Research recently published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association has indicated that by lowering blood pressure, women cut their risk of experiencing stroke, myocardial infarction or heart failure and could possibly reverse some effects of cardiovascular disease.
Conductors of the study examined nearly 10,000 people in 11 countries for 11 years and found that high systolic blood pressure is a strong indicator of cardiovascular disease. High cholesterol and smoking are also strong risk factors and, combined with hypertension, they account for 85 percent of reversible cardiovascular disease.
The results suggest that since high blood pressure is preventable, individuals could also stave off heart disease by taking the same measures. The National Institutes of Health advises a healthy, low-sodium diet and regular exercise to keep blood pressure at a healthy level.
"I was surprised by the study findings that highlight the missed opportunities for prevention of heart disease in older women," said Dr. Jan A. Staessen, director of the Studies Coordinating Center in the Division of Cardiovascular Rehabilitation at the University of Leuven in Belgium.
While an increase in blood pressure showed a 56 percent higher chance of heart complications for women, in men it only heightened risks by 32 percent.