Recent Western Blood Pressure Guidelines May Boost Stroke Risk in Asian Patients

Medical Xpress, November 26, 2015

European and North American blood pressure guidelines, issued last year, may actually boost the stroke risk if used for Asian patients, particularly the elderly, suggests an expert opinion published online in the journal Heart Asia.

High blood pressure is a key risk factor for stroke, but the link between the two is much stronger in Asians than it is in Europeans or North Americans, say the experts.

The global number of people with poorly controlled high blood pressure has risen from 600 million in 1980 to almost 1 billion in 2008, and predicted to rise a further 60% to 1.56 billion by 2025.

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High blood pressure among Asian populations has unique features in terms of the response to drug treatment, risk of complications, and outcomes, say the authors. This leads to disproportionately high rates of death and ill health from stroke compared with Western populations.

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The latest Western guidelines increased target blood pressure to 140/90 mmHg for patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease and renal failure, but this may be too high for Asian populations, warn the authors. Some Asian guidelines have recommended more stringent targets in these patients, they say.

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