Fluctuating Blood Pressure May Increase Risk of CVD in Elderly

Higher blood pressure, blood pressure fluctuations linked to higher risk of cerebrovascular disease
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- High blood pressure (BP) and greater BP fluctuations are associated with an increased risk for cerebrovascular disease in older adults, according to research published in the May issue of the Archives of Neurology.

Adam M. Brickman, Ph.D., of Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues conducted an epidemiological study of 686 non-demented older adults whose BP measurements were taken during three study visits at two-year intervals to determine the association between BP and long-term fluctuation in BP with cerebrovascular disease. The subjects were divided into four groups defined as below or above the group median and divided again as below or above the median standard deviation (SD).

The researchers found that white matter hyperintensity volume grew in the four groups in a linear matter, being lowest in the lowest mean/lowest SD group and highest in the highest mean/highest SD group. The frequency of brain infarctions also increased across the groups (22 to 41 percent).

"Compared with individuals with low BP and low fluctuations in BP, the risk of cerebrovascular disease increased with higher BP and BP fluctuations. Given that cerebrovascular disease is associated with disability, these findings suggest that interventions should focus on long-term fluctuating BP and elevated BP," the authors conclude.

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