Robin Backlund, BHSc
A blood pressure reading of 139/88 mmHg indicates that you are at a STAGE 1 HYPERTENSION, as per the latest guidelines from the American Heart Association, which define it as being between 130/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg.
This reading suggests you should promptly seek medical advice as, over time, it can escalate into a significant health crisis.
This alert is relevant for everyone – children, adults, the elderly, and pregnant women – and, if neglected, can lead to complications like heart disease or kidney issues.
It’s essential to understand that blood pressure can vary based on factors such as age, gender, weight, and general health, with ‘ideal’ levels differing based on individual medical histories and concurrent health conditions.
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What does a 139/88 blood pressure mean?
A blood pressure reading of 139/88 indicates that the person is in the initial stage of hypertension, a diagnosis that requires confirmation by a trained physician over time.
Here is a blood pressure chart according to the latest guidelines of American Heart Association (AHA).
mm Hg [upper #]
mm Hg [lower #]
Normal Blood Pressure
Less than 120
Less than 80
Elevated Blood Pressure
Less than 80
High Blood Pressure
Hypertension STAGE 1
High Blood Pressure
Hypertension STAGE 2
Consult your doctor immediately
Higher than 180
Higher than 120
When blood pressure consistently falls within the range of 130/80 – 139/89 for more than 7 days, a doctor may diagnose it as stage one hypertension, also known as mild hypertension.
This classification implies a higher risk of cardiovascular disorders and other comorbidities if medical attention is not sought promptly.
According to a CDC report “Hypertension Cascade: Hypertension Prevalence, Treatment and Control Estimates Among U.S. Adults Aged 18 Years and Older Applying the Criteria from the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association’s 2017 Hypertension Guideline” from 2023, around 45% of adult population in US has a blood pressure reading higher than 140/90, which is roughly around 37 million people.
The individual should consult a physician to determine the most suitable medication and make necessary lifestyle adjustments.
While 139/88 may pose a long-term risk, immediate hospitalization is generally unnecessary.
Here is the list of symptoms that may manifest 139/88 mm/Hg blood pressure.
- Nausea and dizziness
- Severe headache
- Excessive sweating
- Difficulty breathing
- Weight gain
What is the Mean Arterial Pressure (MAP) for a blood pressure of 139/88 mmHg?
The Mean Arterial Pressure (MAP) for a blood pressure of 139/88 mmHg is:
What is the Pulse Pressure (PP) for a blood pressure of 139/88 mmHg?
The Pulse Pressure (PP) for a blood pressure of 139/88 mmHg is:
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What should you do if you have 139/88 blood pressure?
Here is a set-by-step procedure to follow when you figure out you have a blood pressure of 139/88 mmHg.
- Verify blood pressure with a doctor
- Adopt these lifestyle changes
- Consider using blood pressure medications
- Craft a balanced blood pressure-friendly diet
- Monitor for additional health conditions associated with stage 1 hypertension
- Support with natural supplements
1. Verify blood pressure with a doctor
If your blood is 139/88 mmHg and you have checked the same in your home setup, it is highly recommended to get it checked at your doctor’s office.
A trained professional has to clinically assess your condition and confirm that your 139/88 is, in fact, clinically valid.
There are instances when your reading at home setup might give you a reading which is incorrectly reported. It could be because of an error in reading it, damage to your device, your physical or mental condition on that particular day, etc.
Therefore, a doctor has to assess it over the course of 7 – 30 days periodically before he/she can confirm the accurate stage of your blood pressure.
In a study “Masked and white coat hypertension, the double trouble of large arteries: A systematic review and meta‐analysis” from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, published in 2020 in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, Christina Antza and his team found something interesting about blood pressure readings.
Sometimes, when people are at the doctor’s office, their blood pressure reads high, but it’s normal when they check it elsewhere. They call this white coat hypertension.
On the flip side, some folks show normal readings at the doctor’s but have high readings at home or other places. This is known as masked hypertension.
All these conditions are linked to physiology and psychology and, therefore, better to be validated by a doctor.
2. Adopt these lifestyle changes
A level of 139/88 indicates an impending cardiovascular mishap. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is foundational in managing blood pressure as it addresses the root causes and mitigates the risk factors associated with hypertension.
It fosters overall well-being, enhances the body’s regulatory mechanisms, and prevents the onset of complications.
A balanced approach to lifestyle not only aids in controlling blood pressure but also synergistically improves other aspects of health, reducing the reliance on medication and promoting longevity.
According to the American Heart Association (“Changes You Can Make to Manage High Blood Pressure”) and Mayo Clinic (“10 ways to control high blood pressure without medication”) guidelines, the activities listed below can help control stage 1 hypertension and bring the levels back to normal.
- Regular physical activity is important.
- Weight loss can be beneficial for reducing blood pressure.
- Moderation in alcohol consumption is advised.
- Aiming for less than 1500 milligrams of sodium per day can be effective, with some benefiting from less than 1000 milligrams per day.
- Increasing dietary potassium intake can help balance the effects of sodium.
- Avoiding tobacco products can improve heart health.
- Effective stress management is crucial.
- A diet low in salt and rich in fruits and vegetables is recommended.
3. Consider using blood pressure medications
Based on your doctor’s recommendation, you may have to go with one or more of the following drugs to treat your 139/88 blood pressure.
All of these are prescription drugs, and the dosage is designed based on your condition.
According to NHS guidelines (“High blood pressure (hypertension) – Treatment”), the following medications can be used when your blood pressure is 139/88 mmHg. However, make sure to consult your doctor before trying any of these.
- Water pills: these are the medications that help in the withdrawal of sodium salts from the bloodstream and help the body’s hydration to a better extent. Because of the removal of sodium, your blood vessels experience less pressure over them.
- Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers: these supplements help stop the contraction of blood vessels. Therefore, the blood vessels are relaxed, and the blood pressure over the vessels is reduced.
- Diltiazem: this is a type of Calcium Channel Blocker. This medication stops the intermixing of Calcium minerals in your blood. Because of this, the heart rate of the person is lessened, which will help regulate the blood pressure.
- Alpha-blockers: are the medications that stop the nutrients and chemicals in the body from narrowing the blood vessels.
4. Craft a balanced blood pressure-friendly diet
Don’t worry. Ever since the advent of human civilization, blood pressure has been a major threat. When humans started to treat it, natural remedies were the first life of defence.
Here is a list of foods from Harvard School of Medicine’s recommendations (“Beating High Blood Pressure with Food”) to help you manage your hypertension with minimal intervention of medications.
- Limit sodium intake: High sodium intake is associated with heart attack and stroke risks. Excess sodium in blood will increase the blood volume by retaining water, which further aggravates the 139/88 blood pressure. Processed foods, pickles, bread, pizzas, junk foods, etc. shall be avoided.
- Eat potassium: An important mineral necessary for the functioning of the sodium-potassium pump, which helps in the rejection of excess sodium from the body. Bananas, leafy veggies, tuna, dairy, etc., are rich in potassium.
- Say no to caffeine: Caffeine in coffee, tea, and some aerated beverages is directly linked to the working of your heart. Even though there is no evidence that it can prolong high blood pressure, it gives an instant boost to your existing 139/88 mmHg blood pressure.
- Dark chocolate is good to go: Flavonoids in dark chocolate can help to bring down your elevated 139/88 blood pressure back to normal. Make sure you opt for a non-alkalized cocoa product with no added sugar.
- Sugar is a killer: The carbohydrate surge created by sugar is linked to an increased incidence of heart problems. Since your blood pressure is high, it is advised to avoid or at least cut short the intake of sugar, especially artificial sweetening agents.
- Calcium-rich helps: Calcium is an important mineral that helps in the working of cardio muscles. A deficiency of calcium is often linked to increased blood pressure. Beans, tofu, leafy veggies, and dairy are some good sources of calcium.
5. Monitor for additional health conditions associated with stage 1 hypertension
Some of the comorbidities associated with high blood pressure include coronary artery disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke, and cardiovascular disorders.
When you have 139/88, the above-mentioned comorbidities may follow; if correctly, medical attention is not sought.
Therefore, it is highly recommended to treat your hypertension, get it back to a normal level of 120/80 and maintain it.
A study from the University of Glasgow “Diabetes, Hypertension, and Cardiovascular Disease: Clinical Insights and Vascular Mechanisms” published in 2018 on The Canadian Journal of Cardiology has identified diabetes as the number one aggravator of stage 1 hypertension, which indeed can reduce the efficacy of other treatments.
Other diseases like obesity, sleep apnea, stress or depression, etc., can cause your blood pressure to increase.
6. Support with natural supplements
Sometimes managing blood pressure is all about supplementing your body with the right diet. Food is undoubtedly the best primary source to supplement your body.
However, in the current scenarios, we all know how much adultered our foodstuff is, and most of us are pushed towards processed foods to feed ourselves in this fast-paced world.
All these food are high in sugar and sodium and doesn’t contain any vital nutrients that are important for a healthy heart.
This is where some of the nutraceutical-based blood pressure supplements come in handy. These products combine all critical nutrients your heart craves, thereby assisting the better function of your cardiovascular system.
Generally, these supplements are a concoction of herbs, plant-based products, dairy products, and some animal products. They are 100% organic and natural and don’t contain any harmful chemicals.
