London, Dec. 12 (Reuters): Lowering blood pressure, even for people with normal levels, can prevent heart disease and save lives, researchers said.
Doctors already knew high blood pressure was an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease but an analysis of 61 studies, involving a million people from around the globe, has shown the link is stronger than experts had previously thought.
“Lower blood pressure means lower risk (of cardiovascular disease) whatever your blood pressure is already,” Dr Sarah Lewington of the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford said.
Elderly people or patients who already have a high risk of cardiovascular disease because they have had a heart attack or stroke, or they smoke or have diabetes, could cut their risk by lowering their blood pressure even if it is considered normal.
Blood pressure is measured by two readings — systolic pressure, when the beat or contraction of the heart forces the blood around the body, and diastolic pressure which occurs between heartbeats.
“The analysis suggests there is no level at which you are suddenly at risk of heart disease because of high blood pressure. There is a continuous relationship,” added Lewington.