Is High or Low Blood Pressure More Likely to Trigger Heart Attacks? You’ll Be Shocked at the Answer
High blood pressure and heart attacks go hand in hand, or so we used to think. Having chronic high blood pressure, also called hypertension, can lead to serious health issues such as heart disease, heart attack, stroke and even kidney disease. Heart disease patients are frequently advised on all kinds of ways to lower their blood pressure such as dietary changes and lifestyle habit changes, and are prescribed blood pressure lowering medication.
Ironically, a new study has found that low blood pressure in people could increase the risk of heart attacks, and doctors are now being cautioned to be aware of lowering blood pressure too much in those with coronary artery disease.
The study was done by an international team of scientists including researchers from the Imperial College London, and was published in the online journal The Lancet.
Normally, people with regular blood pressure will have readings around or below 120/80. These readings are measured as systolic pressure (the force of blood against the artery walls) over diastolic pressure (blood pressure between heartbeats) and is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Over 1 in 3 people have chronic hypertension.
During this huge international study, 22,672 people from 45 countries who were on medication for hypertension and also had heart disease were monitored. The researchers found that blood pressure readings of higher than 140/80 was linked to higher chance of stroke and heart attacks. That didn’t surprise anyone.
What did come as a surprise though, was that they alos discovered that a systolic blood pressure reading higher than 120 mmHg as well as a diastolic blood pressure below 70 mmHg was also linked to a higher risk for heart attacks, heart failure and death due to those two things.
This information confirmed two things: First, that it is certainly important to treat high blood pressure, as was already known. However, overly aggressive blood pressure control could lead to great disaster for those with coronary disease and hypertension.