Prehypertension – Definition, Symptoms, Treatment, Diet, Causes, Prevention

By on August 24, 2012 with No Comments

The definition of Prehypertension is as follows – The state in which a person’s blood pressure is elevated above normal but not to the level that can be considered as hypertension.

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When there is a slight elevation of blood pressure, this condition may be referred to as prehypertension. One thing with prehypertension is that if it is not checked, it can develop to established hypertension, which can be a health concern. People who experience prehypertension are likely to end up being hypertensive especially if they do not change their lifestyles.

Eating healthy food and exercising are two essential things you should engage in once you notice that you have began developing prehypertension. People with both prehypertension and high blood pressure are at a greater risk of suffering heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

How to read blood pressure

A blood pressure reading is presented with two numbers and the first or upper number measures the pressure in arteries when your heart is beating. This is called systolic pressure. The second or lower number measures the pressure, which is exhibited in between your arteries as the heart beats and this is referred to as diastolic pressure.

When the systolic pressure or pressure in arteries is measured between 120 to 139 millimeters of mercury mmHg, this could indicate prehypertension. Similarly, when the diastolic pressure or the pressure in your arteries between beats is measured and recorded from 80 to 89 millimeters of mercury, this may also indicate the condition of prehypertension.

What are the symptoms of prehypertension?

There are basically no coherent symptoms presented by prehypertension and this is the reason why you may be experiencing the condition and you do not know. Prehypertension does not cause signs. It is even said that severe high pressure may not also cause symptoms. Therefore, what this means is that you have to take regular blood pressure tests either by your doctor or through home blood pressure measuring kits.

It is advisable that if you have prehypertension and other risks factors of suffering cardiovascular diseases, you take frequent tests of your blood pressure. In normal circumstances, you may take blood pressure reading at least once after very two years.

Prehypertension – causes

There are many things which can lead to prehypertension and high blood pressure and these may range from diseases to medications. It is assumed that any factor, which increases pressure against artery walls, could lead to prehypertension. For example, when fatty deposits build up on the arterial walls a condition known as atherosclerosis, this can result to prehypertension.

Possible health conditions which could cause prehypertension or elevated blood pressure are such as atherosclerosis, kidney disease, sleep apnea, thyroid disease and adrenal conditions. There are also certain medications, which have been associated with elevated pressure such as birth control pills, over-the-counter pain relievers, cold remedies and decongestants.

Similarly, there are illegal drugs like amphetamines and cocaine, which are also associated with elevated blood pressure. In addition, the body has been studied and noticed that it acquires high blood pressure gradually over time without any identifiable causes.

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Risk factors associated with prehypertension 

There are many risk factors which are linked to prehypertension and these are such as being overweight or obese. One of the primary risk factors of acquiring or suffering prehypertension is excessive gain in weight. If you have increased body mass, it means that you require more blood to be supplied to body parts and tissues in order to get the nutrients and amount of oxygen that is required.

Therefore, if the volume of blood increases in the blood vessels, there is force created on the artery walls. Another factor is age. Young people are likely to develop prehypertension than older people and this is not because the older people do not experience prehypertension but because they most probably have suffered and progressed to established stage of blood pressure.

Men are more likely to experience prehypertension than women. Other risks factors are such as gender/sex, use of tobacco, alcohol and diet that has high levels of sodium and low potassium. People with family history of high pressure are also at risks of suffering prehypertension and elevated blood pressure. Sedentary lifestyle is also a known risk factor.   People who suffer certain chronic diseases like diabetes and cholesterol are also at higher risks of prehypertension.

Prevention and Treatment of prehypertension

Prehypertension treatment is done in order to prevent the condition from advancing to established hypertension. People who have prehypertension and at the same time they suffer from conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular and kidney diseases, they are recommended both lifestyle changes and blood pressure medication.

Healthy food is the basis for prevention and treatment of blood pressure. When medication is applied, patients are advised to keenly observe health diets. There are Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diets, which have been designed to help in managing prehypertension condition.

For those people who are overweight, losing their weight can help manage blood pressure. Salt intake should be minimized to1500 milligrams a day of sodium or no salt is recommended at all. Increased physical activity is another primary aspect that helps in managing elevated blood pressure. People should limit alcohol and other things like tobacco.

Dash Diet for Prehypertension

Specifically, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)diet includes  –

1. 3 whole grains food each day

4 – 6 servings of fruit

4 – 6 servings of vegetables

2 – 4 servings of Low fat or non fat dairy foods

1.5 – 2.5 of Lean meats, fish, poultry

3 – 6 per week of Nuts, seeds, and legumes

2-4 servings of fat or sweet (lesser the better)

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