Lowering BP Can Help Cut Women's Heart Disease
MONDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Many middle-aged women could
significantly reduce their risk of heart disease by lowering their
blood pressure, researchers say.
High systolic blood pressure (the pressure when the heart
contracts) is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease
and its common outcomes -- heart attack, heart failure and stroke
-- in middle-aged and older women around the world, according to
the report released Jan. 24 in the journal
In a blood pressure reading, systolic blood pressure is the
first number recorded; in 120/80, for example, the systolic
pressure is 120.
The researchers also found that the proportion of potentially
preventable and reversible heart disease is almost 36 percent in
women, compared with 24 percent in men.
In the study, an international team of researchers followed
9,357 women and men, average age 53, in Europe, Asia and South
America for a period of more than 11 years. They found that three
major risk factors account for 85 percent of reversible risk for
heart disease in women and men: high systolic blood pressure, high
cholesterol and smoking. High systolic blood pressure was the most
important risk factor.
"We found that a 15 mm Hg increase in systolic blood pressure increased the risk of cardiovascular disease by 56 percent in women, compared to 32 percent in men," Dr. Jan A. Staessen, director of the Studies Coordinating Center in the cardiovascular rehabilitation division at the University of Leuven in Belgium, said in an American Heart Association news release.
"It is recognized that women live longer than men, but that older women usually report lower quality of life than men. By lowering systolic pressure by 15 mm Hg in hypertensive women, there would be an increased benefit in quality of life by the prevention of cardiovascular disease in about 40 percent in women compared to 20 percent in men," he said.
As a result, women and their doctors should become more
aggressive in their diagnosis and treatment of high systolic blood
pressure, Staessen recommended.
The American Academy of Family Physicians outlines ways to
lower your blood pressure.
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