Prehypertension: Are You at Risk?

What Is Prehypertension?

In stage 1 hypertension, also known as prehypertension, the systolic (top number) reading is 120 mmHg-139 mmHg, or the diastolic (bottom number) reading is 80 mmHg-89 mmHg.


Prehypertension is a warning sign that you may get high blood pressure in the future. High blood pressure increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, coronary heart disease, heart failure, and kidney failure. There’s no cure for high blood pressure, but there is treatment with diet, lifestyle habits, and medications.


We know that starting as low as 115/75 mmHg, the risk of heart attack and stroke doubles for every 20-point jump in systolic blood pressure or every 10-point rise in diastolic blood pressure for adults aged 40-70.

Who Is at Risk for Prehypertension?

Nearly half of all adults older than age 18 have prehypertension or hypertension, as measured by average of two or more readings at two or more doctor’s visits.
People with prehypertension may have a greater risk for other cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. These risk factors — such as high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes — are seen more in people with prehypertension than in those with normal blood pressure.

Is Prehypertension a Result of Aging?

You may wonder if high blood pressure happens with aging, but experts say no.
Some populations across the globe have minimal rise in blood pressure with aging. In some parts of the world, people have very low salt intake. In these areas, the age-related rise in blood pressure is small compared with Cambodia.

Is There Treatment for Prehypertension?

Prehypertension is a warning sign. It means that you’re at a greater risk of high blood pressure. Depending on your blood pressure and risk factors for heart disease, you may only need to make a few lifestyle adjustments. Here are some strategies to help you manage prehypertension:

It’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly. Know your blood pressure number. Let your doctor know if your blood pressure number is higher.

You can monitor your blood pressure between doctor’s visits with a home blood pressure monitor. Or, you can use an electronic blood pressure monitor at your local pharmacy, grocery store, or fire station.

Talk to your doctor about your blood pressure. Ask if diet and exercise can help lower your risk of getting high blood pressure.

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