A new study has revealed that people who have blood pressure results that swing wildly between doctors’ visits are more likely to die than those who have less of a variation.
The study from the Intermountain Medical Center in the US found that patients whose blood pressure varied 30 to 40 points between visits faced a higher risk of death than those whose blood pressure remained fairly steady.
Internal medicine specialist and lead investigator of the study, Dr Brian Clements explains that “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 said.
For their study, researchers looked at systolic blood pressure readings, which indicate the amount of pressure that the blood is exerting against artery walls when the heart beats.
A normal systolic blood pressure is less than 120 and high blood pressure is classed as anything above 140.
The study highlights that as people age, systolic blood pressure rises due to an increased stiffness in the arteries and a long-term build up of plaque.
According to the study, the increased incidence of cardiac and vascular disease is also a factor in increasing blood pressure results.
Dr Clements has some of his own tips for those wanting to control their blood pressure.
“The call to action for patients as a result of this study is to do everything they can to control their blood pressure on a regular basis,” he told Science Daily.
“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.”
Dr Clements also recommends that if you are taking blood pressure readings yourself, you should control your environment to reduce the risk of variables disrupting the pressure reading.
He recommends laying down for 15 minutes before taking your blood pressure and not partaking in anything stressful that could raise your blood pressure.
He also stresses the importance of finding a blood pressure cuff that fits. Anything that is too tight or too large may not give you an accurate reading.