Extreme swings in blood pressure are just as deadly as having consistently high blood pressure

November 09, 2017

Extreme ups and downs in systolic blood pressure may be just as deadly as having consistently high blood pressure, according to a new study from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City.

Following a review of electronic medical records, researchers from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute discovered that patients with systolic blood pressure numbers that varied by as much as 30 or 40 between doctor visits over an extended period of time were more likely to die than those with less extreme variances in their blood pressure.

The systolic blood pressure reading (the upper number) indicates how much pressure blood is exerting against the artery walls when the heart beats. According to the American Heart Association, a normal systolic blood pressure is less than 120. High blood pressure is categorized as above 140.

"Blood pressure is one of those numbers we encourage people to keep track of, as it's one indicator of your health heart," said Brian Clements, DO, an internal medicine specialist with the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, and lead invesigator of the study. "The takeaway from the study is, if you allow your blood pressure to be uncontrolled for any period of time, or notice big changes in your blood pressure between doctor visits, you increase your risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney or heart failure, or even death."

Results of the study of nearly 11,000 patients will be reported at the 2017 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Anaheim, CA, on Monday, November 13, at 12:45 p.m., PST.

Researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute modeled their study after an analysis of the largest hypertension clinical trial ever conducted - the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT).

They examined visit-to-visit variability of systolic blood pressure in 10,903 patient records from Intermountain Healthcare facilities. The patients were required to have had seven blood pressure measurements between 2007 and 2011. After the date of their seventh recorded systolic blood pressure measurement, the patients were followed for five years, with researchers looking at all causes of mortality.

"The call to action for patients as a result of this study is to do everything they can to control their blood pressure on a regular basis," said Dr. Clements. "Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and if your doctor has prescribed you medications for your blood pressure, be sure and take them consistently. Because any time your blood pressure is out of control, you're at higher risk of injury or death."

In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to increased stiffness of large arteries, long-term build-up of plaque, and increased incidence of cardiac and vascular disease, according to the the American Heart Association.

Dr. Clements also recommends that people control their environment when measuring their blood pressure to help reduce additional variables from influencing the measurement. "After the ALLHAT study, we were in a unique position because Intermountain Healthcare has such a rich database of records that are perfect for identifying trends and outcomes," said Dr. Clements. "In this case, we're working to identify the cause of the variances in systolic blood pressure and learn if it's an independent predictor of mortality, thus helping clinicians work with their patients to better manage their heart health."
-end-
Other members of the research team include Nathan Allred; Erik Riessen; Benjamin Horne, PhD; Raymond O. McCubrey; Heidi T. May, PhD; and Joseph B. Muhlestein, MD.

The Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, which is part of the Intermountain Healthcare system based in Salt Lake City, is one of the premier cardiovascular centers in the country.

Intermountain Medical Center

Related Blood Pressure Articles from Brightsurf:

Children who take steroids at increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, blood clots
Children who take oral steroids to treat asthma or autoimmune diseases have an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and blood clots, according to Rutgers researchers.

High blood pressure treatment linked to less risk for drop in blood pressure upon standing
Treatment to lower blood pressure did not increase and may decrease the risk of extreme drops in blood pressure upon standing from a sitting position.

Changes in blood pressure control over 2 decades among US adults with high blood pressure
National survey data were used to examine how blood pressure control changed overall among U.S. adults with high blood pressure between 1999-2000 and 2017-2018 and by age, race, insurance type and access to health care.

Transient increase in blood pressure promotes some blood vessel growth
Blood vessels are the body's transportation system, carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells and whisking away waste.

Effect of reducing blood pressure medications on blood pressure control in older adults
Whether the amount of blood pressure medications taken by older adults could be reduced safely and without a significant change in short-term blood pressure control was the objective of this randomized clinical trial that included 534 adults 80 and older.

Brain blood flow sensor discovery could aid treatments for high blood pressure & dementia
A study led by researchers at UCL has discovered the mechanism that allows the brain to monitor its own blood supply, a finding in rats which may help to find new treatments for human conditions including hypertension (high blood pressure) and dementia.

Here's something that will raise your blood pressure
The apelin receptor (APJ) has been presumed to play an important role in the contraction of blood vessels involved in blood pressure regulation.

New strategy for treating high blood pressure
The key to treating blood pressure might lie in people who are 'resistant' to developing high blood pressure even when they eat high salt diets, shows new research published today in Experimental Physiology.

Arm cuff blood pressure measurements may fall short for predicting heart disease risk in some people with resistant high blood pressure
A measurement of central blood pressure in people with difficult-to-treat high blood pressure could help reduce risk of heart disease better than traditional arm cuff readings for some patients, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions.

Heating pads may lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure when lying down
In people with supine hypertension due to autonomic failure, a condition that increases blood pressure when lying down, overnight heat therapy significantly decreased systolic blood pressure compared to a placebo.

Read More: Blood Pressure News and Blood Pressure Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.