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Swings in Blood Pressure Can Pose Long-Term Dangers

Posted 10 days ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Nov. 14, 2017 – Everyone knows that sustained high blood pressure does no favors for your heart or life span. But new research suggests that up-and-down shifts in blood pressure may be equally hazardous to your health. "The takeaway from the study is, if you allow your blood pressure to be uncontrolled for any period of time, or notice big changes in your blood pressure between doctor visits, you increase your risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney or heart failure or even death," said study author Dr. Brian Clements. He's an internal medicine specialist at Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City. One cardiologist who reviewed the findings wasn't surprised. "Swings in blood pressure cause more stress to the arteries of the heart and brain than a consistent blood pressure," said Dr. Satjit Bhusri, of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He said the study ... Read more

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Some May Need a Little Help Monitoring Blood Pressure at Home

Posted 17 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

SATURDAY, Sept. 16, 2017 – Home blood pressure monitoring is on the upswing in the United States. But some adults are less likely to do so than others, a new study finds. Lower rates of home monitoring were found among those who did not have at least a high school diploma and those with no partner, according to the study. The American Heart Association advises anyone with high blood pressure, also called hypertension, to monitor it at home. "Home monitoring allows hypertensive individuals to take ownership of their treatment and helps health care providers determine whether treatments are working," the association says in a news release. Home monitoring also may point to differences between readings at the doctor's office and at home. For the new study, researchers analyzed data from more than 6,100 adults who took part in a 2013-14 federal government health survey. They found that ... Read more

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'Simple 7' Steps Can Help Improve Blood Pressure in Blacks

Posted 5 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, July 5, 2017 – Just a few healthy lifestyle habits can reduce black Americans' risk of high blood pressure, researchers say. "We found that even small improvements in cardiovascular health can reduce risk for developing high blood pressure," said study lead author John Booth III, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Nearly one-third of American adults have high blood pressure, but it is more common among blacks than whites. Among blacks, 45 percent of men and 46 percent of women have high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Uncontrolled high blood pressure can damage arteries and lead to heart disease and stroke. For the study, Booth's team assessed how closely more than 5,000 black Americans followed modifiable healthy behaviors recommended by the heart association. The AHA's "Life's Simple 7" guidelines include: not smoking; ... Read more

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Childhood Poverty May Predict Heart Failure in Adulthood

Posted 26 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, June 26, 2017 – Growing up poor might put you at risk for heart failure in adulthood, a new study suggests. Heart failure, a progressive condition, means the heart isn't pumping as well as it should. This causes fatigue and shortness of breath, and can make everyday activities difficult to carry out. Finnish researchers looked at household income for hundreds of children in 1980. The findings showed that kids from poor families were more likely than richer children to have an enlarged, poorly functioning lower left heart chamber – a sign of heart failure – three decades later. The results aren't surprising, health experts say. "There are continuing socioeconomic inequalities in health across generations and across countries," said Rebecca Hardy, from the Institute of Epidemiology and Health at University College London in England. Hardy, who is with the Lifelong Health and ... Read more

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Moving Toward a Better Blood Pressure Pill

Posted 5 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, June 5, 2017 – Combining low doses of several different blood pressure drugs may be better than using a standard dose of just one medication, a new review of past studies suggests. Two-thirds of patients taking a blood pressure-lowering drug don't improve as much as their doctors would like, the researchers noted. Citing a "critical need" for new approaches, they reviewed 42 studies involving ultra-low doses of multiple medications. Their conclusion: "Low doses can achieve large effects when used in combination," said review co-author Dr. Anthony Rodgers. "What we found was that four quarter doses [of different medications] gives a lot of benefit with few apparent side effects." High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke, heart attack and several other major conditions, so it's important to get good treatment, said Rodgers. He is a professor of global health at the George ... Read more

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Dying Patients Often Given Medicines That Won't Help Them

