Sunday, March 14, 2010

Blood pressure fluctuations link to stroke

Individuals occasionally diagnosed with high blood pressure levels are reported to be at a greater risk of experiencing a stroke in the long run.

According to a study published in The Lancet Neurology, individuals with fluctuating blood pressure levels at different readings are more vulnerable to a future stroke regardless of their average blood pressure level.

"Rapid fluctuations can cause turbulent flow of blood, which can cause damage and stiffening of the arteries," said lead researcher Professor Peter Rothwell.

Such a finding can also explain the difference in the effects of various drugs on controlling blood pressure levels. Medications such as beta blockers, for example, are more effective in controlling variations in blood pressure.

"At the moment, the guidelines for GPs say not to believe a one-off unusual reading, to bring the patient back and measure again, and as long as it's not consistently high, there is no need to treat," said Professor Rothwell, urging physicians not to ignore any high blood pressure readings.