The medical condition commonly known as “prehypertension” can be best described as the stage immediately prior to meeting the diagnostic requirements of high blood pressure. Seen as a precursory symptom for high blood pressure, patients suffering from prehypertension experience a blood pressure reading that is elevated higher than normal, but not quite at the levels required for the diagnosis of high blood pressure.
It is the number one warning sign that hypertension (high blood pressure) is imminent.
In order to understand prehypertension, you must first understand what blood pressure is. By establishing a standard measuring system of the force exerted on your arterial walls caused by the blood coursing through them, doctors are able to determine certain risk factors such as stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and more. The higher your blood pressure, the higher your risk is for these diseases. This is because hypertension is harmful to your blood vessels.
The system that allows doctors to determine blood pressure relies on a number-based measurement classification consisting of two numbers. These numbers are written one on top of the other. The top number shows the pressure on arterial walls when the heart is pumping blood out. The bottom number represents the opposite scenario: when the heart is relaxing and filling back up with blood.
Normal blood pressure typically falls below 120 over 80 or 120/80. Hypertension is considered blood pressure of over 140/90. Therefore, prehypertension falls between these two ranges, normal and high blood pressures, which is between 120/80 and 140/90.
Either one of these numbers being too high, top or bottom, can cause your blood pressure to be viewed as too high.
While the exact cause of prehypertension isn’t known, most doctors and medical experts agree on a number of factors that contribute towards the development of elevated blood pressure:
One of the things that makes prehypertension so dangerous is that there are no symptoms; the only way to truly be diagnosed is by having your blood pressure taken. Typically, this is done during every doctor visit, but you’ve probably seen machines in pharmacies where you can test your own blood pressure.
Remember, true diagnosis of prehypertension can only be made by a physician.
Your blood pressure is measured by your doctor or nurse. If your blood pressure is high during the first or second readings, most doctors or nurses will take your pressure a few more times throughout the visit (or recommend subsequent visits/checks). This is due to the fact that blood pressure fluctuates during different times of the day. Also, many people can get “white coat syndrome” which is a raised blood pressure reading that comes with the stress and/or fear of getting a blood pressure reading.
If your blood pressure registers consistently in the prehypertension range, your doctor will then talk with you about treatment.
Because prehypertension is mainly a warning sign of imminent hypertension, most treatment is usually based around lifestyle changes instead of medication. If the lifestyle changes do not adequately reduce blood pressure, thus eliminating the condition, medication may then be prescribed.
High Blood Pressure Causes 62% of all Strokes and 49% of all Heart Attacks... Check your BP on the blood pressure chart. If the chart shows you are in the prehypertension or hypertension ranges, do something about it, even if it is just having a chat with your doctor. The blood pressure chart is for all adults regardless of age, as whilst your age rises, the thresholds for prehypertension and hypertension don't! (there is no blood pressure chart by age!) No matter what your age - if your BP is above 140/90 you should set about lowering it. You can record and monitor your readings on our printable blood pressure log.