For many years, doctors have warned their patients of the importance of maintaining normal blood pressure. Recently, cardiologists lowered the recommended blood pressure reading to 120/80 or below. People whose blood pressure is above this level are considered to have hypertension.
While both numbers in the blood pressure reading are important, doctors normally show more concern over the top number being too high. This is know as the systolic blood pressure. High systolic blood pressure is proven to increase the incidence of heart attacks and strokes.
A new study conducted by Kaiser Permanente published in the New England Journal Of Medicine now shows that the bottom number in the blood pressure reading is just as important in predicting cardiovascular disease as the top number. The study showed that diastolic and systolic blood pressure both need to be taken into consideration when a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke is assessed.
This study is receiving a great deal of credence due to the large number of people who were part of the study. The research conducted by Kaiser Permanente involved over 1.3 million people who provided approximately 36 million blood pressure readings. The researchers kept track of the participants blood pressure and overall health for a period of eight years.
During the time period of the study, researchers saw that the top number in the blood pressure reading did have the greatest effect on a person’s cardiovascular health. However, the researchers also demonstrated that a high lower number in the blood pressure reading could cause detrimental effects on cardiovascular health as well. Those in the study with high diastolic numbers had an increased risk of stroke, ischemic attacks and heart disease.
Doctors are now urged to take the whole blood pressure reading into consideration when deciding upon treatment protocols for their patients. Cardiologists continue to urge patients to be diligent in checking their blood pressure and to keep their blood pressure within the normal range.