In high-risk individuals, "it is time to seriously consider the use of safe and cheap blood pressure-lowering medicines to arrest the progression of pre-hypertension," Selassie said.
Previous research has demonstrated that such early therapeutic preventive measures are "effective, practical, and cost-effective if one considers the cost of caring for hypertension and its complications," Selassie added.
"This is very important information," said Dr. Stephen Green, the chief of cardiology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. "Blacks with pre-hypertension develop high blood pressure quicker than whites," he said.
Lifestyle changes, like losing weight if you are overweight or obese, consuming less salt and eating a healthy diet can help lower this risk. The most widely recommended diet to lower blood pressure is the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), which focuses on fruits and vegetables, low-fat or non-fat dairy products and whole grains, he added.
Still, Green noted, "we should be more aggressive with medication in people who are at high risk."
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on high blood pressure.
SOURCES: Stephen Green, M.D., chief of cardiology, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, N.Y.; Anbesaw Selassie, Dr.P.H., epidemiologist, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, S.C.; Sept. 12, 2011, Hypertension, online
All rights reserved