Individuals suffering from prehypertension are more likely to have an increased risk of stroke, researchers at the University of California, San Diego have recently found.
According to the research, a person who has prehypertension – that is systolic blood pressure between 120 and 139 or a diastolic blood pressure between 80 and 89 – is 55 percent more likely to suffer a stroke compared to a person with normal blood pressure. That risk was measurably higher, 79%, for those whose blood pressure was in the high end of prehypertension.
“[The] Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the United States,” says Dr. Bruce Ovbiagele, the study’s lead author and a professor of neurosciences at UC-San Diego. “If you fall into the prehypertensive category you should take it very seriously and strongly consider a change in lifestyle to try and reduce your risk of stroke.”
Recommended changes, according to researchers, include losing weight, exercising (for at least 30 minutes per day), and reducing the intake of alcohol and salt. Smoking should also be stopped.
In addition to lowering the risk of a stroke, adopting healthier habits may also reduce risk of heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease, which can result from prolonged elevated blood pressure.
The research reviewed 12 studies covering more than half a million people in cohorts representative of the general population: four from the US, five from Japan, two from China and one from India. The period covered by the studies ranged from 2.7 to 32 years and all incidents of stroke were documented.
Full results of the study can be found in the journal Neurology.