Blood pressure is best when it is at its optimal mark, the one the doctors call normal at 120/80 mm Hg. That’s what we have heard since an early age. However, the latest study on the matter challenges the status quo and attempts to answer a common suspicion – can high blood pressure be good for your health?
What Is High Blood Pressure?
In simple words, blood pressure that does not fall within the normal range is termed as high blood pressure. Medically speaking though, doctors are still debating about what is high blood pressure.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), hypertension is when a person’s systolic blood pressure (upper value of the blood pressure) is 130 mm Hg or above. On the other hand, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that hypertension occurs when the upper BP value or systolic BP lies between 120-139 mm Hg.
Such a range according to the source is an ‘at risk’ source of hypertension. Another source, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute indicates that hypertension or high blood pressure relates to a BP of 140 mm Hg or higher.
Risks Associated With High Blood Pressure
Approximately 75 million adults in the US suffer from high blood pressure according to the CDC. The condition also goes by the name of hypertension and it comes in the company of several health risks.
These include an increased likelihood of developing cardiovascular diseases, metabolic health issues, and diabetes to name a few. It also swells the risk of a stroke.
Can High Blood Pressure Be Beneficial?
A study conducted by researchers at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin in Germany explored the possible bright side of high blood pressure. The findings appeared in the European Heart Journal and learned that certain older adults may not suffer from other health issues if they’ve high blood pressure.
Investigators found that some people in their 80s may even reap some benefits from high blood pressure. The researchers studied 1,628 folks with a mean age of 81 years. All the participants were aged 70 or older when they joined the study in 2009 and have been getting antihypertensive treatments.
All the participants were questioned every two years and their blood pressure was checked among other health measurements. Once the study was completed after 6 years, an analysis of the blood pressure’s impact on mortality risk was made. All other confounding factors like lifestyle choices, body mass index, gender, and more were adjusted.
The researchers learned that those above 80 years who had a blood pressure lower than 140/90 mm Hg has a 40% increased risk of mortality than their peers with BP exceeding the threshold.
Furthermore, they also learned that folks with BP lower than 140/90 mm Hg had a 61% risk of death than those individuals with high BP despite being on anti-hypertensive drug plan. In a nutshell, the study suggests that high BP may lower the risk of death for seniors aged 80 or above.