Chances of a heart attack or stroke are greater if blood pressure (BP) levels go up during the middle age, reveals a study.

Men and women who develop high BP (hypertension) in middle age have an estimated 30 percent higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke compared to those who kept their BP low.

The newNorthwesternUniversitystudy based on data from 61,585 participants, shows that a more accurate predictor is a change in BP between the ages of 41 and 55 years.

Previous estimates of a person’s risk of cardio-vascular disease were based on a single BP measurement, the journal of the American Heart Association: Circulation reported.

“We found the longer we can prevent hypertension or postpone it, the lower the risk for cardiovascular disease,” said Norrina Allen, assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who led the study.

“There hasn’t been as much of a focus on keeping it low when people are in their 40s and 50s,” Allen added, said a university statement.

“People who maintain or reduce their BP to normal levels by age 55 have the lowest lifetime risk for a heart attack or a stroke,” said Allen.

Women who developed hypertension had almost a 50 percent risk of a heart attack or stroke compared to a 22 percent risk for those who kept their BP low or saw a decrease.

Source: IANS