Health In Focus
  • Fluctuations in the risk factors of heart attack and stroke may be associated with a higher risk of the disease conditions as well as death from any cause
  • The variability of four risk factors - weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and/or blood sugar levels were measured in healthy people
  • High variability in the risk factors leads to the risk of heart attack, stroke or death from any cause

High variability in weight, blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol in people who are healthy may be at a higher risk of heart attack, stroke and death due to any cause as compared to people whose readings are more stable, according to a new research in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.
Heart Attack, Stroke Risk Increases With Irregular Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar

This is the first study that indicates that
  • Fluctuations in these risk factors has a negative impact on relatively healthy people
  • The risk increases if a person has multiple measures that are highly variable


The researchers examined data of 6,748,773 people who were taken from the Korean National Health Insurance system. All the participants were found to have no previous history of heart attack and were free of diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol at the beginning of the study.

The team conducted a minimum of three health examinations between 2005 and 2012 (every two years is recommended in the system) on the participants. They checked and documented their body weight, fasting blood sugar, systolic (top number) blood pressure and total cholesterol.

During the average 5.5 year follow-up period, compared to people who had stable measurements, those who had a variability of around 25 percent on all measures were:
  • 41 percent more likely to have a stroke
  • 43 percent more likely to have a heart attack
  • 127 percent more likely to die
High variability could result from either positive or negative changes. When the researchers looked separately at the effect of variability in participants whose condition improved or worsened by more than 5 percent on each measurement, they found that high variability was associated with a significantly higher risk of death in both the groups.

"Healthcare providers should pay attention to the variability in measurements of a patient's blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels as well as body weight. Trying to stabilize these measurements may be an important step in helping them improve their health," said Seung-Hwan Lee, M.D., Ph.D., senior author of the study and professor of endocrinology at the College of Medicine of the Catholic University of Korea in Seoul, South Korea.

Limitations of the study could be that the participants were only from Korea and the results might not apply to the United States or other countries. However, earlier studies on variability have been performed in different populations.

Also, the study was observational and does not prove that high variability in the risk factors leads to the risk of heart attack, stroke or death from any cause.

Reference :
  1. Yo-yoing weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar readings may raise heart attack and stroke risk - (

Source: Medindia

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