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Disease: Prehypertension Prehypertension
Category: Cardiovascular diseases
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Disease Definition:

The force exerted on the artery walls as blood flows through the body is a condition known as blood pressure. Prehypertension occurs when blood pressure is slightly raised, and it could turn into high blood pressure when it is not promptly treated. Both prehypertension and high blood pressure increase the risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

A blood pressure reading includes two numbers. While the first, or upper one measures the pressure in the arteries as the heart beats (systolic pressure), the second, or lower one measures the pressure in the arteries between beats (diastolic pressure). Prehypertension is a systolic pressure from 120 to 139 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or a diastolic pressure from 80 to 89 mm Hg. One can neither feel nor sense prehypertension, yet, there are many things that could be done about it. Weight loss, exercise and other healthy lifestyle changes could usually manage prehypertension setting the stage for a lifetime of a qualified health.

Work Group:

Prepared by: Scientific Section

Symptoms, Causes


Prehypertension doesn’t result in any symptoms. Actually even advanced high blood pressure might not result in any symptoms either.

Prehypertension might only be detected through keeping an eye on the blood pressure readings. Whenever the patient visits the doctor, blood pressure should be checked. Checking blood pressure at home can be possible as well by using blood pressure monitoring device. In case the cuff isn’t the right size for the person or the device hasn’t been serviced on regular basis, blood pressure measurements from a device in a pharmacy or other public place might not be accurate.

Ask the doctor for having blood pressure reading once every two years. More often readings might be recommended in case the affected person has prehypertension or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.


Any factor adding up pressure against the artery walls, such as atherosclerosis, the narrowing of the arteries and a greater than normal volume of blood could contribute to prehypertension.
Blood pressure might occasionally caused by an underlying reason, such as the followings:



  • Thyroid disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Adrenal disease

Blood pressure might rise for a short period of time due to certain medications, such as birth control pills, decongestants, cold remedies, certain prescription medications and over-the-counter pain relievers. Illicit drugs, like cocaine and amphetamine could have the same effect as well.
High blood pressure usually grows slowly over many years without a specific identifiable cause.

The followings are risk factors for prehypertension:

Being overweight or obese: Being overweight is considered to be one of the main risk factors. The greater the body mass is, the more blood will be required to supply oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. Thus, the higher is the blood circulated through the veins, the more pressured the artery walls become.
Age: Older adults are less likely to develop prehypertension compared to younger ones, possibly because most of the older adults have developed high blood pressure. Actually, adults who are healthy at age 55 have a 90% chance of developing high blood pressure at some point in their lives.
Sex: Prehypertension is less likely to develop in women than in men.
Family history of high blood pressure.
Sedentary lifestyle.
Diet high in sodium or low in potassium.
Tobacco use.
Excessive alcohol use.

There’s a high risk of prehypertension due to certain chronic conditions, such as high cholesterol, sleep apnea and diabetes.



Complications aren’t likely to arise from prehypertension alone. When experiencing prehypertension it probably gets worse and becomes instead hypertension. “Prehypertension” is a term indicating that its time one started changing their lifestyle to healthier one, or began taking medications to prevent blood pressure from rising.

Damaging the organs and therefore raising the risk of heart attack, heart failure and stroke might come up due to prehypertension that later on develops into hypertension, whereas it worsens with time. Within four years of being diagnosed with prehypertension, close to 1 in 3 adults that are between the ages of 35 and 64, and close to 1 in 2 adults of age 65 or older end up with high blood pressure.


Blood pressure medication and a lifestyle change might be recommended when prehypertension is associated with diabetes, cardiovascular or kidney disease. Though, medications for other adults aren’t certain to be effective in treating prehypertension.


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