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Heart Attack Risk Determined by Both Blood Pressure Numbers

Posted Feb 23 2009 11:48pm

The current guidelines for normal blood pressure recommend readings of less than 120/80 for adults.  High blood pressure is still considered to be a reading of 140/90 or greater.  High blood pressure is a well known risk factor for heart attacks, stroke and heart failure.

It is important to control both blood pressure numbers: the systolic (which is the first number - tells us how hard the heart is working in order to pump the blood) and the diastolic (which is the second number - tells us how relaxed the blood vessels are throughout the body).

New data has just been released from the Framingham Heart Study.  Over 9,600 adults who were not receiving high blood pressure medication were evaluated.  It was found that when their diastolic blood pressure was under 70 mmHg along with a high systolic blood pressure reading this was a greater predictor of future heart attacks and strokes.  This data suggests that people with high systolic blood pressure readings AND low diastolic blood pressure readings be managed more aggressively to control their risk for heart disease and stroke.

For information about controlling blood pressure and other risk factors see “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart”

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