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A cardiologist holds a stethoscope to check her patient's heart rate and rhythm.

What is elevated blood pressure?

The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have separated blood pressure into four categories based on measurement:

  • Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm Hg or lower.
  • Elevated blood pressure ranges from 120 - 129 mm Hg over a number below 80 mm Hg.
  • Stage 1 hypertension ranges from 130 - 139 mm Hg over a number between 80 - 89 mm Hg.
  • Stage 2 hypertension has a measurement of 140 mm Hg or higher over 90 mm Hg or higher.

Elevated blood pressure is considered to be a category that is higher than ideal, but not a condition like high blood pressure. However, elevated blood pressure can lead to hypertension if it is not managed.

Elevated blood pressure symptoms

Elevated blood pressure does not present any symptoms, which is why it’s important to check your blood pressure regularly. Your blood pressure should be checked at doctor’s appointments, and you can purchase blood pressure monitoring devices that allow you to check it yourself at home.

Elevated blood pressure causes

  • Adrenal gland disorders
  • Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Illegal drugs
  • Kidney disease
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Thyroid disease

Elevated blood pressure risk factors

  • Age
  • Certain chronic illnesses, such as kidney disease or sleep apnea
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Family history
  • High-sodium or low-potassium diets
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Tobacco use

Elevated blood pressure prevention tips

  • Avoid smoking
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet of foods low in sodium and high in healthy fats
  • Exercise regularly
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage stress

How do you treat elevated blood pressure?

If lifestyle changes and the above prevention methods don’t help in lowering your blood pressure, your doctor may recommend some form of medication to treat the condition. The type of medicine prescribed depends on your overall health.

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