Ask The Doctors: February 2012

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A document known as the JNC-7 is our main set of guidelines for blood pressure therapy. It defines normal blood pressure as a systolic blood pressure (SBP) <120 millimeters of Mercury (mm Hg) and a diastolic blood pressure (DBP) <80 mm Hg. Hypertension is diagnosed when the SBP is >140 mm Hg or the DBP is >90 mm Hg. In between the normal and hypertensive ranges, when the SBP is 120-139 mm Hg or the DBP is 80-85 mm Hg, is referred to as pre-hypertension. Generally, pre-hypertension is only treated with lifestyle modifications, including pursuance of a low-sodium diet, weight loss, exercise, moderate alcohol consumption, and smoking cessation.
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