Thursday, July 25, 2013

High Blood Pressure Patients, Beware

Risk of Stroke, Death Increased for Patients Who Weren't Compliant, study finds.

Blood pressure refers to the force of blood pushing against your artery walls. Over time, elevated blood pressure can cause serious problems.

Antihypertensive (blood pressure-lowering) drug therapy is a major strategy of stroke prevention among hypertensive patients.

Patients who fail to take antihypertensive medicines as directed have a greatly increased risk of suffering a stroke and dying from it compared to those who take their medication correctly, a new study finds.

This population-based study  of 73,527 hypertensive patients in Finland found that patients who did not adhere to their medication had a nearly four-fold increased risk of dying from stroke in the second year after first being prescribed drugs to control their blood pressure, and a three-fold increased risk in the tenth year, compared with adherent patients.

"These results emphasise the importance of hypertensive patients taking their antihypertensive medications correctly in order to minimise their risk of serious complications such as fatal and non-fatal strokes," said study first author Dr. Kimmo Herttua, a senior fellow in the Population Research Unit at the University of Helsinki in Finland.

"Non-adherent patients have a greater risk even 10 years before they suffer a stroke. We have also found that there is a dose-response relationship, and the worse someone is at taking their antihypertensive therapy, the greater their risk," Herttua added.


The above story is based on the news release by European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

The study has been published online July 17 in the European Heart Journal:
Herttua K, Tabák AG, Martikainen P, Vahtera J, Kivimäki M. Adherence to antihypertensive therapy prior to the first presentation of stroke in hypertensive adults: population based study. Eur Heart J, 2013; DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/eht219

You can download the full report HERE 


More information
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about high blood pressure.

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