Raised blood pressure is linked to a higher risk of developing cancer or dying from the disease according to the findings of the largest study to date to investigate the association between the two conditions.
Dr Mieke Van Hemelrijck and her colleagues analysed data on blood pressure and cancer incidence and death in a prospective study that included 289,454 men and 288,345 women in Norway, Austria and Sweden.
They found that higher than normal blood pressure was statistically significantly associated with a 10-20% higher risk of developing cancer in men, and a higher risk of dying from the disease in both men and women.
They used figures on mid-blood pressure for their calculations. Mid-blood pressure is defined as systolic blood pressure plus diastolic blood pressure, divided by two. The average mid-blood pressure in this study was 107 mmHg for men and 102 mmHG for women . The results were divided into five groups (or quintiles), so that people with the lowest mid-blood pressure were in the first, and those with the highest mid-blood pressure were in the fifth quintile.
After an average of 12 years of follow-up and excluding the first year, 22,184 men and 14,744 women had been diagnosed with cancer, and 8,724 men and 4,525 women died from the disease. The overall risk of developing any cancer increased by 29% between men in the lowest quintile and those in the highest.
The researchers also found that, as blood pressure rose, the risk of oral, colorectal, lung, bladder, and kidney cancers, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers rose in men.
In women, increased blood pressure was not statistically significantly associated with the overall risk of developing any cancer, but was associated with an increased risk of cancers of the liver, pancreas, cervix and endometrium and melanoma.
In both men and women, there was an increased risk of dying from cancer; men in the fifth quintile (the ones with the highest mid-blood pressure) had a 49% increased risk of dying compared to those in the first quintile, and women in the fifth quintile had a 24% increased risk compared to those in the first.
The researchers adjusted their results to take account of age, sex, body mass index, smoking and random errors in the exposure classification of blood pressure (errors that occur due to inaccuracy in blood pressure measurements or due to an individual patient’s variations in blood pressure, which can be corrected by using data from several examinations).
High blood pressure can damage your blood vessels, your heart, your brain, your kidneys, your eyes. It even affects your sexual function. And all theses quietly go on for years before symptoms develop.
Now with the acknowledgement of the association of high blood pressure and cancer, it is even more urgent for us to maintain our blood pressure below 120/80
Adopting healthy lifestyle habits is an effective first step in both preventing and controlling high blood pressure. Mayo Clinic offers 10 lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure and keep it down.
If lifestyle changes alone are not effective in keeping your pressure controlled, it may be necessary to add blood pressure medications. And for this you must consult your medical practitioner.
The above is prepared by the Zestzfulness Team from materials provided in the news release by the European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress, Stockholm 23-27, 2011