Prehypertension and Prediabetes─ Predictors of Heart Attacks
- Two out of three sudden cardiac deaths occur in people who have not been diagnosed with heart disease (silent heart disease). One in 3 healthy adults has prehypertension, and one in 4 has prediabetes; One in 10 has both of these conditions.1 These are important clues for silent heart disease, which can be diagnosed and treated, long before any cardiac catastrophe.2
- Each one increases the risk of heart disease in seemingly healthy adults and the risk is markedly increased when both conditions are present. “If you have prediabetes, it’s the fire, and prehypertension is the gasoline that’s added to the fire,” according to experts.3
- Prehypertension is defined as a systolic blood pressure reading between 120 and 139 and a diastolic blood pressure of 80 to 89. Systolic blood pressure is the upper number in a blood pressure measurement and refers to the pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood. Diastolic blood pressure, the lower number, is the pressure when the heart is at rest between beats. A blood pressure reading of less than 120/80 is considered ideal.2
- Prediabetes refers to blood sugar (glucose) levels between 100 to 125 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). Ideal fasting blood levels should be less than 100 mg/dL.2
- Individuals with both prehypertension and prediabetes are also more likely to be obese and high insulin levels compared to their counterparts without these two “pre” conditions. These individuals also had high total cholesterol levels, high levels of LDL-C (low density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol), high levels of fats called triglycerides, and low levels of HDL-C (high density lipoprotein or “good” cholesterol), when compared to their counterparts who did not have prediabetes or prehypertension.2
- The good news is that these conditions can be easily identified. Testing for prediabetes involves a finger stick test for blood glucose levels, and resting blood pressure measurement can identify those individuals with prehypertension.2
- Both conditions respond well to lifestyle changes. Losing about 7% of your body weight and engaging in 150 minutes of exercise a week can reverse the subtle danger that exists.
- Unfortunately most doctors won’t tell you that you have prediabetes and you would be better of asking for the blood sugar number. If it is in the triple digits, you have a problem. You need to lose weight, exercise, and reduce your carbohydrate intake to avoid full-blown diabetes.2
- Genes play a role in diabetes risk, but changing your life can help significantly forestall the seemingly inevitable.
- “If both of your parents have diabetes, you are at high risk, but if you do all the lifestyle stuff, you will buy yourself at least a decade or two.”
1. CardioSmart. American College of Cardiology.
2. Enas EA. How to Beat the Heart Disease Epidemic among South Asians: A Prevention and Management Guide for Asian Indians and their Doctors. Downers Grove: Advanced Heart Lipid Clinic USA; 2011.
3. Alok Gupta at American Society of Hypertension’s 25th Annual meeting, New York, May 1- 4, 2010.