ZocdocAnswersWhat does blood pressure have to do with someone?s health?

Question

What does blood pressure have to do with someone?s health?

I?m 28 years old and have had slightly elevated blood pressure since I can remember. My doc says it is nothing to worry about right now. But what about in the future? What would this constant slightly high blood pressure end up doing to my health?

Answer

The answer to your question depends somewhat on how high your blood pressure is. The most recent data suggest that people are usually healthier if they have blood pressures below 120/80. However, a blood pressure between 120/80 and 140/90 is usually acceptable without the need for treatment other than more exercise and less salt intake. If your blood pressure is higher than 140/90, then you will be at a higher risk for problems down the road such as coronary artery disease (which can cause heart attacks) and heart failure. Other problems such as stroke and kidney failure have also been linked to a higher blood pressure. This is true even if your blood pressure is just slightly elevated because the effects add up over many years. For these reasons, you would not want to have a slightly elevated blood pressure when you are young. This is an issue that you can discuss with your primary care physician. Ask your doctor what lifestyle changes you can make to improve your blood pressure. These may include weight loss, more exercise, eating less sodium (as above), and consumption of small amounts of alcohol. Taking these measures certainly won't hurt, and you will may be preventing the need to take blood pressure medications down the road.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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