A large number of people who develop a stroke or heart attack do not necessarily have very high blood pressure. Most have “borderline” hypertension (i.e., systolic blood pressure of about 140-150, or diastolic of 90-95). In the past, many physicians did not prescribe medications at these levels, relying instead on lifestyle changes and salt restriction, but often without much success. Even with the availability of a vast number of safe and effective anti-hypertensive medications over the past several years, moderate salt restriction (to below 6 grams per day) is still a necessary component of hypertension treatment. Although the goal is to lower the systolic pressure to less than 140 and diastolic pressure to less than 85, ideally, the systolic pressure should be closer to 110-120, and the diastolic closer to 70-80.
(Source: Every Heart Attack is Preventable, by Michael Mogadam, M.D.)