A rise in blood pressure during middle age significantly raises the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke during a person’s lifetime, report Northwestern University School of Medicine (Illinois, USA) researchers. Norrina Allen and colleagues analyzed data from 61,585 participants in the Cardiovascular Lifetime Risk Pooling Project. Starting with baseline blood pressure readings at age 41, researchers measured blood pressure again at age 55, then followed the patients until the occurrence of a first heart attack or stroke, death or age 95.
Men who developed high blood pressure in middle age or who started out with high blood pressure had a 70% risk of having a heart attack or stroke, compared to a 41% risk for men who maintained low blood pressure or whose blood pressure decreased during the time period.
Women who developed high blood pressure had almost a 50% risk of a heart attack or stroke, compared to a 22% risk for those who kept their blood pressure low or saw a decrease.
People that maintain or reduce their blood pressure to normal levels by age 55 have the lowest lifetime risk for a heart attack or a stroke.
I urge my patient’s to prevent high blood pressure through exercise, diet and nutrition efforts. I will be happy to discuss this with you.
In a new study, University of Minnesota researchers, in collaboration with the Veterans Affairs Health Care System in Minneapolis, examined data collected on more than 20,000 subjects who participated in two major national health surveys between 1959 and 1976.
When they compared blood pressure readings and two decades of long-term survival data they confirmed something we’ve known for years: Systolic BP is more important as we get older. But with the new data, they were able to produce these two specific guidelines:
1) People under the age of 50 with diastolic BP above 100 were significantly more likely to die prematurely, no matter what their systolic BP was.
2) People over the age of 50 with systolic BP above 140 were significantly more likely to die prematurely, no matter what their diastolic BP was.
Cardiovascular benefits of cocoa.
Activity of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)—a target for blood pressure medication—was significantly inhibited by dark chocolate containing 72% cocoa, with the degree of inhibition dependent upon the genotype of the human subjects, according to new findings published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology. ACE inhibitors work by inhibiting the conversion of angiotensin I to the potent vasoconstrictor, angiotensin II, thereby improving blood flow and blood pressure.
The new study, led by scientists from the Faculty of Health Sciences at Linkoping University in Sweden, found that cocoa’s effect upon ACE activity was also related to ACE genotype, with ACE inhibition reduced by 21% in ACE I/I and 28% in ACE D/D three hours after consumption. The study deepens our understanding of the potential cardiovascular benefits of cocoa and the compounds it contains.
In terms of blood pressure, a meta-analysis by researchers from the University Hospital of Cologne found that consumption of cocoa had significant positive effects on hypertension. Writing in the Archives of Internal Medicine (2007, Vol. 167, pp. 626-634), the Cologne-based scientists stated: “The magnitude of the hypotensive effects of cocoa is clinically noteworthy; it is in the range that is usually achieved with monotherapy of beta-blockers or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors.” The majority of science into the potential benefits of cocoa have revolved around cardiovascular benefits of the flavanols (also known as flavan-3-ols or catechins) and particularly the monomeric flavanol (-) epicatechin.
For the new study, Ingrid Persson and her co-workers recruited 16 volunteers aged between 20 and 45, and asked them to eat 75 grams of dark chocolate with 72% cocoa content every day for two weeks. Results showed a significant inhibition of ACE activity, with a reduction of about 18% observed between before and after the cocoa intake. Such a reduction is equivalent to those observed with antihypertensive medications, said the researchers. “Our results indicate that lifestyle changes, with the help of foods that contain high catechin and procyanidin content, prevent cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Persson. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology 57(1):44-50, 2011
Whey protein beverages reduced blood pressure in young men and women in a six-week controlled intervention. A study out of Washington State University found that daily consumption of whey protein resulted in at least a six-point reduction in average blood pressure of women and men who had pre-existing high blood pressure.
This study is published in the International Dairy Journal. Whey protein as in UltraMeal is low-cost and has not been linked to any adverse effects. I recommend at least 2 scops daily. I order my whey proteain from Metagenics at www.DrJeffreyTucker.meta-ehealth.com
High blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer” as it typically does not present with any symptoms. However, high blood pressure is strongly correlated with stroke risk, as well as risk of heart disease, the nation’s number-one killer. Risk factors for high blood pressure include: age, black race, family history, obesity or overweight, lack of exercise, smoking, a high sodium diet, inadequate potassium and vitamin D, heavy drinking and emotional stress. High blood pressure can also lead to an aneurysm, heart failure, kidney problems, vision loss, metabolic syndrome (which can lead to type 2 diabetes) and memory problems.
International Dairy Journal 20(11):753-760, 2010