Posted 19 May 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, May 19, 2017 – As older people approach the end of life, many are being prescribed drugs of questionable benefit, a new study finds. "People with life-limiting illness often receive medications whose benefit is unlikely to be achieved within their remaining life span," said study author Lucas Morin. He is from the Aging Research Center at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. The study included more than half a million people, aged 65 and older, in Sweden. All died between 2007 and 2013. The proportion of patients getting at least 10 different drugs rose from 30 percent to 47 percent during the year before death, the findings showed. People who died from cancer had the largest increase in the number of drugs. Those living in institutions were given more medications than people living in the community. But the number of drugs increased more slowly for those living in an ... Read more

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Many People Don't Take Their High Blood Pressure Meds: Study

Posted 7 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, March 6, 2017 – Only 20 percent of patients seeking care for stubborn high blood pressure take all the medicine they're supposed to, a new Dutch study finds. "Another 20 percent are not taking any of their blood pressure medications," study senior author Dr. Peter Blankestijn said in an American Heart Association news release. As a result, patients sought care for a condition they could have addressed by simply following their doctor's orders, the findings suggested. "People mistakenly thought to have resistant hypertension – which is high blood pressure despite taking three or more medications – end up seeing specialists and undergoing extra tests because we don't understand why they are so difficult to treat," said Blankestijn. He is a professor of nephrology and hypertension at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands. The researchers didn't set out to ... Read more

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Hispanics, Blacks Less Likely to Get High Blood Pressure Treatment: Study

Posted 17 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 17, 2017 – Black and Hispanic Americans are less likely than whites to get high blood pressure under control, a new study suggests. Researchers reviewed data from nearly 8,800 adults who took part in the 2003-2012 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The study team found that 74 percent of white patients were getting treatment for high blood pressure. For blacks, the treatment rates were slightly lower at 71 percent. For Hispanics, the high blood pressure treatment rate was only 61 percent. Researchers also looked at high blood pressure control rates, defined as readings below 130/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) for those with diabetes or chronic kidney disease, and below 140/90 mm Hg for everyone else. Control rates were 43 percent for whites, 37 percent for blacks and 31 percent for Hispanics, the study reported. Black and Hispanics younger than 60 ... Read more

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High Blood Pressure May Not Be All Bad in the Elderly: Study

Posted 17 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 17, 2017 – Developing high blood pressure in very old age may provide some protection from dementia, a new study suggests. In middle age, high blood pressure – also called hypertension – boosts dementia risk later in life, said study lead researcher Maria Corrada. It also raises your risk for heart attack and stroke. But its onset in the eighth or ninth decade of life was linked to lower risk of mental decline in one's 90s, her team found. "Hypertension in the very old is not detrimental for mental health," said Corrada, a professor of neurology and epidemiology at the University of California, Irvine. Several factors may help explain the apparent association between late-life high blood pressure and lower dementia risk, Corrada said. For one, as people age, blood pressure may need to increase to keep blood flowing to the brain for normal functioning. "It's a matter of ... Read more

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Medical Groups Raise Blood Pressure Rx Threshold for Healthy Adults Over 60

Posted 17 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Jan. 16, 2017 – Two leading medical organizations are recommending a less aggressive target for the treatment of high blood pressure in adults 60 and older who are otherwise healthy. Traditionally, the threshold for high blood pressure has been set at 140 mmHg systolic blood pressure (the top number in a reading). But the new guideline says doctors should now begin treatment when adults 60 and older have persistent systolic blood pressure that's at or above 150 mmHg, to reduce their risk of heart problems, stroke and death. A less aggressive target like this offers a suitable balance of benefits and potential harms for these patients, according to the new guideline from the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Any additional benefit from more aggressive treatment is small, the groups say. Doctors specializing in the cardiac ... Read more

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Yoga Called Good Medicine for High Blood Pressure

