February 26, 2009

New blood pressure consideration advised

People with diastolic blood pressure under 70 mm Hg coupled with higher systolic blood pressure may have a greater risk of heart attack, U.S. researchers say.

The study, published in the journal Circulation, found individuals with diastolic blood pressure less than 70 mm Hg coupled with an elevated systolic blood pressure had a greater risk of heart attack and stroke than indicated by the high systolic blood pressure values alone.

Dr. Stanley Franklin and colleagues at the University of California, Irvine Heart Disease Prevention Program working with researchers at the Framingham Heart Study reviewed blood pressure data from 9,657 participants in the Framingham Heart Study who hadn't received blood pressure medication.

Franklin explained the low diastolic blood pressure risk occurs only if the systolic reading is elevated. This combination that may indicate increased stiffening of arteries -- a strong cardiovascular risk factor. The researcher pointed out a diastolic number less than 70 mm Hg combined with a systolic blood pressure less that 120 mm Hg indicates normal values with no increased cardiovascular risk.