A study from a Medical School in China (Southern Medical University of Guangzhou) found: “Stroke risk present even with borderline high blood pressure”. They compared 19 trials where incidence of stroke was observed in relationship to how high the systolic and diastolic blood pressures were. The period of observation for the various studies ranged from 4 years to 36 years. The generally accepted definition of a normal blood pressure was 120/80 or lower, prehypertension (borderline high blood pressure) was defined to be between 120/80 and 140/90 and high blood pressure was above 140/90.
The collective study group consisted of 760,000 men and women. The prehypertension group was subdivided further into higher and lower than 135/85 mm mercury (mmHg).
Dr. Dingli Xu and colleagues found that patients in the high prehypertension group had a 95% greater risk of developing a stroke when compared to the normal blood pressure group, the low prehypertension group had a 44% greater risk of developing a stroke when compared to the normal blood pressure group.
The conclusion from this metaanalysis is that any blood pressure reading higher than 120/80 is associated with a higher risk of developing a stroke and should be treated with blood pressure lowering medication.
More information is available at Hemorrhagic Stroke
Reference: 1. Neurol. 2014 March 12 2. This study in the media