July 30, 2019 – Blood Pressure Dangers


Anchor lead: if either of your blood pressure numbers is high, you may be at risk for heart disease, Elizabeth Tracey reports

If either the top number of your blood pressure reading, called systolic, or the bottom number, called diastolic, is high, you’re at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, a recent huge study in the New England Journal of Medicine found. Erin Michos, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, says if either or both are elevated, treatment is needed.

Michos: It’s not surprising to me. We know that both systolic and diastolic high blood pressure increase cardiovascular risk. We have targets to be considered hypertension if you’re above either of them, so if you’re above 130 or you’re above 80 diastolic. Stroke risk seems to correlate a little bit more with systolic so we focus on that a little bit more but I have quite a lot of people that have a high diastolic. The vast majority of patients I have with elevated diastolic all tend to be younger men where isolated systolic tends to be older women. :30

Treatment is known to reduce cardiovascular risk, Michos notes. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.