It’s imperative to pay attention to your blood pressure swings, according to a new study, as highly varied fluctuations can be indicative of heart disease or arterial damage. It may be a red flag that patients should not take lightly as it could be the warning for future coronary problems.
Statistically, 1 in 3 Americans have high blood pressure, and while the condition has no outward symptoms, it could lead to major damage to your heart, blood vessels or kidneys. Many patients consult their doctors on the matter and are being prescribed medication to keep it within normal ranges, but a new factor should now be considered.
From visit to visit, patients should inquire for a blood pressure test as it has been recently discovered that a wide swing between the numbers might indicate future heart problems.
The study gathered data from the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial, a large database of patients who received blood pressure medication after suffering a harmful coronary episode or other cardiac events.
A number of 25,814 patients participated in the study, each agreeing to five, six or seven visits along the course of 28 months, during which their blood pressure measurements would be taken in order to ascertain if they developed any cardiovascular condition through time.
Over the course of the trial, the study recorded 1,948 deaths, 606 strokes, 921 heart failures and 1,194 cases of either fatal heart disease or non-fatal heart attacks. It was observed that those with an average swing of 15 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure from visit to visit had an increased risk of undergoing a cardiac event or other heart diseases.
Participants who recorded the wide fluctuations were 30% more likely of experiencing myocardial infarction or fatal heart problems and 46% more likely to suffer a stroke. Furthermore, the risk of death in any coronary condition or episode was increased by 58% in cases that they might’ve otherwise survived.
Lead researcher Paul Muntner, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Alabama School of Public Health at Birmingham, states that these findings stress how important it is for patients to keep an eye on their blood pressure and require tests regularly in order to prevent potentially fatal heart problems in the future.
However, it has also been underlined that the study was based on analysis only, which means that there is no cause-and-effect between blood pressure and heart disease, but it can be a significant alarm signal to future problems and patients should consider what medications they can take to keep the numbers stable.
Image source: menshealth.com
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