Fluctuations in blood pressure can be just as deadly as having high blood pressure, according to a new study.
The research that examined the systolic blood pressure of 10,903 patients revealed that if someone's blood pressure varied by as much as 30 or 40 over an extended period of time then they are more likely to die than those with less extreme variances in their blood pressure.
The systolic blood pressure reading (the upper number) indicates how much pressure blood is exerting against the artery walls when the heart beats. According to the American Heart Association, a normal systolic blood pressure is less than 120. High blood pressure is categorized as above 140.
Internal medicine specialist with the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, Brian Clements said, "Blood pressure is one of those numbers we encourage people to keep track of, as it's one indicator of your health heart."
"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," he added.
Commenting on the call to action, Dr. Clements advised patients to control their environment while measuring blood pressure and said, "Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and if your doctor has prescribed you medications for your blood pressure, be sure and take them consistently. Because any time your blood pressure is out of control, you're at higher risk of injury or death."
This can help clinicians work with their patients to better manage their heart health.
The research was conducted at Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City and the results were reported at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Anaheim on Monday.