Newswise, September 29, 2011--Even people
with blood pressure that is slightly above
normal may be at an increased risk of
stroke, according to a review of studies
published in the September 28, 2011, online
issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of
the American Academy of Neurology.
“With an estimated one out of three people in the United
States having slightly elevated blood pressure levels,
which is known as prehypertension, further studies are
needed to look at whether reducing blood pressure in
this group can help lower the risk of stroke,” said
study author Bruce Ovbiagele, MD, MSc, of the University
of California, San Diego, and a Fellow of the American
Academy of Neurology.
Prehypertension is defined by a systolic
blood pressure (top number) of between
120 and 139 mmHg or diastolic blood
pressure (bottom number) between 80 and
For the review, researchers analyzed the results of 12
previous studies involving the blood pressure and stroke
occurrence of 518,520 adults. Studies were included by
searching medical databases and libraries.
The review found people with prehypertension were 50
percent more likely to develop stroke compared to people
with normal blood pressure levels, even after accounting
for factors such as age, sex, diabetes, obesity,
cholesterol and smoking.
In addition, young and middle age people may be at risk
for stroke. The review found people under age 65 with
prehypertension were nearly 80 percent more likely to
develop a stroke compared to people with normal blood
pressure. “These people may immediately benefit from
blood pressure lowering methods, such as reducing their
salt intake and weight, to help reduce their risk of
stroke,” Ovbiagele said.
The American Academy of Neurology, an
association of more than 24,000 neurologists
and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated
to promoting the highest quality
patient-centered neurologic care. A
neurologist is a doctor with specialized
training in diagnosing, treating and
managing disorders of the brain and nervous
system such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke,
migraine, multiple sclerosis, brain injury,
Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.