In people who took medicine to lower blood pressure, those whose blood pressure was reduced to lower than the standard goal also reduced artery stiffness. People who were treated to the standard did not have a change in stiffness.
"Artery stiffness is associated with heart disease and death in people with high blood pressure," says senior researcher Atsuhiro Ichihara, M.D., Ph.D., of the Keio University School of Medicine, Toyko.
Researchers used a measure of vascular stiffness called pulse wave velocity (PWV) to determine if lowering blood pressure using antihypertensive drug treatment would affect aortic stiffness in nondiabetic patients who had high blood pressure. PWV is a velocity measurement, calculated by determining the distance between the brachial artery in the arm and the tibial artery in the ankle, then dividing that by the time it takes a pressure wave to travel between the two locations. It's expressed as centimeters per second (cm/s). "When treating people who have hypertension, it is important to adequately assess whether the therapy is sufficient to prevent future cardiovascular disease," says Ichihara.
Researchers identified 142 patients (65 male, 77 female, average age 67) whose high blood pressure measured about 177/101 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) but who did not have diabetes, arrhythmias, coronary artery disease or peripheral arterial disease.
According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure (hypertension) is defined in an adult as a systolic pressure (top number) of 140 mm Hg or higher and/or a diastolic pressure (bottom number) of 90 mm Hg or higher. High normal is 130-139 systolic and 85-89 diastolic. Normal blood pressure is less than 130 sys
Contact: Maggie Francis
American Heart Association