February 5, 2016
Borderline high Blood Pressure means it’s already time to make changes
1. What is Pre-hypertension?
A slight elevation in Blood Pressure is known as prehypertension. A pre-hypertensive person has a high likelihood of progressing to Hypertension if timely and appropriate measures are not taken.
The Blood pressure when measured has 2 readings, the Upper Reading or Systolic Blood Pressure and the lower reading or Diastolic blood pressure.A person is diagnosed to have Hypertension i.e. “High BP” if the Upper reading is 140 mm of mercury (Hg) or more and the lower (diastolic reading) is 90 mm of Hg or more.A diagnosis of pre-hypertension is made when the Systolic reading is between 120 and 139 mm of Hg and Diastolic reading is between 80-89 mm of Hg.
2. What are the symptoms of Pre-hypertension?
Pre-hypertension is generally without symptoms and is detected incidentally on routine check-up or during evaluation for other illnesses. It is a good idea for everybody to have periodic check-ups done with your doctor.
3. So what if I have Pre-hypertension?
If you have prehypertension there are higher chances of progressing into Hypertension. High blood pressure can damage your organs and increase the risk of several conditions including heart attack, heart failure, stroke, aneurysms and kidney failure.
4. What causes Prehypertension?
The common causes of prehypertension are
• Obstructive sleep apnoea
• Kidney diseases
• Adrenal diseases
• Thyroid disease
There are many more causes which are not listed here.
5. What the risk factors for developing pre-hypertension?
The common risk factors of Prehypertension are
• Being overweight or Obese
• Male sex. In females the risk increases after menopause.
• Younger age (simply because the middle aged or elderly would have progressed into Hypertension)
• Tobacco use- smoking, chewing tobacco or second hand smoke (being around people who are smoking).
• High salt (Sodium) intake. Low potassium intake.
• High alcohol consumption- Consumption of more than 2 drinks a day in males and more than one drink per day in females increases the risk of prehypertension and hypertension. One drink is equivalent to 12 ounces of beer or 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor.
• Sedentary lifestyle- lack of exercise and low physical activity
• Certain diseases like atherosclerosis, kidney, adrenal disease, sleep apneaetc as listed above.
6. What to do if I have Prehypertension?
Making lifestyle changes are the mainstay of managing pre-hypertension.
• Maintaining a healthy weight.
• Dietary Changes- Eat healthy food. Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy foods. Get plenty of potassium, which can help lower blood pressure. Eat less saturated fat and trans- fat.
• Eat less salt (sodium). The recommended daily dose of sodium in pre-hypertensive patients is less than 2.4gm per day. Lower levels are recommended for elderly people.
• Increase physical activity- 30 minutes daily of moderate exercise on most days of the week, is known to significantly improve physical fitness, muscle strength and lower blood pressures
• Reduce alcohol consumption
• Quit smoking and tobacco use
• Stress management- Reduce mental stress by meditation and other relaxation techniques.
Doctors might prescribe Blood Pressure lowering medicines to patients with prehypertension if they have other comorbid conditions like kidney disease, Diabetes or Heart Disease.