In fact, a study “Vitamins C and E: Beneficial effects from a mechanistic perspective” published in 2011 in Free Radical Biology and Medicine suggests that Vitamins C, E, and D from herbaceous sources are more likely to reduce blood pressure in stage 1 hypertension patients.
If you are hearing about these segments of products for the first time, to start with, you may blindly go for Blood Pressure Support from Vita Balance Inc.
Blood Pressure Support
Blood Pressure Support combines hawthorn berry, olive leaf, hibiscus, and some vitamins like C, B6, B12, niacin, and folate alongside a bunch of other medicinal herbs to support the healthy working of the heart.
Only one thing to keep in mind is that, choose the best blood pressure-lowering supplement, because when it comes to heart, there is no taking of risk!
All the above practices are supposed to be followed in conjunction with the clinical treatment regimen your doctor chooses for you.
With 139/88 mmHg pressure, it is highly recommended to focus on therapeutic drugs which treat supplements and exercise as a heart health enhancer.
What should you do when your blood pressure is 139/88 during pregnancy?
Pregnancy introduces a unique set of variables that make managing a 139/88 blood pressure a bit more complicated. If you are pregnant and find yourself with a blood pressure of 139/88 mmHg, immediate medical consultation is necessary.
A team of healthcare professionals including an obstetrician, cardiologist, and possibly a maternal-fetal medicine specialist will likely be involved in your care.
According to a study “Preeclampsia. Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey” published in NCBI in 2023, this could indicate severe preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and potential damage to vital organs like the liver and kidneys, and lead to 500,000 fetal deaths worldwide.
Medical practitioners may prescribe blood pressure medications that are safe for both mother and child, or modify current medications to ensure safety. Lifestyle modifications are equally crucial.
Unlike non-pregnant individuals, you may need more frequent prenatal check-ups to monitor the baby’s growth and your own well-being.
Is blood pressure 139/88 high for a male?
In men, a blood pressure of 139/88 mmHg is considered stage 1 hypertension and calls for immediate lifestyle changes and potential medication. Men are generally at a higher risk for cardiovascular diseases, so it’s crucial to act immediately.
Exercise, especially aerobic activities, can significantly help to reduce blood pressure. Also, reducing sodium intake and eliminating smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can be particularly effective.
Medications are usually prescribed depending on other risk factors like age, family history, and existing comorbidities.
Is blood pressure 139/88 high for a female?
For women, 139/88 mmHg also falls under stage 1 hypertension. Women often experience fluctuating blood pressure levels due to hormonal changes, especially during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. This makes it all the more critical to consult a healthcare provider for a tailored treatment plan.
Similar to men, lifestyle changes are imperative. For some women, birth control pills can exacerbate blood pressure, so a healthcare provider may suggest alternative methods of contraception.
Is blood pressure 139/88 high for an elderly?
In the elderly, a blood pressure reading of 139/88 mmHg does fall into the range of stage 1 hypertension.
However, it’s essential to note that blood pressure guidelines can sometimes be less stringent for older adults due to various factors like multiple comorbidities and the risks associated with medication side effects.
It is generally recommended that older adults aim for a blood pressure below 130/80 mm Hg, but the ideal target can vary from individual to individual.
It’s crucial to consult a healthcare provider for a tailored treatment plan that may include medications and lifestyle changes like diet adjustments and moderate exercise.
Is blood pressure 139/88 high for children?
A blood pressure reading of 139/88 mmHg is usually considered high for children and adolescents.
Children are not typically expected to have blood pressure levels in the hypertensive range, and a reading this high calls for immediate medical attention.
According to a report “High Blood Pressure in Children and Adolescents: Current Perspectives and Strategies to Improve Future Kidney and Cardiovascular Health” published in 2022 by a team of researchers from The Hospital for Sick Children, Canada (Robinson, C. H., & Chanchlani, R.), several factors during the perinatal period are linked to blood pressure in children, such as low birth weight, being born prematurely, and maternal aspects like preeclampsia, blood pressure, age, and BMI.
The diagnostic procedures may include multiple readings over time and possibly additional tests to rule out underlying conditions.
Lifestyle changes such as better dietary choices, increased physical activity, and even medication could be considered depending on the case.
Is blood pressure 139/88 high for an adult?
For adults, a blood pressure of 139/88 mmHg is indeed considered to be stage 1 hypertension.
It serves as a clear indicator that lifestyle modifications are needed, and medical treatment may be necessary depending on other risk factors like existing cardiovascular diseases or diabetes.
Immediate consultation with a healthcare provider is advised for a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan, which may include medication and lifestyle changes like diet and exercise.