Wednesday, April 1, 2015
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A new meta-analysis reveals that blood pressure slightly above the optimal level may lead to an increased risk of stroke.
High blood pressure is considered one of the major risk factor for stroke and heart diseases. However, authors of the new study say having blood pressure that is slightly above the normal reading of 120/80 mmHg may increase the risk of stroke.
The researchers conducted a meta-analysis of data from 19 studies involving more than 760,000 participants who were followed from four to 36 years. The group included people with hypertension or those with blood pressure that was higher than the optimal but lower than the high blood pressure threshold of 140/90 mmHg. Nearly 25-54 percent suffered from pre-high blood pressure.
It was observed that subjects who had pre-high blood pressure were over 66 percent more vulnerable to develop stroke compared to people with normal blood pressure, even when such factors as high cholesterol, diabetes and smoking were taken into account.
The researchers also found that almost 20 percent of the subjects suffered a stroke resulting from pre-high blood pressure.
Later during the research, the team noticed that the risk of stroke was nearly 95 percent higher in those in high prehypertension range (i.e. above 130/85 mmHg) compared to those with normal blood pressure.
“These findings, if confirmed, have important takeaways for the public,” said study author Dingli Xu, MD, of Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China. “Considering the high proportion of the population who have higher than normal blood pressure, successful treatment of this condition could prevent many strokes and make a major difference in public health.”