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Modestly Higher-than-Normal Blood Pressure May Raise Stroke Risk

Posted Oct 19 2011 10:14pm
Posted on 2011-10-19 06:00:00 in Blood Pressure | Stroke |

Blood pressure at the higher end of the normal range – known as “prehypertension” -- appears to be associated with a greater risk of stroke, report Bruce Ovbiagele, MD, from the University of California/Los Angeles (UCLA; California, USA), and colleagues.  Prehypertension is defined as  having a systolic blood pressure of 120 to 139 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure of 80 to 89 mm Hg.  The researchers completed a pooled analysis of 12 studies that included a total of 518,520 participants from the U.S., Japan, China, and India. The prevalence of prehypertension in the studies ranged from 25% to 46%. After adjustment for established cardiovascular risk factors, including age, sex, diabetes, body mass index or another measure of overweight or obesity, cholesterol, and smoking, having a systolic pressure of 120 to 139 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure of 80 to 89 mm Hg at baseline was associated with a 55% greater risk of incident stroke.  The finding was consistent across subgroups defined by sex, race/ethnicity, stroke endpoint (fatal versus all strokes), stroke subtypes, and follow-up duration. Emphasizing that: “Prehypertension is associated with a higher risk of incident stroke,” the team submits that: “This risk is largely driven by higher values within the prehypertensive range and is especially relevant in nonelderly persons.”

M. Lee, J.L. Saver, B. Chang, K.-H. Chang, Q. Hao, B. Ovbiagele.  “Presence of baseline prehypertension and risk of incident stroke: A meta-analysis.”  Neurology, October 4, 2011, 77:1330-1337.

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