Hypertension: a cardiovascular risk

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Systolic (maximum) blood pressure over 150 mmHg increases the cardiovascular risk of heart attack, stroke and other fatal events. If blood pressure rises, therapy should be intensified within a maximum time of one month and a half. This is confirmed by a study published in the British Medical Journal.

A retrospective study on over 88 thousand hypertensive adults showed that having systolic blood pressure values above 150mmHg is a factor that increases cardiovascular risk of potentially fatal events, including heart attack and stroke. The study, carried out at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital – BWH (Boston, USA) and published in the British Medical Journal, also examined patients with blood pressure values between 130 and 150mmHg, to understand the impact of pharmacological treatment on the risk of heart attack and stroke. The study took into consideration 88,756 adult hypertensive patients who received primary care in the United Kingdom between 1986 and 2010.

Researchers identified two factors, aside from blood pressure above 150mmHg, connected to an increased risk of death due to cardiovascular events (heart attack, stroke or others): late intervention in terms of beginning or intensifying treatment and delay in the re-evaluation (follow up) of the patient’s case.

Alexander Turchin, senior author, doctor and researcher at the Endocrinology Division of the BWH and director of clinical Informatics at the Harvard Clinical Research Institute, states the intent to collect as much information as possible in order to understand how the delays in treatment can influence the probability of such events. If blood pressure increases, delaying the intensification of the therapy by over a month and a half can increase the risk of potentially fatal events, and the same goes for delaying the follow up on blood pressure levels over 3 months after a change in therapy.

Turchin stresses that high blood pressure is curable, and that the correct treatment can reduce individual risk. It is however necessary to know the optimal levels of blood pressure, when to intensify treatment and when to follow up on the patient’s blood pressure levels. This kind of research highlights the importance of avoiding delays in the treatment and of booking follow-up appointments for hypertensive patients.

Regularly monitoring your blood pressure levels helps you manage it in the most appropriate way, reducing cardiovascular risk.

 

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