When it comes to our health, fitness, and well-being in general, many of us tend to overlook the sheer importance associated with our blood pressure levels. Hypertension, or high blood pressure as you probably know it by, is sadly an all too common condition that poses a number of very serious risks to a person’s health. Just a few of the main health conditions and complications associated with hypertension include, but are not limited to:
· Heart attacks
· Heart disease
· Renal failure
· Poor circulation
· Organ failure and damage
· Damage to the blood vessels and arteries
· And more…
The good news however, is that hypertension can be avoided and reversed, although you need to catch it and its warning signs as early and as quickly as you possibly can. A common precursor to hypertension is a condition known as prehypertension, and it is this condition which we’ll be taking a more direct look at right now. Contained within this article, we’ll be looking at what prehypertension is, the risks and dangers associated with the condition, signs and symptoms, and some of the most effective treatments in the process. So, without any further hesitation, let’s learn a little more about prehypertension.
What is prehypertension? – Prehypertension is when your blood pressure levels are slightly elevated above what they should be, and is often a precursor to hypertension, which basically means that, if left untreated and unaddressed, prehypertension will eventually lead to hypertension. When a person suffers with prehypertension, their systolic (top) number reading will be 120 mmHg-139 mmHg, or their diastolic (bottom) number reading, will be 80 mmHg – 89 mmHg.
Who are the people most at risk? – Prehypertension is actually, a very worryingly, a very common health condition with more than 50% of all adults aged 18 or above, suffering with either hypertension, or prehypertension. In the USA alone for example, a staggering 59 million people are believed to suffer with prehypertension, and those numbers are increasing every single day. So then, you may conclude that prehypertension is an indirect result of aging and growing older, although experts say that this is not the case at all. In some parts of the world for example, some countries will see virtually no increases in hypertension or prehypertension as people grow older. For this reason then, the most obvious cause is considered to be poor lifestyle choices.
What are the main risks of prehypertension? – As you can now see, prehypertension is not to be taken lightly and should be taken very seriously. Some of the main risks associated with prehypertension include:
Increased chance of hypertension – This is the most obvious risk of prehypertension, as the condition itself is a precursor to hypertension. Put simply, if the condition is not addressed, it will eventually lead to hypertension and all of the health complications associated with high blood pressure, which all have the potential to be fatal.
Cardiovascular disease risk factors – Another danger associated with prehypertension is that it could present a number of risk factors commonly found in individuals suffering with cardiovascular disease. These include: High LDL cholesterol levels, blocked arteries, diabetes, obesity, strokes, and heart attacks, all of which have the potential to be fatal.
What are the main causes? – As mentioned, the main causes of prehypertension are believed to be directly linked to poor lifestyle choices, although genetics also are believed to play a role. Some of the main causes of prehypertension include:
Being obese or overweight – The larger a person’s body mass and body fat levels, the more oxygen, blood, and nutrients their bodies will need to be supplied to their cells. This gradually leads to an increase in blood volume, thus increasing the pressure and force being placed on the arteries.
Age – It is actually younger adults who are more likely to suffer from prehypertension, and sadly, that doesn’t mean that older adults are likely to be more healthy, it actually means that older adults are more likely to have moved onto hypertension instead.
Genetics – If you have a history of high blood pressure, or prehypertension in your family, you will be more at risk of developing the condition yourself. That doesn’t mean you will, it simply means you will need to be careful.
Unhealthy lifestyles – If you eat a lot of junk food, don’t get enough nutrients, don’t get enough exercise, smoke, drink excessively, use drugs, or anything else which is considered unhealthy, you are far more likely to develop prehypertension, which could quickly evolve into hypertension. Diets rich in salt and low in potassium are also strong risk factors.
Prehypertension symptoms – To make life even more difficult, there aren’t actually any obvious symptoms associated with prehypertension, which means that the only way to make a diagnosis, is to take a blood pressure reading.
Prehypertension treatment – Think of prehypertension as a warning sign, it is your body letting you know that changes need to be made quickly in order for you to prevent hypertension. The good news is that there are many strategies and preventative measures which can be taken to help deal with prehypertension. These include:
If overweight, lose weight – As mentioned, obese and overweight people are far more likely to develop the condition due to their increased requirement for blood. By losing weight, you can reduce your chances of developing hypertension by as much as 20%.
Get enough exercise – Not only does exercise help you to lose weight, it has also been found to reduce blood pressure as well, making it highly beneficial.
Make healthy dietary choices – Avoid processed, salty, sugary, and chemically enhanced junk foods packed full of trans fats, and instead opt for fresh, healthy, and natural foods instead, making sure to include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Reduce salt consumption – Ideally, when addressing prehypertension, you should aim for no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium on each day. This is around 1 teaspoon of regular salt. You may also wish to consider low-sodium varieties of seasonings and foods.