Hypertension is the technical term for high blood pressure. To have true high blood pressure, your readings must be at 140/90 mmHg or higher, whereas normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg and under.
If you fall into the range in between high and low (120-139/80-89 mmHg) you are considered pre-hypertensive. This comes with its own set of risks, much like a pre-diabetic had better be very careful not to flip into full diabetes.
Pre-hypertension numbers acts like the warning flag you need to see your heart and blood vessels are starting to become stressed. This is important for several reasons.
First, you can immediately start to do something about your situation especially as lifestyle factors contribute. Second, research shows that pre-hypertension increases stroke risk by 50 percent.
Third, blood pressure greatly influences your kidney function leading to kidney disease. Fourth, if you knew you could prevent cardiovascular disease by lowering your blood pressure, what is stopping you?
Many patients report their blood pressure is only high when they go to their healthcare provider’s office because of the so-called "white coat syndrome," where they are more nervous and therefore have worse numbers. It is important to understand that anytime you are nervous or stressed or upset your blood pressure probably shoots up to this higher level causing problems.
Therefore it is even more important in these situations that your baseline blood pressure be normal because if your baseline is pre-hypertensive (putting you at risk) and you subsequently become hypertensive in stressful situations, this puts a lot of pressure on your heart and blood vessels to keep up.
Besides blood pressure medication, which may or may not be appropriate for you, there are a number of lifestyle factors that contribute to increasing blood pressure.
First, the more weight you carry on your frame, the harder your heart has to pump in order to circulate your blood. Make weight loss a priority and watch your numbers fall back into normal.
Second, smoking has been shown to constrict blood vessels and weaken the heart muscle causing hypertension.