Harvard Heart Letter

Borderline hypertension: When do you need treatment?

Many people develop high blood pressure during their lifetime. These steps may delay your need to take medicines.

Hypertension, defined as a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg or above, is the primary risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Additionally, it sets the stage for other serious conditions, such as kidney failure, blood vessel damage, vision loss, and dementia.

But these perils do not suddenly appear as blood pressure readings cross the 140/90 mm Hg threshold. Instead, your risks of heart disease and other complications creep up as your numbers do.

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