Too Low Blood Pressure Could Trigger Heart Attacks


Doctors are being urged to be cautious about lowering blood pressure too much in people with coronary artery disease, because it may increase the risk of heart attacks, according to a study.

An international team of scientists, including researchers from Imperial College London, found that while high blood pressure is responsible for heart attacks, blood pressure that is too low could also trigger them.

What Blood Pressure Readings Mean

Blood pressure readings are measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and are written as systolic pressure — the force of the blood against the artery walls as your heart beats — over diastolic pressure — the blood pressure between heartbeats.

People with ideal blood pressure will have readings below 120 over 80, expressed as 120/80. About 1 in 3 U.S. adults have high blood pressure, the American Heart Association says.

Having high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can lead to health problems including heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and kidney disease.

International Study

The study followed 22,672 people from 45 countries who had heart disease and who were also on medication for high blood pressure.

The scientists found that a blood pressure reading higher than 140/80 was linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

However, they also discovered that a systolic blood pressure reading higher than 120 mmHg, as well as  a diastolic blood pressure below 70 mmHg, were associated with a higher chance of death, having a heart attack, and hospitalization for heart failure.

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SOURCE: WebMD Health News
Peter Russell