People with blood pressure levels that tend to be slightly elevated but still considered to be within normal ranges--called high-normal--are at increased risk for suffering from heart disease. Blood pressure readings are taken in two numbers. The systolic value i.e., the first number in a blood pressure measurement, represents the pressure in the heart during contraction. The second number, the diastolic value, represents the pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.
In the study, the team of researchers monitored blood pressure levels of 6,859 men and women. They then compared heart disease related illness in people with high-normal blood pressure to people with high blood pressure. Overall, women with high-normal blood pressure had a 2.5 times greater risk of heart disease than did those with normal blood pressure, and men with high-normal values had 1.6 times greater risk of heart disease than did men with normal values.
The findings could have important implications for how aggressive doctors are in giving medications to patients whom they previously simply observed.