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Prehypertension is the stage just before hypertension. A slight increase in BP than the normal poses risks for you to develop high blood pressure in the future. In prehypertension, the systolic pressure reads from 120 to 139 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) while the diastolic pressure ranges between 80 to 89 mm Hg. It’s an indication that one needs to put a check on the rising BP.

Symptoms of prehypertension

There are no such symptoms of prehypertension. The only way to find out is through a blood pressure check up.

What causes prehypertension?

Lifestyle, diet, age, and health complications are responsible for rise in blood pressure. The main causes are:

  • Overweight and obesity
  • Absence of physical activity
  • High stress levels
  • Excess sodium and cholesterol in diet
  • Overconsumption of alcohol
  • Young adults are more prone
  • Family history of hypertension
  • Thyroid complications
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Heart problems – atherosclerosis
  • Side effect of medicines

Complications of prehypertension

Risks of developing cardiovascular complications are more in people with prehypertension. If not controlled, it can progress to hypertension. It makes one vulnerable to diabetes, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and dementia.

Diagnosis of prehypertension

The blood pressure is measured with the very common device- blood pressure cuff. Blood pressure is subject to fluctuation depending upon the stage of the individual. Therefore, the readings are repeated at different situations for 2-3 times and the average of the readings is the final.

If the blood pressure lies within the range of prehypertension, then you will be suggested treatment.

Before initiating a treatment your doctor will check your medical and family history and ask you several questions about your diet and lifestyle. You need to tell him if you are taking any drugs, pills or supplements.

You may need to undergo further blood, urine and hormone tests if he suspects any underlying problem.

Treatment of prehypertension

Your doctor may suggest blood pressure medicines, depending on the test reports.

Drug therapy may also be carried out with to improve the associated complications (like coronary artery disease, kidney problems, peripheral artery disease, etc) along with the aim to manage the rising blood pressure.

If medicines are not required, then modifying lifestyle and eating habits are capable of bringing down the prehypertensive blood pressure.

Home remedies and lifestyle changes for managing prehypertension

  • Lose weight and incorporate exercises or any form of physical activity (dance, swimming, jogging, walking, sports, etc.) no matter how busy you are.
  • Cut down on foods containing cholesterol, saturated and trans fats, and high amounts of sodium
  • Eat plenty of fruits, fresh juice (beet root, ginger), omega 3- rich fish, whole grains and green vegetables
  • Drink in moderation, no binge drinking. Try to quit smoking
  • Cut down stress levels through meditation, relaxation therapies and engagement in happy activities
  • Increase sleep
  • Get your blood pressure checked every month to observe improvement

Prehypertension is a warning sign and it can be managed very quickly if you strive towards incorporating those changes in your lifestyle and diet as suggested by your doctor. A healthy heart is the key to happy life. So why not follow it?

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 17, 2015