know about the condition.

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What is prehypertension?
What is prehypertension?

According to the American Heart Association, a healthy blood pressure reading is 120/80 or less. The top number is the systolic pressure, which measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. The lower number is the diastolic pressure, which measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats. Prehypertension is classified by a systolic pressure between 120 and 139, or a diastolic pressure between 80 and 89.

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Symptoms of prehypertension
Symptoms of prehypertension

Hypertension is often called “the silent killer” because it has little or no symptoms, so it’s no surprise that prehypertension also does not cause symptoms. The best way to keep track of your blood pressure is to have regular doctor visits. If you are classified as having prehypertension, it is critical to begin lifestyle changes and to monitor your blood pressure regularly.

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Causes of prehypertension
Causes of prehypertension

Although there is no one cause of prehypertension, there are some factors to consider. For example, an unhealthy diet can lead to a rise in blood pressure, as well as some medications. Some other conditions can also lead to an increase in blood pressure, such as sleep apnea and kidney disease.

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Risk factors
Risk factors

Some risk factors of prehypertension include being overweight, being a young adult, being a man, having a family history of high blood pressure, not exercising enough, consuming a diet high in sodium, tobacco, and excessive alcohol intake. Although some of these factors are out of your control, diet, exercise, and habits are factors that you can change.

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On the road to hypertension
On the road to hypertension

Prehypertension is a sign that you need to start making some lifestyle changes. Recent studies have shown an increased risk of stroke for people with prehypertension. Left unchecked, prehypertension can easily turn into full-blown hypertension, which increases the risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, dementia, and a slew of other health problems. 

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How to treat prehypertension
How to treat prehypertension

It’s important to take prehypertension seriously to diminish your risk of serious health problems down the road. If you smoke, you should quit. Limit alcoholic drinks to one a day. Eat a well-balanced diet, and institute a regular exercise regimen. With proper lifestyle changes, it is possible to reverse prehypertension and maintain a healthy blood pressure.