A person is said to have normal BP when the blood pressure reading is around 120/80. High blood pressure or hypertension means high pressure in the arteries. It is often called 'silent killer' because one can have it for years without knowing it.
Canadians regard blood pressure with systolic reading between 130 and 139, and a diastolic reading between 85 and 89 as high-normal blood pressure. Approx. 2.5 million Canadians have high-normal blood pressure according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
A recent research suggests that people with so-called 'high-normal' blood pressure cannot afford to relax and must consider themselves to be at risk and seek treatment and follow certain health guidelines.
'We now have evidence that people in the high-normal upper range of blood pressure are more likely to develop hypertension,' Dr. Sheldon Tobe, of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, told CTV News.
He added '40 per cent will develop hypertension within two years.'
Patients with high blood pressure, or hypertension have greater risk for heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and even dementia.
According to a Canadian Heart Health Survey, about one in 10 of those aged 18 to 35 have high blood pressure.
'Many of these young men go undiagnosed because they're (otherwise) healthy and they often don't see their family doctors,' said Tobe. 'And if they do, it's not to have their blood pressure checked.'
'If they start early, perhaps they will not need medication at all or could delay the need for it by years or decades.'
The Heart and Stroke Foundation has revised its guidelines regarding hypertension.
The existent guidelines are: People with high-normal blood pressure must check BP at least once a year; Blood pressure should be checked during all visits to the doctor; As too much sodium can cause hypertension, Canadians should restrict their salt intake to less than 2,300 milligrams a day. An active, healthy lifestyle, which includes regular physical activity, is necessary to prevent high blood pressure.