A new study shows a blood pressure reading that's just above the "normal" range could still point to a higher risk for stroke. NBC's Robert Bazell reports.
Blood pressure, known for decades as the “silent killer” is a well known risk factor for stroke. And along with the familiar other factors, such as smoking, lack of exercise and obesity, it contributes greatly to the risk of heart attack. For years the number 140/90 was considered the danger zone one shouldn’t cross into, the dreaded hypertension (high blood pressure) territory. But eight years ago, public health officials created another category called “pre-hypertension” starting at 120/80. How dangerous is pre-hypertension? In a study out Wednesday in the Journal Neurology, scientists at the University of California San Diego surveyed 10 large studies looking at pre-hypertension. They found that there is increased risk for stroke, and not surprisingly it gets higher along with the blood pressure, ranging from a 22 percent risk increase to 79 percent. You can read the research here.