High blood pressure during middle age greatly raises the risk of having a heart attack or stroke later in life, according to researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, US.
After studying the data from the Cardiovascular Lifetime Risk Pooling Project which involved 61,585 participants, researchers concluded that men and women who developed hypertension (more than 140/90 mmHg) in middle age, or who started out with hypertension, had an estimated 42-69% higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke compared to those who kept their blood pressure low (less than 120/80 mmHg). While, people with normal blood pressure at age of 55-years had a relatively low lifetime risk for heart disease or stroke, between 22-41%.
Assistant professor at the university and lead author of the study, Norrina Allen said, "Previous estimates of one's risk of cardiovascular disease were based on a single blood pressure measurement - with the higher the blood pressure reading, the greater the risk. The new study showed a more accurate predictor is a change in blood pressure between ages 41 and 55."
The study shows that the longer we can prevent hypertension or postpone it, the lower the risk for cardiovascular disease.
The study will be published in the Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.