Northwestern University Logo As per general estimations, men have about 55% risk of experiencing heart disease in their life span whereas women could face about 40% risk for the same. Putting forth an important predictor of stroke in men and women, scientists from the Northwestern University have revealed that elevation in blood pressure during middle age may be a causal factor for stroke instances encountered later in life.

For the analysis, about 61,585 individuals who were part of the Cardiovascular Lifetime Risk Pooling Project were inspected. Taking into account the baseline blood pressure observations at age 41, the team calculated blood pressure for another time at age 55. These participants were then followed till they experienced an heart attack or stroke or death during old age up to the age of 95.

“There hasn’t been as much of a focus on keeping it low when people are in their 40’s and 50’s. That’s before a lot of people start focusing on cardiovascular disease risk factors. We’ve shown it’s vital to start early,” commented lead author Norrina Allen, assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The results showed that middle-aged men with high blood pressures seemingly had 70% risk of experiencing heart attack or stroke. On the other hand, men whose blood pressure lowered in the time frame and who sustained low blood pressure during middle age appeared to face 41% risk.

Women who experienced high blood pressure possibly faced about 50% risk of stroke or heart attack as compared to 22% risk among those whose blood pressures stabilized or decreased.

The team concluded that healthy diet, exercise and weight regulation may help in maintaining optimum blood pressure levels and thereby prevent risk for heart attack or stroke later in life. The findings are published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.