News April 22, 2014

(Stroke #1) Lowering Risk Factors - Hypertension

Hypertension is the single most important modifiable risk factor for a first or second stroke. About 77 percent of people who have a first stroke have a blood pressure reading above 140/90 mmHg. (120/80 mm Hg and lower is considered normal). People with a systolic blood pressure of 160 mm Hg or higher and/or a diastolic blood pressure of 95 mm Hg or higher, have four times the risk of stroke than people with normal blood pressure.

Because hypertension rarely produces serious symptoms, it has been called “the silent killer.” Most people learn they have hypertension during a routine checkup. If you are prone to frequent headaches, get dizzy more often than you used to, have occasional nosebleeds, and notice that your heart races or beats irregularly from time to time, you may have hypertension. Have your blood pressure checked. It could be normal, or you could have pre-hypertension or hypertension.

Reducing blood pressure has been shown to reduce the risk of second stroke, regardless of type. Which class of hypertension medication is best for this purpose is still being debated. However, there is no clear evidence that one class of blood pressure medication is better than another. The key is to use whatever medication or combination of medications is necessary to bring your blood pressure into the normal range.

To read more important news and information about your heart’s health, purchase the special report from Cleveland Clinic’s Heart AdvisorStroke: Advances in Detection & Treatment of Cerebrovascular Disease.

To continue reading this article you must be a paid subscriber.

Subscribe to Heart Advisor

Get the next year of HEART ADVISOR for just $20. That's a savings of $19 off the regular rate.

With your paid subscription you will receive unlimited access to all of our online content. That is over a decade of previous issues from Cleveland Clinic, the hospital rated #1 in cardiac care by U.S. News & World Report - free of charge.

Subscriber Log In

Forgot your password? Click Here.

Already subscribe but haven't registered for all the benefits of the website? Click here.