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What is prehypertension? How to prevent real high blood pressure?

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PT Health Life – If you are told you have pre-hypertension, it means your blood pressure measurement is higher than “normal”, but not high enough to diagnose hypertension according to standards.

Prehypertension , which means there is a “red flag” for developing true hypertension in the near future. Prehypertension affects 25-50% of adults worldwide and increases the risk of developing true hypertension.

In fact, both prehypertension and hypertension increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney failure.

1. Which indicators indicate prehypertension?

  • Blood pressure has two numbers: systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.
  • Normal blood pressure: when systolic blood pressure is lower than 120 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure is less than 80 mmHg.
  • Hypertension: systolic blood pressure >= 140 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure >= 90 mmHg.
  • Prehypertension: blood pressure between normal and hypertension. Specifically, prehypertension is when systolic blood pressure is 120-139 mm Hg and/or diastolic blood pressure is 80-89 mmHg.
Hypertension is one of the main causes of stroke.

2. Causes of prehypertension

Any factor that increases pressure on artery walls can lead to prehypertension. Atherosclerosis, the buildup of fat in the artery walls, can lead to increased blood pressure.

Several disorders or diseases can lead to prehypertension or hypertension, including: Atherosclerosis; Difficulty breathing while sleeping; Kidney disease ; Adrenal disease; Thyroid disease.

Certain medications — including birth control pills, cold medicines, decongestants, pain relievers, cocaine and stimulants, among others — can also cause temporary increases in blood pressure.

However, most blood pressure increases gradually over many years and develops prehypertension without a specific cause.

3. Prehypertension is a “red flag” for true hypertension

Pre-hypertension usually has no complications, but if you have pre-hypertension, it means you have a “red flag” for developing high blood pressure.

Therefore treatment and prevention are extremely important. Currently, treatment of prehypertension mainly focuses on lifestyle changes.

However, if you have prehypertension and existing coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, diabetes or chronic kidney disease, there is sufficient clinical evidence to support aggressive treatment of prehypertension. Pressure helps improve results.

If you have prehypertension, your risk of developing true hypertension is very high.

Therefore treatment with antihypertensive medications is often recommended, with the goal of reducing your blood pressure to normal levels.

4. How to control prehypertension

Your doctor will likely recommend that you control prehypertension with lifestyle changes, such as:

4.1 Maintain a healthy weight

  • Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Being overweight or obese can also cause interrupted breathing during sleep (sleep apnea) and increase your blood pressure.
  • Losing weight is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure.

Body mass index (BMI) value below 23 and above 18.5 (for Asians). If your BMI is over 23 you are overweight and over 25 is obese.

Control waist within allowable limits: Men <90 cm and women <80 cm according to Asian standards.

4.2 Exercise regularly

Exercising regularly for at least 30 minutes most days of the week can reduce your blood pressure by 4-9 mm Hg. If you have prehypertension, exercise can help you avoid true hypertension.

The best exercises to lower blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. If you don’t have 30 consecutive minutes to exercise, you can exercise 10-15 minutes at a time, several times a day.

4.3 Eat a healthy diet

Eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products can lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg.

  • Add potassium by eating 2-3 ripe bananas daily.
  • Reduce sodium (salt) in your diet. Just a small reduction in sodium in your diet can reduce blood pressure by 2-8 mmHg. In general, limit salt intake to 2,300 mg per day or less.
  • Eat less processed and canned foods.
  • Only small amounts of naturally occurring sodium in foods are enough. Don’t add salt, just 1 teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium.

4.4 Limit alcohol consumption and control other factors

Research shows that drinking about 1 glass of red wine a day may lower the risk of high blood pressure. However, you should not drink a lot of alcohol.

Quit smoking because smoking  increases your blood pressure for many minutes after smoking.

Reduce stress.  Chronic stress is an important contributor to prehypertension and hypertension.  Stress can contribute to high blood pressure if you deal with stress by eating unhealthy foods, drinking alcohol or smoking.

Avoiding and completely resolving anything that causes stress is the best way. Try discussing with everyone in your family or workplace to resolve stress immediately.

Practicing yoga and meditation when stressed will give better results.

Summary: Prehypertension often does not show symptoms. The only way to detect prehypertension is to monitor your blood pressure. If you have prehypertension, your risk of developing true hypertension is very high.

So you should make sure your blood pressure is checked at least every 6 months. When prehypertension is detected, lifestyle adjustment is still the optimal and effective strategy today.

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