Posted 8 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 8, 2016 – Yoga may help reduce blood pressure in people who are at risk for developing hypertension, a new study finds. "Patients with pre-hypertension [slightly elevated blood pressure] are likely to develop hypertension [high blood pressure] unless they improve their lifestyle," said study author Dr. Ashutosh Angrish. He is a cardiologist at Sir Gangaram Hospital in Delhi, India. "Both pre-hypertension and high blood pressure increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure," Angrish added. The new study included 60 people who had slightly elevated blood pressure but were otherwise healthy. The participants were randomly assigned to either practice hatha yoga while also making conventional lifestyle changes, or to just make the lifestyle changes (the "control" group). The lifestyle changes included moderate aerobic exercise, eating a healthier diet and ... Read more

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Normal Blood Pressure in Clinic May Mask Hypertension

Posted 5 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Dec. 5, 2016 – It's commonly believed that anxiety in the doctor's office causes patients' blood pressure to rise. But for some people, the opposite occurs: Their blood pressure is normal at their medical appointment but elevated the rest of the day. This phenomenon is called "masked hypertension." The best way to uncover it is to wear a small monitoring device for 24 hours, researchers said. For this new study, the researchers had almost 900 healthy, middle-aged patients do just that. The result: Almost 16 percent who had "normal" blood pressure at the clinic learned otherwise after around-the-clock monitoring. "In working individuals who are not being treated for hypertension [high blood pressure], our data show that ambulatory blood pressure is usually higher than clinic blood pressure," said lead researcher Joseph Schwartz. He is a professor of psychiatry and sociology at ... Read more

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High Blood Pressure Rates Have Doubled Worldwide Since 1975

Posted 16 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 16, 2016 – The number of people worldwide with high blood pressure has nearly doubled over the past 40 years, a new study reveals. At the same time, average blood pressure levels are at an all-time low in the United States and other developed nations, the researchers said. "High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for stroke and heart disease, and kills around 7.5 million people worldwide every year. Most of these deaths are experienced in the developing world," said study author Majid Ezzati, a professor at Imperial College, London in England. "Taken globally, high blood pressure is no longer a problem of the Western world or wealthy countries. It is a problem of the world's poorest countries and people," Ezzati added. The overall number of people with high blood pressure ("hypertension") rose from 594 million in 1975 to more than 1 billion in 2015, due to ... Read more

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Sharp Drop in Blood Pressure After Rx May Be Risky for Some Heart Patients

Posted 15 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Nov. 14, 2016 – In some people with high blood pressure, too-steep drops in blood pressure after drug therapy may actually raise their risk of premature death, preliminary findings suggest. Researchers led by Dr. Peter Okin, of Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, tracked data on nearly 8,000 non-diabetic adults who had high blood pressure. The researchers first looked at patients who had systolic blood pressure (the upper number in a reading) of 164 mm Hg or higher before treatment. Patients who reduced that number to less than 142 mm Hg during treatment were 32 percent more likely to die during the study period than those who lowered it to 152 mm Hg or more during treatment, the findings showed. But the scenario was different if systolic blood pressure was below 164 mm Hg before treatment, according to the report. In these cases, when drug treatment lowered systolic blood ... Read more

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'White Coat' High Blood Pressure May Signal Trouble in Older People

Posted 31 Oct 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 31, 2016 – So-called "white coat hypertension" is mostly harmless, but in some older people it may indicate a risk for heart disease, a new study suggests. White coat hypertension refers to high blood pressure readings in a doctor's office or other medical setting in people who typically have normal blood pressure. This study included 653 people with white coat hypertension and 653 with normal blood pressure. All of the study volunteers were followed for more than 10 years. During that time, there was no difference in the number of new heart problems in either group for people younger than 60. However, among 92 people aged 60 and older, there were 18 more new heart problem cases among those with white coat hypertension than in those without, according to researchers, led by Dr. Stanley Franklin from University of California, Irvine. Franklin's team said the findings ... Read more

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