People who have prehypertensionblood pressure (BP) levels just below the recommended level for true high BPhave a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) than those with lower BP, according to a report by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. People with prehypertension, which ranges from 120/80 to 139/89 mm Hg, who are elderly, obese, diabetic, or African American have an even higher risk of CVD. The findings were reported in the February 2006 edition of the American Journal of Medicine.
Researchers investigated the correlation between prehypertension and the risk of new CVD in ~9000 men and women. At baseline, participants with high-normal BP also had a greater prevalence of traditional risk factors for CVD, compared with those in the ideal BP group. The rate of CVD over the 11.6 years of follow-up increased significantly as BP levels increased, with a 2.5-fold greater risk of developing CVD in the prehypertension group, compared with those with normal BP. Most of the CVDs that emerged were related to coronary heart disease rather than stroke.