(RxWiki News) High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for stroke. Yet new research suggests many people who've already had a stroke may need better blood pressure control.
In a recent study, less than one third of stroke survivors had their blood pressure under control for more than 75 percent of the time.
This study also showed that stroke survivors who had consistent control of their blood pressure had significantly fewer strokes than those who did not keep their blood pressure under control.
"Check your blood pressure on a regularly basis."
Amytis Towfighi, MD, of the Department of Neurology at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, CA, led this study on blood pressure and stroke.
According to Dr. Towfighi and colleagues, high blood pressure is the number-one modifiable risk factor for stroke. Stroke occurs when the brain does not receive enough blood and sometimes causes brain damage or even death.
Doctors recommend that stroke survivors monitor and control their blood pressure to avoid future strokes.
This study examined how consistent blood pressure control affected the risk of having a second stroke.
The researchers analyzed data from the Vitamin Intervention for Stroke Prevention trial, which included 3,680 patients who had experienced a recent stroke.
Participants' blood pressure was measured at the start of the study, a month after the study began and every six months for a total of two years.
Dr. Towfighi and team defined normal, controlled blood pressure as less than 140 mm Hg systolic and less than 90 mm Hg diastolic. Systolic pressure is the top number in a blood pressure reading and measures the pressure on arteries when the heart beats. Diastolic pressure is the lower number in a blood pressure reading and measures the pressure on arteries between heart beats.
The researchers found that 35 percent of the participants had their blood pressure under control less than 25 percent of the time.
A total of 30 percent of the participants had their blood pressure controlled 75 to 100 percent of the time.
Individuals who had their blood pressure under control more often tended to be younger and have a lower body mass index.
The researchers also discovered that participants who had their blood pressure under control more than 75 percent of the time had 54 percent fewer second strokes compared to those who kept blood pressure under control less than 25 percent of the time.
The authors of this study concluded that less than one third of participants consistently controlled their blood pressure.
These authors suggested that consistent blood pressure control may reduce vascular events in individuals with high blood pressure.
The authors also noted that individuals who had a history of heart attack were more likely to have consistent blood pressure control, perhaps indicating that they had received more aggressive treatment.
This study was published in Stroke on March 27.
The research was funded by an American Heart Association National Scientist Development Award. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.