Lowering BP in Women Reduces Heart Disease Risk

Many cardiovascular events could be avoided in older age through blood pressure lowering

TUESDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News) -- High systolic blood pressure (BP) appears to be a substantial risk factor for cardiovascular events in women middle-aged and older, and many of these events are potentially preventable with lowered BP, according to research published online Jan. 24 in Hypertension.

José Boggia, M.D., of the Universidad de la República in Montevideo, Uruguay, and colleagues measured 24-hour ambulatory BP in 9,357 women and men looking for sex-specific relative and absolute risks associated with BP.

The researchers found women to be at lower risk than men for death and all cardiovascular events, but women had a higher proportion of potentially preventable cardiovascular events compared with men, at 35.9 and 24.2 percent, respectively, per a one standard deviation decrease in relation to 24-hour systolic BP. The proportion of potentially preventable events was also higher in women than men for all-cause mortality (23.1 versus 12.3 percent) and cardiovascular (35.1 versus 19.4 percent), cerebrovascular (38.3 versus 25.9 percent), and cardiac events (31 versus 16 percent) in relation to systolic nighttime BP.

"In conclusion, although absolute risks associated with systolic BP were lower in women than men, our results reveal a vast and largely unused potential for cardiovascular prevention by BP-lowering treatment in women," the authors write.

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