Definition of Stage 1 Hypertension

This Condition Can Cause Arteries to Harden

woman wearing blood pressure cuff
Joseph Rene Briscoe/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Blood pressure is the measurement of the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the blood vessels as it is carried throughout the body. An elevation in blood pressure, called hypertension, is dangerous because the heart needs to work harder to pump the blood to the body. This causes arteries to harden, a condition known as atherosclerosis, and contributes to kidney disease, heart failure, and stroke.

Stage 1 hypertension is a systolic pressure ranging from 140 to 159 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure ranging from 90 to 99 mm Hg. Normal blood pressure is the level above which minimal vascular damage occurs.  The incidence of hypertension is higher in older individuals, women and non-Hispanic blacks.

Blood pressure has two readings, the top number is the systolic and the bottom number is diastolic. Ranges for blood pressure are:

  • Normal:                           Less than 120 over 80 (120/80)
  • Prehypertension:            120-139 over 80-89
  • Stage 1 hypertension:    140-159 over 90-99
  • Stage 2 hypertension:    160 and above over 100 and above

For people age 60 and above, the readings for high blood pressure are 150 and above over 90 and above.

Causes and Risk Factors for Hypertension

There are many different risk factors for developing high blood pressure, they include:

  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Steroid therapy
  • Thyroid disease
  • Parathyroid disease
  • Renovascular disease
  • Elevated sodium use
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Stress
  • Age
  • Family history of the disease

Symptoms of Hypertension

Some people have no symptoms of high blood pressure, even when blood pressure readings are elevated. There are some symptoms that have been reported, including:

  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nosebleed

Patients should have their blood pressure measured as part of a routine doctor’s appointment. Free blood pressure screenings are given regularly at a health resource fair or other community locations.

Diagnosis of Hypertension

A detailed medical history and physical examination are important in identifying risk factors for the condition. Examination of the eyes is also a simple technique to assess the severity of the disease by examination of changes to the retinas.

Treatment of Hypertension

Reduce hypertension to less than 140/90 mmHg. In a patient with diabetes or chronic kidney disease, the goal should be less than 130/80 mmHg. In all likelihood, patients will require two medications to reach this goal. Typical medication to reach optimal blood pressure goals includes:

  • Thiazide-type diuretics
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers
  • Beta blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Renin inhibitors

Lifestyle Modifications to Treat Hypertension

  • Lose weight
  • Adopt a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products with reduced content of saturated and total fat
  • Reduce dietary sodium intake
  • Regular aerobic physical activity
  • Moderate alcohol consumption
  • Quit smoking

    Continue Reading