I’ve been talking to many of the patients where I work and many don’t know there are two different high BP ranges. The BP numbers recently changed in 2017 and there are new numbers differentiating the high blood pressure ranges. Therefore, what is high blood pressure stage 1?
High blood pressure stage 1 is when blood pressure readings have a systolic number from 130-139 mm Hg or a diastolic number from 80-89 mm Hg. In this range doctors are likely to suggest lifestyle changes and may consider medication based on the risk of cardiovascular disease.
High blood pressure stage 1 can lead to more severe health issues like a heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular disease. This article will go into complete depth about how to recognize stage 1, the risk factors, causes and the best way to lower blood pressure.
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How Do You Know When You Have High Blood Pressure Stage 1?
I’m sure high blood pressure is a term you hear and use all the time, but do you really know what it means? High blood pressure is when blood pressure, which is the force of your blood pushing against your blood vessel walls, is consistently too high.
Close to half of American adults have High Blood Pressure and it’s frequently called the “silent killer” because you usually don’t know you have it 1.
High blood pressure stage 1 is when systolic pressure is consistently from 130-139 mmHg or diastolic pressure is from 80-89 mmHg. Only a physician can make a diagnosis by evaluating the consistent high blood pressure and the risk factors for cardiovascular disease 2.
Take note of the or between the two readings, only one of the numbers have to be in the range. Some of the other blood pressure ranges require both numbers to be in the range, but that’s not the case with high blood pressure stage 1.
In this range doctors are likely to suggest lifestyle changes and may consider medication based on your risk of cardiovascular disease. You’ll want to take immediate action to lower your blood pressure and avoid the next higher category which is high blood pressure stage 2.
In that range doctors are likely to prescribe medication which is something you want to prevent at all costs.
Blood pressure stage 1 is just one of the five ranges in my BP chart article. In addition, seven other related topics and a FREE printable BP Chart is included. Visit that article here, What Is The Blood Pressure Chart?.
High Blood Pressure Stage 1 Symptoms
Having symptoms of high blood pressure is a myth. High blood pressure doesn’t have any including high blood pressure stage 1. This is why they call high blood pressure the “silent killer.” The only certain way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it routinely checked 3.
Doctors recommend undergoing regular physicals at the physician’s office even if you don’t have any health problems. While you’re there, they will check and monitor your blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease you might need more frequent readings.
Always be guided by the recommendations of the physician.
You can monitor your blood pressure at home with a home blood pressure monitoring device. This next section will explain to you in detail the proper way to monitor your blood pressure at home.
How To Monitor High Blood Pressure Stage 1 At Home
A record of your blood pressure readings taken over time can help you partner with the doctor to monitor blood pressure. This helps to make sure any treatments you are receiving are working 4.
The new blood pressure guidelines are encouraging people to check their blood pressure at home for a more accurate blood pressure history. In addition, this helps avoid white coat hypertension.
White coat hypertension is when blood pressure is elevated in the doctor’s office but not in other settings. It’s normal for people to experience nervousness at the doctor office especially when the nurse is wrapping the blood pressure cuff around the arm 5.
There were times when I was completely calm until the cuff started to inflate because I wanted a low blood pressure reading and got nervous about it. This anxiety can raise the blood pressure readings and give a false indication of high blood pressure.
If you are monitoring your blood pressure at home, make sure the blood pressure readings are accurate. This helps you and your doctor monitor your blood pressure the best way possible.
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High Blood Pressure Stage 1 Risk Factors And Causes
There are two kinds of risk factors you should be aware of. The first one are risk factors you cannot change but should be aware of. The second kind of risk factors are ones you can do something about.
High Blood Pressure Risk Factors You Cannot Change
- Age: People are more likely to get high blood pressure as they get older. The blood vessels gradually lose some of their elasticity, which can contribute to increased blood pressure.
- Family History: If parents or other close relatives have high blood pressure, there’s an increased chance you can get it too.
- Gender: Up to age 64, men are more likely to get high blood pressure than women are. At age 65 and older, women are more likely to get high blood pressure.
- Ethnicity: African-Americans are more likely to develop high blood pressure than any other racial background in the United States.
- Chronic Kidney Disease: High Blood Pressure may occur as a result of kidney disease. In addition, having HBP may cause further kidney damage.
High Blood Pressure Risk Factors You Can Change
Physical Activity: Not getting enough physical activity increases the risk of getting high blood pressure. Physical activity is great for the heart, circulatory system and blood pressure. Aim to get about 20-30 minutes a day.
Obesity: Excess weight puts an extra strain on the heart and circulatory system causing serious health problems. It also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Nutrition: Good nutrition from a variety of sources is critical for your health. A diet too high in calories, saturated and trans fat and sugar carry an additional risk of high blood pressure. Making healthy food choices can help lower blood pressure.
