- Blood pressure rises when the body mass index or BMI of a person goes up
- The findings were a part of an extensive study conducted by researchers conducted at the Yale Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE) and in China
- The researchers suggest that China should start managing hypertension crisis by prescribing medications earlier and more frequently
The findings are published in the journal JAMA Network Open.
The researchers observed an increase of 0.8 to 1.7 mm Hg (kg/m2) in blood pressure with an increase of each additional unit of body mass index (BMI) in the study that comprised of 1.7 million individuals who are not taking antihypertensive medications.
The researchers recorded the blood pressure of the participants starting from September 2014 through June 2017 as part of a larger project - the PEACE project that captures a total of 22,000 subgroups of people based on their age (35-80), gender, race/ethnicity, geographical location, occupation, and other relevant characteristics, like, whether or not they are on antihypertensive medication.
The population had an overall mean BMI of 24.7 and mean systolic blood pressure of 136.5. According to current American Heart Association guidelines, this number qualifies as stage I hypertension.
"The enormous size of the dataset -- the result of an unprecedented effort in China -- allows us to characterize this relationship between BMI and blood pressure across tens of thousands of subgroups, which simply would not be possible in a smaller study," explained George Linderman, first author and doctoral candidate at Yale.
In the coming years, more number of Chinese people are expected to become obese due to various lifestyle factors involved - the frequency of obesity is expected to rise from 4.0% in 2010 to 12.3% in 2025 in men or tripling in number, and increase from 5.2% to 10.8% in women or doubling in number.
Meanwhile, one-third of Chinese adults are already suffering from high blood pressure, with only about one in 20 of them having the condition under control, according to an earlier Yale-CORE China paper for the Lancet based on data gathered in the same Million Persons Project cohort.
"If trends in overweight and obesity continue in China, the implication of our study is that hypertension, already a major risk factor, is likely to become even more important," said Harlan Krumholz, M.D., the Harold H. Hines, Jr. Professor of Cardiology, director of CORE, and senior author on the study. "This paper is ringing the bell that the time is now to focus on these risk factors."
The researchers suggest that the Chinese healthcare system address these risk factors by managing high blood pressure with antihypertensive drugs. China could probably take control of its high blood pressure crisis by prescribing antihypertensives earlier and more frequently, according to a recent study by Yale-CORE China that compared the widespread and successful use of antihypertensives in the United States for managing blood pressure to their infrequent use in China.
- Suman Dua, Monika Bhuker, Pankhuri Sharma, Meenal Dhall, Satwanti Kapoor., "Body Mass Index Relates to Blood Pressure Among Adults" PMC (2014) Feb; 6(2): 89-95. doi: 10.4103/1947-2714.127751
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