Controlling blood pressure, cholesterol may significantly cut heart disease risk

July 1, 2013
This infographic from the article outlines simultaneously controlling your high blood pressure and high cholesterol may cut your risk for heart disease by half or more. Credit: American Heart Association journal Circulation; M. Egan

Simultaneously controlling your high blood pressure and high cholesterol may cut your risk for heart disease by half or more, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation. Yet fewer than one in three people achieve this goal.

Researchers also found:

  • Prescribing medications to better manage blood pressure and cholesterol would greatly benefit people who are older, diabetic, have cardiovascular disease or are Hispanic or African-American.
  • Going to the doctor at least twice a year could help.

Undertreated high blood pressure and cholesterol affect millions of Americans—posing a major , said Brent M. Egan, M.D., lead study author and a professor of medicine and pharmacology at Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C.

"The reality is, we know more than enough to prevent 75 percent of heart disease and strokes, but we're not doing everything we could be doing or even doing it at a reasonable level," he said. "We've made some gradual improvements over the years, but there is still a lot of progress to be made."

High blood pressure affects about 33 percent of the U.S. and doubles the risk for heart disease. About 32 million Americans have dangerously high total of 240 mg/dL or higher. Previous research indicates that treating reduces the risk of heart disease by 25 percent and treating in hypertensive patients can lower the risk by more than 35 percent, researchers said.

The findings are based on data of more than 17,000 American adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys during in 1988-94, 1999-2004 and 2005-10. In addition to reviewing patients' blood pressure and cholesterol levels, researchers considered race, age, insurance status, whether patients smoked, had diabetes, had diagnosed heart disease and/or , and if they visited a doctor every year.

Cholesterol readings need closer attention, Egan said. "If patients' cholesterol tests show a good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level, which is the healthy, protective cholesterol, then the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) number might get overlooked. Unfortunately, not all HDL is equally protective and some people with a normal HDL are at high risk. In those patients, there might be a false sense of assurance that cholesterol really isn't a problem. But LDL and non-HDL readings are the ones to really watch. Patients seeing their doctors for blood pressure treatment should ask about their LDL and non-HDL levels and make sure both are under control at the same time."

Explore further: Low HDL-cholesterol—Not quantity, but quality

More information: ?7

Related Stories

Low HDL-cholesterol—Not quantity, but quality

April 30, 2013
Many of the genes regulating the inflammation and immune response of the body are also associated with low HDL-cholesterol levels in the circulation, tells the recent study conducted at the University of Helsinki, Finland. ...

LDL cholesterol is a poor marker of heart health in patients with kidney disease

May 16, 2013
LDL cholesterol is not a useful marker of heart disease risk in patients with kidney disease, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). The finding suggests ...

Heart-healthy diet helps men lower bad cholesterol, regardless of weight loss

May 1, 2013
A heart-healthy diet helped men at high risk for heart disease reduce their bad cholesterol, regardless of whether they lost weight, in a study presented at the American Heart Association's Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and ...

Tests to predict heart problems may be more useful predictor of memory loss than dementia tests

April 1, 2013
Risk prediction tools that estimate future risk of heart disease and stroke may be more useful predictors of future decline in cognitive abilities, or memory and thinking, than a dementia risk score, according to a new study ...

New risk score could lead to earlier prevention of type 2 diabetes in African Americans

June 18, 2013
Researchers have developed a risk assessment scoring system that they believe may better identify certain adults-– especially African Americans-– at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke than ...

IHC: Higher lipids as a child ups later migraine risk

June 26, 2013
(HealthDay)—An adverse lipid profile in childhood may be a risk factor for migraines in adulthood, according to a study presented at the 2013 International Headache Congress, held from June 27 to 30 in Boston.

Recommended for you

Could aggressive blood pressure treatments lead to kidney damage?

July 18, 2017
Aggressive combination treatments for high blood pressure that are intended to protect the kidneys may actually be damaging the organs, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests.

Quantifying effectiveness of treatment for irregular heartbeat

July 17, 2017
In a small proof-of-concept study, researchers at Johns Hopkins report a complex mathematical method to measure electrical communications within the heart can successfully predict the effectiveness of catheter ablation, the ...

Concerns over side effects of statins stopping stroke survivors taking medication

July 17, 2017
Negative media coverage of the side effects associated with taking statins, and patients' own experiences of taking the drugs, are among the reasons cited by stroke survivors and their carers for stopping taking potentially ...

Study discovers anticoagulant drugs are being prescribed against safety advice

July 17, 2017
A study by researchers at the University of Birmingham has shown that GPs are prescribing anticoagulants to patients with an irregular heartbeat against official safety advice.

Protein may protect against heart attack

July 14, 2017
DDK3 could be used as a new therapy to stop the build-up of fatty material inside the arteries

Heart study finds faulty link between biomarkers and clinical outcomes

July 14, 2017
Surrogate endpoints (biomarkers), which are routinely used in clinical research to test new drugs, should not be trusted as the ultimate measure to approve new health interventions in cardiovascular medicine, according to ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.