CBS news reports on blood pressure, obesity and strokes. Research shows that being overweight or obese can lead to high blood pressure and strokes but many doctors often do not convey the gravity of this situation to patients.
Numerous overweight individuals also have high blood pressure and are unaware that this could lead to a stroke or early death. Researchers are saying that instead of using individual blood pressure readings, physicians should review the overall pattern to predict a patient’s threat of stroke or early death.
Dr. Marileen Portegies led the study. She said, “Our study suggests that looking at someone's blood pressure over time and whether it increases slowly or steeply may provide additional information above only the level of blood pressure at a certain time.”
High blood pressure (caused by being over weight) is the biggest risk factor for a stroke; however, most studies analyzing risk have looked only at measurements taken at a single point in time, the experts said.
In order to determine whether doctors should be looking at overall blood pressure reviews or individual blood pressure readings, the doctors looked at 6,700 patients. Participants were between the ages of 55 and 106.
The clinical trials were conducted over two decades in order to ensure that they were comprehensive. CBS explains, “Those whose systolic blood pressure rose steeply from mid-life on and those whose high blood pressure dropped after age 65 had the highest risk of stroke or death from other blood pressure-related diseases up to age 80.”
The researchers said that the study shows the importance of treating and preventing high blood pressure. One of the main causes of high blood pressure is often weight. Ways to stabilize blood pressure include: weight loss, exercise, yoga, and a healthy diet (one that watches salt intake).
Dr. Portegies said this finding further ‘underlines the importance of treating people with a high blood pressure, even if it is only moderately elevated’.
What were the most common increases seen over time?
The researchers saw that the most common increase was blood pressure from normal systolic BP in middle age to high. Researchers also saw that normal blood pressure in middle age to steep high was a dangerous issue.
Which group had the highest risk of stroke and death?
This was found in the class with a ‘high mid-life blood pressure and the class that increased steeply in blood pressure’. The report was recently published in the journal Hypertension.