Hypertension, or High Blood Pressure, is any blood pressure reading that is above 140/90. The first number is the systolic reading, while the second number is the diastolic reading. There is also a newer category called “prehypertension.”
Pre-hypertension is a blood pressure reading of 120-139/80-89. If your blood pressure is 130/89, you do not have high blood pressure, but you do have pre-hypertension, and it is time to start thinking about what you can do to prevent hypertension. Your doctor will likely have a serious discussion with you about your diet, your level of exercise, and your weight.
Now, blood pressure readings vary widely, not only from individual to individual but also in the same individual at different times of the day. Such things as eating, drinking, exercise, stress, and smoking can affect blood pressure readings at different times of the day. Just because one blood pressure reading is high, doesn’t mean that you have high blood pressure and need a prescription to treat it.
High Blood Pressure
When your doctor first diagnoses high blood pressure, the diagnosis should not be based simply upon a high blood pressure reading. There are certain tests that your doctor should order. Blood tests should be ordered and should include a complete blood count, fasting lipids (cholesterol), fasting blood sugar, renal (kidney) functions, liver functions, and electrolytes (potassium, sodium levels), along with a urinalysis.
There should also be a chest x-ray to determine if there is enlargement of your heart. As heart enlargement can occur over time with hypertension. And, there should be an electrocardiogram to check for any heart abnormalities.
After these tests have been completed, and based upon several blood pressure readings. Your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you. He might suggest medication, or he might suggest some lifestyle changes, or he might suggest a combination of the two.