Predicting Heart Attack Risk

New studies conducted by researchers at the University of California at Irvine Heart Disease Prevention Program in conjunction with researchers at the Framingham Heart Study indicate that systolic blood pressure values alone are not the best indicators of heart attack risk.

Reviewing blood pressure data from 9,657 participants in the Framingham Heart Study who were not on blood pressure medication, researchers found that the combination of high systolic values (the top number) and low diastolic pressure (the bottom number) was a superior predictor of future cardiovascular events.

Currently, physicians reading a blood pressure of 140/90 generally diagnose hypertension and may prescribe blood pressure lowering drugs. This new study indicates that if a large gap exists between the systolic and diastolic numbers, for example 140/60, they would be more indicative of increased hardening of the arteries, a strong risk factor for heart disease.

The FraminghamHeart Study appears in the journal Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association.



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