Excess Alcohol: Regular, heavy use of alcohol can cause many health problems including heart failure, stroke and an irregular heartbeat. It can cause blood pressure to increase dramatically and increase the risk of cancer, obesity, suicide and accidents.
High Cholesterol: More than half of the people with high blood pressure also have high cholesterol.
Smoking and Tobacco: Using tobacco can cause blood pressure to temporarily increase and can contribute to damaged arteries.
Lack Of Sleep and Sleep Apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea may increase risk of developing high blood pressure and is common in people with resistant hypertension.
Stress: Too much stress may contribute to increased blood pressure. In addition, too much stress can encourage behaviors that increase blood pressure. They include poor diet, physical inactivity, using tobacco, illegal drugs or drinking alcohol more than usual.
The Consequences Of High Blood Pressure Stage 1
If you have high blood pressure stage 1, it makes you more likely to develop higher blood pressure. High blood pressure is something you definitely want to prevent because it can lead to more severe health issues. Therefore, what are the consequences of high blood pressure stage 1?
High blood pressure stage 1 is serious because it can lead to the following consequences:
- Heart Attack
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Heart Failure
- Kidney Disease/Failure
- Vision Loss
- Sexual Dysfunction
- Peripheral Artery Disease
I speak to many people right after finding out they have high blood pressure. They all say they’re going to start making changes as recommended by the doctor.
Most of the time, when I see them returning for a follow up visit, they tell me they haven’t been doing the things they should be doing. The important part is actually taking action and following the recommendations. What’s good knowing about high blood pressure and not acting on it?
Avoid High Blood Pressure Stage 1
Change in Nutrition
- Include more healthy fats like fish
- Consume more foods high in potassium and magnesium.
- Eat foods with less added sugar. The most dangerous are the excess amounts of added sugars like processed corn syrup.
Magnesium has a calming effect by relaxing the muscles in the body. In addition, it keeps the veins and arteries relaxed. For this reason, magnesium helps prevent the blood vessels from constricting. Having constricted blood vessels can raise blood pressure. Foods high in magnesium include:
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Dark Chocolate
- Swiss Chard
Limit saturated and trans fats because they can increase cholesterol. Foods high in these fats include:
- Fatty red meats
- Chicken with skin
- Cheese and other dairy products made from whole milk.
Try maintaining the potassium to sodium ratio of 4:1. The daily recommended amounts would be about 1,500 mg of sodium (unless you’re an athlete or have an occupation where you’re sweating all day) and 4,700 mg of potassium 6.
This ratio helps manage blood pressure by controlling the amount of fluid stored in the body. Foods high in potassium include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Leafy greens
- Dried apricots
Get off the couch and enjoy regular physical activity every day. Aim to get about 20-30 minutes of activity a day.
Physical Activities Can Include:
- High or low intensity cardio
Moderate physical activity like brisk walking, is beneficial when done regularly. People who aren’t physically active are more likely to have health issues like stroke or a heart attack.
On the other hand, regular physical activity helps to lower high blood pressure stage 1, control weight, reduce stress and extend life expectancy.
Manage stress with relaxation techniques which helps control blood pressure (resource).
Relaxation techniques may include:
- Listening to music
- Pressure points
- Proper sleep
- Breathing exercises
Improving sleep has many benefits beyond lowering blood pressure. Follow these tips to improve your sleep habits:
- Aim for a consistent sleep schedule even on your days off
- Try to go to sleep and wake up around the same times every day
- Keep your room dark and as quiet as possible
- Keep the room temperature cooler than hotter. The national sleep foundation recommends the room temperature between 60 and 67 degrees.
- Avoid tv, computer or phone screen time right before bedtime. This can stimulate brain activity and affect sleep quality.
End Bad Habits
The following bad habits will raise blood pressure:
- Excess Alcohol
- Illegal Drugs
While smoking is a proven risk factor for stroke and heart attack, its connection to high blood pressure is still being determined. However smoking increases the risk for the buildup of plaque inside the arteries — a process that high blood pressure is known to accelerate.
Every time you smoke, it also causes a temporary increase in blood pressure.
Managing High Blood Pressure Stage 1 Is A Commitment
If you have High Blood Pressure Stage 1 it’s vital to listen to the doctor. Remember you are a part of your healthcare team. You and your doctor are partners. Educate yourself about high blood pressure and learn how to monitor your blood pressure at home.
Armed with this information, you can commit to living heart healthy.
Read Next – More BP Category Articles!
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Blood Pressure Control and Primary Prevention of Stroke: Summary of the Recent Clinical Trial Data and Meta-Analyses
- American College of Cardiology: New ACC/AHA High Blood Pressure Guidelines Lower Definition of Hypertension
- American Heart Association: Why High Blood Pressure is a “Silent Killer”
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: High Blood Pressure
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Decoding white coat hypertension
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Sodium-to-Potassium Ratio and Blood Pressure, Hypertension, and Related Factors