“The findings are disturbing and indicate a need for systematic efforts to better detect those with high blood pressure,” study author Dr. Salim Yusuf, a professor of medicine at McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine in Hamilton Ontario, said in a statement . Blood pressure refers to the force that blood pushes against the walls of arteries as the heart pumps blood. People with high blood pressure may not experience outright symptoms, but over time the pressure could damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys and other organ systems. About one in three adults has high blood pressure, but as the new research suggests, many may not know it.
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Long-term variations in blood pressure raises risk of early death
Their results showed that the magnitude of visit-to-visit blood pressure variation was a strong predictor of mortality, independent of their long-term average blood pressure. Even those individuals who would be considered well-controlled in terms of blood pressure values at each visit, showed a higher risk if they had wide swings in their blood pressure readings between clinic visits. The findings have been published in the journal Hypertension with an accompanying editorial which stated: “The demonstration that ultra longterm BPV recorded over up to 9 years is also a strong predictor of mortality in treated hypertensives further emphasizes the importance of not only achieving but also maintaining stable BP control in the long term.” High blood pressure is considered a silent killer , as it causes no symptoms and if untreated results in early stroke, heart attack and death. The current treatment of high blood pressure revolves around regular blood pressure checks and adjusting treatment to get the blood pressure down to safe levels. Dr Sandosh Padmanabhan, who led the study, said: “Blood pressure is inherently variable and will fluctuate due to a complex interaction of various factors.
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Checking blood pressure at home pays off
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1 in 3 adults in the United States has high blood pressure, and half of them don’t have it under control. High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death in the United States. Even though the American Heart Association and other organizations have called for greater use of home blood pressure monitoring , it isn’t yet widespread. One reason is that insurance coverage for such programs still lags. Another is that full-fledged efforts like the one in Minnesota could cost $1,350 per person.
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