Blood Pressure Major Factor In Cardiovascular Health
December 20, 2011

Blood Pressure Major Factor In Cardiovascular Health

A new study has found that maintaining normal blood pressure starting in your 40´s decreases your chances for a cardiovascular event later in life. Specifically the researchers found that a spike in blood pressure significantly increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

According to the study, men and women whose blood pressure increases in middle age have an estimated 30 percent increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke compared to those with normal blood pressure.

Previously, heart event risk was based only on a single reading of blood pressure. The higher the reading, the increased amount of risk. The new study, though, shows that a changing blood pressure between the ages of 41 to 55 is a more accurate indicator.

The study used data from 61,585 participants in the Cardiovascular Lifetime Risk Pooling Project. The researchers looked at a baseline blood pressure starting at the age of 41, where the age 55 was considered a mid-point for middle age.

The researchers tracked blood pressure changes until age 55 then continued to follow patients until they had their first cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke,  death or age 95.

The researchers found that almost 70 percent of men who develop high blood pressure in middle age will have a cardiovascular event by age 85. Also women  who develop high blood pressure by age 41 have a 49.4 percent risk for a cardiovascular event than those who maintain normal blood pressure to age 55. Also women in general had higher increases in blood pressure during middle age.

They also found that at an average age of 55, 25.7 percent of men and 40.8 percent of women had normal blood pressure levels while 49.4 percent of men and 47.5 percent of women had prehypertension.

Norrina Allen, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago says, “We found the longer we can prevent hypertension or postpone it, the lower the risk for cardiovascular disease. Even for people with normal blood pressure, we want to make sure they keep it at that level, and it doesn´t start increasing over time.”

The study was published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.


On the Net: