Mayo Clinic blood pressure guidelines:
Below 120/80: normal
140-159/90-99: Stage 1 hypertension
>160/100: Stage 2 hypertension
(If you take your blood pressure at home and the numbers are consistently lower than your blood pressure results at the doctor’s office this is considered to be more accurate since some people are more nervous in the office.)
The majority of people with pre-hypertension and Stage 1 hypertension can be treated with a concerted effort to improve diet and lifestyle habits. People with Stage 2 hypertensions often have associated chronic medical issues and will need to take prescription anti-hypertensive medication. Persistent high blood pressure can lead to heart attacks or heart failure, strokes, kidney failure as well as cognitive and memory problems. At most, only about 30% of blood pressure problems can be blamed on family history or genetic factors. In general hypertension is a lifestyle disease.
Diet to Control Blood Pressure
The Institute of Medicine recommends a dietary intake of 4.7 mg of potassium per day which 90% of Americans do not get. Potassium dilates blood vessels and acts as a diuretic. The ideal ratio of potassium to sodium in the diet should be 5:1. This can be easily achieved through eating a mostly plant based diet of vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, unsalted nuts and seeds corresponding with a Mediterranean style diet. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet is also recommended. It is also necessary to keep salt intake around 1500 mg per day which is about one rounded teaspoon. This is easy to do by avoiding canned and prepackaged foods. Restaurant food and fast foods are notoriously high in salt and may contain as much as 2-3 days worth of salt in one entrÃ©e.
If the blood pressure is 130/85 for men or women, fasting blood sugar over 100 mg/dl, waist over 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women, HDL less than 50 in women or less than 40 in men and triglycerides above 150 mg/dl in either sex, you may have the Metabolic Syndrome predisposing you to heart disease and diabetes. Metabolic Syndrome is also considered to be a lifestyle disease and now affects nearly one in four adults in the U.S.
Blood pressure is one of the many lifestyle diseases we treat in our FirstLine Therapy lifestyle program.