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Unstable Blood Pressure Linked to Heart Disease, Heart Failure

A study that was recently published in Annals of Internal Medicine, has discovered a link between fluctuating blood pressure and heart failure.

Claribelle D Deveza, Latinos Health, Jul 29, 2015

Researchers of the study discovered that unstable blood pressure can increase the risk of heart failure or heart disease. 

The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, suggests that a variation of more than 14 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure can increase the risk of heart failure by 25 percent, reports Health Day. 

Systolic pressure is the top number when taking a blood presure reading, while diastolic is the number below, explains the site. 

Moreover, a variation of around 15 mm Hg was associated with a 30 percent greater risk of heart attack or fatal heart disease, as well as a raised risk of stroke by 46 percent. In addition, unstable blood pressure increased the fatality of a patient by 58 percent. 

According to UPI, the researchers of the study analyzed data from the Anti-hypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial, also known as, ALLHAT. 

ALLHAT involved more than 25 thousand participants, who were treated with blood pressure and cholesterol medications after experiencing a form of cardiac event, such as a stroke or heart attack.

UPI adds that the blood pressures of the participants in the study were recorded during several visits to the doctor's office. The participants' blood pressures were routinely checked within the period of 6 to 28 months.

After 28 months, the researchers of the ALLHAT study  followed up with the patients to see if they developed a cardiovascular disease or died. After reviewing the ALLHAT study, researchers found that about 2,000 patients died at the end. 

In addition, 606 patients had a stroke, about 1,000 experienced a heart failure event, and more than 1,000 patients were diagnosed with fatal coronary heart disease or had a non-fatal myocardial infartion event.

Researchers also saw a link between the amount of cardiac event experienced by a patient and varying blood pressure, after reviewing the ALLHAT study. Furthermore, it was discovered that patients who had experienced several cardiac events throughout the duration of the study, also had fluctuating blood pressure readings at the time. 

It was also observed that the more a patient's blood pressure fluctuated, the highter the risk of experiencing a major cardiac event. 

Paul Mutner, lead author of the study and professor of epidemiology at the University of Alabama School of Public Health, believes that people should be more aware of their blood pressure. He said patients should consult a doctor if they see a large variation in their blood pressure readings. 

Additionally, Mutner noted that the study's findings does not conclude that fluctuating blood pressure will ultimately lead to the development of heart disease or death. The study only shows a connection between varying blood pressure and heart disease or death. 

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