High 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.