Prehypertension is when a person’s systolic blood pressure is 120–139 millimeters of mercury (Hg mm) and their diastolic blood pressure is 85–89 mm Hg. Blood pressure is high but does not yet class as high blood pressure. It can be an early sign of hypertension.
High blood pressure is a common condition affecting
Prehypertension, or elevated blood pressure, means an individual is
Read more to learn about prehypertension, its causes, treatment, and outlook.
Prehypertension means an individual’s blood pressure is elevated but not high enough to be considered high blood pressure. However, it is now an outdated term.
Although prehypertension was a clinical diagnosis in the old American College of Cardiology/ American Heart Association guidelines, it was removed for the
The following blood pressure readings define the new guidelines. They are broken into systolic blood pressure (SBP), or the top number in a blood pressure reading, and diastolic blood pressure (DBP), the bottom number.
|Normal||<120 mm Hg||<80 mm Hg|
|Elevated||120–129 mm Hg||<80 mm Hg|
|Stage 1 hypertension||130–139 mm Hg||80–89 mm Hg|
|Stage 2 hypertension||≥140 mm Hg||≥90 mm Hg|
Previous guidelines defined prehypertension as an SBP of 120–139 millimeters of mercury (Hg mm) and a DBP of 85–89 mm Hg.
Prehypertension is elevated blood pressure. A person’s blood pressure will be higher than normal. However, it will not be high enough to be considered hypertension.
Although having elevated blood pressure is not the same as a high blood pressure diagnosis, it can still cause adverse health effects. Elevated blood pressure
They can try lifestyle changes such as increasing physical activity, eating a heart-healthy diet, and avoiding smoking.
If a person has Stage 1 hypertension, a doctor may recommend further changes. They may also prescribe blood pressure medication depending on the person’s risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), a disease encompassing heart attack and stroke.
A doctor will likely prescribe medications alongside lifestyle changes for people with Stage 2 hypertension.
Read more about how lifestyle changes can lower blood pressure.
Blood pressure naturally rises with age, so as people get older, they are more likely to develop elevated blood pressure.
Other factors that may cause increased blood pressure
- lower physical activity levels
Usually, there are
However, if an individual is having a hypertensive crisis where their blood pressure is 180/120 mm Hg or higher, they may experience headaches and nosebleeds. A hypertensive crisis is a medical emergency and requires emergency medical attention.
Various symptoms could potentially relate to high blood pressure, including:
- blood spots in the eyes
- facial flushing
People with a family history of high blood pressure are more likely to develop the condition themselves. Additionally, those with a history of smoking or drug misuse have an
Overweight and obese individuals with a BMI over 25 may also be more likely to have prehypertension or hypertension. However, having excess weight does not mean a person will have high blood pressure. People who have moderate or low weights can also develop elevated blood pressure.
Individuals with prehypertension may require lifestyle modifications, including:
- eating a heart-healthy diet
- increasing physical activity
- decreasing stress
- stopping smoking
- limiting alcohol intake
- maintaining a moderate weight
Depending on an individual’s progress using lifestyle modifications, doctors may consider using additional treatments, such as medications.
If an individual follows a doctor’s recommendations for healthy lifestyle modifications and possibly medications, they should be able to
According to a 2015 study, people with prehypertension are
Prehypertension is a now-outdated term that refers to blood pressure levels that are above normal. Doctors now refer to this as elevated blood pressure or Stage 1 hypertension.
An individual with prehypertension may have no symptoms and may not know about their condition until they visit a doctor. They can reduce their blood pressure with lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, increasing exercise, and eating a heart-healthy diet.