Quick! What is considered normal blood pressure? If you guessed somewhere about 120/80, you would have been correct a few years ago – but not anymore.
The National Institute of Health issued more aggressive guidelines on what is considered potentially damaging blood pressure. Decades of studies indicate the risk of cardiovascular disease starts to increase with blood pressure levels of 115/75.
Now millions of people, whose blood pressure was previously considered borderline high (130-139/85-89) to normal (120/80), fall into a range known as pre-hypertension. What this means is that a person with blood pressure of 135/85 has double the risk of heart attack or stroke.
But there is some good news. Lifestyle changes, including weight loss, limited alcohol consumption, tobacco cessation, and reducing dietary salt can help bring your blood pressure down. If these efforts don’t work, medication is usually the next step. Fortunately, most blood pressure medicines are well tolerated by most people.
Take charge of your health. Your doctor can help you determine what you need to know to get your blood pressure to a new low.