Low Blood Pressure Risky for Coronary Artery Disease Patients

Lowering Blood PressureHigh blood pressure has been identified as one of the risk factors for heart disease, and you may be thinking that getting the reading down as low as possible is a good strategy for staying healthy. The results of a new study had some surprising results: People who have coronary artery disease and diabetes may benefit from having a blood pressure reading that is slightly higher than what is considered healthy for the general population who does not live with either one of these health issues.

Researchers followed 6,400 participants in the study for six years. The patients had coronary artery disease and diabetes and achieved a systolic blood pressure reading (the top number) of 115 or less were actually at an increased level of risk for heart attack and stroke. A healthier systolic reading for people in this group was somewhere between 130 and 140. A “normal” blood pressure reading is considered 120/80, or less.

The systolic pressure measured in a blood pressure reading is an indication of the amount of pressure on the arteries when the heart beats and is pushing blood out through the body. The diastolic pressure, or the bottom number in a blood pressure reading, indicates the pressure when the heart is resting in between beats. During this time, the heart is filling up with blood before pumping again.

Patients who have been diagnosed with diabetes and/or coronary artery disease should discuss their health, including their blood pressure reading, with their doctor. If high blood pressure is an issue, the doctor can recommend a plan to bring the readings down to a more healthy level.

Blame Your Genes for Stroke Risk

Your risk of having a stroke or developing early onset coronary artery disease may be genetic. Scientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston have discovered a single gene defect that causes these two health issues, as well as thoracic aortic aneurysms, ischemic stroke, and Moyamoya disease (a rare disorder affecting the cartoid arteries in the brain).

If someone has the mutated ACTA2 gene, then vascular screening tests can be ordered. Early diagnosis means that appropriate treatment can be started to lower the risk of disability or death. Family history is only one of the risk factors for coronary disease, and your lifestyle choices can help to reduce it.

Here are the basics you need to remember:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Eat a balanced diet that is low in saturated fat.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Find a way to fight stress.
  • Have your blood pressure checked regularly.