Dr. Russell Greenfield: A healthy blood pressure is considered to be something less than 120 over 80. Anything more than 140 over 90 is considered high blood pressure. Anything in the middle and you're now considered to be prehypertensive. Consider the diagnosis to be a wakeup call and you definitely want a wakeup call if you are headed towards true hypertension.
High blood pressure or hypertension has few obvious signs and symptoms, but it's a serious condition that contributes to the hardening of the arteries, otherwise known as atherosclerosis as well as the heart failure, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, erectile dysfunction, and possibly Alzheimer's disease.
Now what does this mean for you? A diagnosis of prehypertension doesn't mean you have to take prescription medication, because the most effective way to address prehypertension is to make some healthy changes in your lifestyle.
The lifestyle prescription for people who are prehypertensive includes eating a healthy antiinflammatory diet along the lines of a Mediterranean or Asian style diet. Regular physical activity, reducing salt intake, cutting back a little on alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, managing stress in healthy ways, and especially doing your best to stop smoking once and for all.
Changing your lifestyle is not easy, especially when talking about stopping tobacco use. But when you realize you have the opportunity to take control of your health, really take control of it, simply by making even small changes in the way you eat and your daily activities, well, that's empowering. These strategies are good for you for so many reasons that it makes little sense not to give them a try to help stop prehypertension in its tracks.