Healthy Heart Habits Linked to Lower High Blood Pressure Risk

In middle-aged Black and white adults, better heart health was linked to a lower risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension), stated research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, an open access journal of the American Heart Association.

“High blood pressure is among the most common conditions in the U.S., and it contributes to the greatest burden of disability and largest reduction in healthy life expectancy among any disease,” said Timothy B. Plante, M.D., M.H.S., lead study author and assistant professor in the department of medicine at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont in Burlington. “Even though high blood pressure causes so much death and disability, we don’t know the root cause of it.”

Study Details

  • Study participants: 2,939 Black and White adults, ages 45 and older from the REasons for Geographic and Racial Disparities in Stroke (REGARDS), who are free from high blood pressure.
  • The link between high and low LS7 scores with the risk of developing high blood pressure within 10 years was examined.
  • The LS7 is a measure of a person’s overall cardiovascular health. The highest possible LS7 score is 14, and there are three rankings for cardiovascular health: 10 to 14 is ideal; 5 to 9 is average; and 0 to 4 is poor.

Study Results

  • Median LS7 total score was in the “average category” (9 points).
  • Over about a 9-year follow-up, 42% of participants developed high blood pressure.
  • The incidence in Black adults was 52% in women and 50% in men.
  • Among white adults, 37% of women and 42% of men developed high blood pressure.
  • Each one-point higher LS7 score correlated with a 6% lower hypertension risk.

“Among middle-aged people without hypertension, there is still a huge benefit to seeking optimal cardiovascular health,” Plante said. “These findings support the current clinical practice recommendations of lifestyle modifications such as eating better, quitting smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight to all people, including those without high blood pressure.”

The study is limited; it points to an association between LS7 scores and the risk of developing high blood pressure. The next step is to conduct a randomized trial to confirm improving LS7 scores can help decrease hypertension risk.

Source: Medindia

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