Hypertension or high blood pressure is a common health condition that affects millions of people across the globe. It occurs when your blood pressure rises to abnormal levels that lead to an array of symptoms like headaches, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, chest pain, etc. If left untreated, the high force of blood against the artery walls can damage blood vessels and lead to cardiovascular diseases. This is the reason why it is also referred to as a silent killer that creeps in your system and wreaks havoc.
High Blood Pressure Linked With Atrial Fibrillation
A new study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology recently revealed that hypertension causes atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart rhythm). It is the most common heart rhythm disorder, which has affected more than 40 million in the world. People suffering from this condition are five times more likely to get a stroke.
Dr Georgios Georgiopoulos of King's College London, UK and National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece found that elevated blood pressure levels can lead to atrial fibrillation. He said that there is a need for public health strategies that aim at improving blood pressure control in the general population.
For the study, the researchers analyzed the data from the largest genome-wide association study (GWAS) on blood pressure and atrial fibrillation. Out of the 1 million individuals, 60,620 had atrial fibrillation and 9,70,216 did not suffer from it.
The team first identified 894 genetic variants, associated with blood pressure, that play a role in atrial fibrillation. They randomly allocated the 894 genetic variants to all participants in the beginning to conduct a controlled trial. Next, the began analyzing the link between hypertension and atrial fibrillation.
They found that 1 mmHg increase in systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure and pulse pressure with 1.8 per cent, 2.6 per cent, and 1.4 per cent relative increases in the risk of atrial fibrillation, respectively. According to the researchers, the findings suggest that there is strong evidence of a "causal relationship between blood pressure and atrial fibrillation."
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"Using genetic information in the analysis minimized the likelihood of reverse causality (i.e. that atrial fibrillation causes high blood pressure) or that other trait linked with atrial fibrillation (confounders) were responsible."
Lowered Systolic Blood Pressure Can Help Lower The Risk
The study also found that the results were not associated with any other condition, including coronary artery disease and obesity. They also confirmed that the hypothesis that atrial fibrillation is preventable, and its complications can be controlled.
Another study published in the journal Hypertension found that systolic blood pressure lower than 120 can reduce the risk of atrial Fibrillation by 26 per cent. So, it can be concluded that managing hypertension are an effective strategy to stop atrial fibrillation and its complications.