High Systolic, Diastolic Blood Pressure Tied to Different Diseases

December 15th 2015

Patients with high systolic blood pressure may be at risk for different diseases than those with high diastolic blood pressure.

Patients with high systolic blood pressure may be at risk for different diseases than those with high diastolic blood pressure.

It is common knowledge that either together or alone, elevated systolic and diastolic blood pressures are linked to anincreased riskfor heart disease. What many retail clinicians may not realize, however, is that a high reading for either value may be linked to risks for different diseases.

A recent study published inThe Lancetsuggests the widely held assumption that diastolic and systolic blood pressures are concordant may be flawed.

The researchers evaluated a cohort of more than 1.25 million individuals older than 30 who were free of cardiovascular disease at the study’s outset. The participants had their blood pressure recorded regularly and were followed for an average of 5.2 years, during which 83,098 of them developed cardiovascular disease.

Any blood pressure reading under 120/80 is considered healthy, so researchers were not surprised when they found that those with readings around 140/90 were at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

After diving deeper, however, they found that “associations with high systolic blood pressure were strongest for intracerebral hemorrhage, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and stable angina, and weakest for abdominal aortic aneurysm.” Meanwhile, “raised diastolic blood pressure had a greater effect on abdominal aortic aneurysm than did raised systolic pressure.”

Therefore, study authors concluded, “systolic and diastolic blood pressure show heterogeneous associations across a wide range of acute and chronic cardiovascular diseases and at different ages.”

Regardless, a high systolic or diastolic blood pressure is still indicative of hypertension, and patients should be taking measures to lower it.

Kristen Marjama, DNP, FNP-BC, manager of clinic education and development for Walmart Care Clinic,toldContemporary Clinicthat retails clinics in particular have played an important role in identifying patients at risk, undiagnosed, or on a blood pressure medication but do not have their high blood pressure controlled.

“Nurse practitioners and physician assistants in retail clinics play a vital role in evaluating, treating, and monitoring patients with hypertension,” Dr. Marjama maintained.

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