Are you pre-hypertensive?

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By Dr. Victor Dumaguing

To Your Health

Friday, May 3, 2013


IT IS often said that "what you don’t know, won’t hurt you." Probably, in some instances, this is true. However, in matters pertaining to health, not knowing what your body may be suffering from may yield disastrous and even serious results. By then, regrets, no matter how great and sincere would be too late! Like, let's take the case of pre-hypertension.

The term "pre-hypertension" was adopted in 2003 by the JNC 7 or the Seventh Joint National Committee on the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure; so that systolic pressures ranging from 120-139 mm Hg and diastolic pressure of 80 to 89 mm Hg based on the average of two or more properly measured, seated, blood pressure readings taken during two or more office visits.

Based on these new blood pressure criteria, one third of American adults can be classified as having pre-hypertension. As of today, there is no official statistics of pre-hypertension in Asia but it would not be wrong to assume that the numbers would not be much different. Pre-hypertension is more prevalent among men. In a study of the rate of progression of pre-hypertension to hypertension, 55 percent of pre-hypertensive individuals under 65 years of age and 75 percent over 65 developed hypertension within four years.

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Individuals with pre-hypertension are 1.65 times more likely to have above normal cholesterol levels, and to be overweight and obese or have pre diabetes. Pre-hypertension is also associated with significant increase in the incidence of heart attack and coronary artery disease, the effects of which are more pronounced  among African Americans and in patients with already existing diabetes and elevated mass index.

The current recommendations of JNC 7 include weight loss, a healthy diet (DASH-Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), limited alcohol intake, and aerobic exercise (30 minutes per day on most days). Furthermore, pre-hypertensive individuals who already have diabetes or kidney disease should be considered for drug therapy if lifestyle modification alone fails to reduce their blood pressure less than 130/80.

Next Week: A Meal to Lower Blood Pressure?

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 04, 2013.

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