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Systolic and diastolic hypertension predict different CVD risk

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Raised systolic and diastolic blood pressures may have different effects on different types of cardiovascular diseases and at different ages, according to a major UK study.

The findings suggest that individuals with higher systolic blood pressures have a greater risk of intracerebral haemorrhage, subarachnoid haemorrhage and stable angina, while raised diastolic blood pressure is a better indicator of abdominal aortic aneurysm risk.

“The stronger link found between diastolic blood pressure and abdominal aortic aneurysms is interesting”

Doireann Maddock

The study is the first to explore the effects of blood pressure on the risk of 12 different cardiovascular conditions in various age groups as a first presentation of cardiovascular disease.

Researchers examined blood pressure data on 1.25 million English patients without cardiovascular disease, who were aged 30 years and older. They were followed for five years to record the first cardiovascular event.

The researchers also calculated the lifetime risks of developing specific cardiovascular diseases linked with high blood pressure at age 30 through to 80 years of age.

The study suggested that a 30 year old person with high blood pressure had a lifetime risk of 63% of developing cardiovascular disease, compared with 46% in an individual with a healthy blood pressure, and was likely to develop cardiovascular disease five years earlier.

Doireann Maddock, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This study emphasises how vital it is to identify people with it and ensure they’re treated properly.

“This study is a good example of the power of being able to link patient databases to create new knowledge about diseases, and the stronger link found between diastolic blood pressure and abdominal aortic aneurysms is interesting.

“Clinical trials need to be undertaken to see if treatments targeted at reducing diastolic blood pressure have a beneficial impact on these types of aneurysms.”

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