Impact of Blood Pressure and Blood Pressure Change During Middle Age on the Remaining Lifetime Risk for Cardiovascular Disease: The Cardiovascular Lifetime Risk Pooling Project

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Abstract

Background -

Prior estimates of lifetime risk (LTR) for cardiovascular disease (CVD) examined the impact of blood pressure at the index age and did not account for changes in blood pressure over time. We examined how changes in blood pressure during middle-age affect LTR for CVD, coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke.

Methods and Results -

Data from 7 diverse US cohort studies were pooled. Remaining LTR for CVD, CHD and stroke were estimated for White and Black men and women with death free of CVD as a competing event. LTR for CVD by blood pressure (BP) strata and by changes in BP over an average of 14 years were estimated. Starting at age 55, we followed 61,585 men and women for 700,000 person-years. LTR for CVD was 52.5% (95% CI 51.3-53.7) for men and 39.9% (38.7-41.0) for women. LTR for CVD was higher for Blacks and increased with increasing BP at index age. Individuals who maintained or decreased their BP to normal levels had the lowest remaining LTR for CVD, 22-41%, as compared to individuals who had or developed hypertension by the age of 55, 42-69%; suggesting a dose-response effect for the length of time at high BP levels.

Conclusions -

Individuals who experience increases or decreases in BP in middle age have associated higher and lower remaining LTR for CVD. Prevention efforts should continue to emphasize the importance of lowering BP and avoiding or delaying the incidence of hypertension in order to reduce the LTR for CVD.

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