~ Normal Blood Pressure at Age 50 Means More Life Ahead

A study published online on June 27, 2005 in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension (http://hyper.ahajournals.org/) found that having normal blood pressure in one's fifties can be predictive of a life span that is up to five years longer than that which individuals with hypertension can expect, and that the onset of cardiovascular disease is also delayed.

The study is the first conducted in a large group of people to demonstrate the association between blood pressure and overall life expectancy, and life expectancy among individuals with cardiovascular disease.

Data from 3,128 subjects in the Framingham Heart Study who had their 50th birthday as participants was analyzed for the current investigation. When subjects with hypertension were compared to those with normal blood pressure, they had a shorter life expectancy as well as a shorter life expectancy without cardiovascular disease or events.

Total life expectancy for those with normal blood pressure was an average of 5 years longer than that of hypertensive individuals. Twenty-two percent of the men in the study had normal blood pressure at the age of 50, and this group survived on average 7.2 years longer without cardiovascular disease, and experienced fewer years with the disease than those who had hypertension. Similar findings were observed among women.

Research collaborator Dr Anna Peeters, of the Monash University Central and Eastern Clinical School in Melbourne, Australia summarized, "What is really surprising is the unexpectedly large number of years difference in life expectancy between those with hypertension and those without. And while those with lower blood pressure lived longer, they also lived healthier lives. So, by preventing hypertension you would have a much higher life expectancy and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease."

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