My Doctor Told Me That I Have Borderline High Blood Pressure, Should I Be Worried?

Question: Should I be worried if my doctor tells me that I have borderline high blood pressure?

Answer: Well, you certainly need to take action, so if it takes worry to make you take action, you need to worry. You need to do something about it. People with borderline hypertension, or what we now call pre-hypertension, have blood pressures that are above the ideal. And we know that infers some risk for vascular disease. So you have a higher risk for heart attack and stroke than people who have perfectly normal blood pressures.

But more importantly, this is a predictor that may go on as you get older to develop high blood pressure itself. And so it's time to take action. You need to do those things that will prevent the onset of high blood pressure. So those things are good lifestyle things like exercise, keeping your weight in a normal range, watching the amount of sodium that you take in, being sure you don't drink excess amounts of alcohol, and eating a generally a good, healthy diet that's high in fresh fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products.

And of course, you shouldn't smoke, but if you do smoke, this is the time to stop -- when you get to this place -- because that's going to add to the risk. So those things can make a difference in your life, and make a difference in your risk for heart attack and stroke as you get older.

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