(HealthDay News) — The overall pattern of blood pressure over time better predicts a patient’s risk for stroke or early death, according to a study published in Hypertension.

Marileen Portegies, MD, of the department of epidemiology at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues collected 20 years of data on the systolic blood pressure of 6745 Dutch adults. Participants were aged 55 to 106 years and living in a suburb of Rotterdam. The trial started in 1990, and 5 follow-up medical exams were conducted over 2 decades.

Those whose systolic blood pressure rose steeply from mid-life on and those whose high blood pressure dropped after age 65 had the highest risk of stroke or death from other blood pressure-related diseases up to age 80. Moderately high blood pressure was linked to the highest risk for stroke overall, but the lowest risk for death from heart attack, heart failure, and kidney disease. People with normal blood pressure that gradually increased had the lowest risk for stroke and a low risk for death from other causes, the researchers found.

This finding “further underlines the importance of treating people with a high blood pressure, even if it is only moderately elevated,” Dr Portegies told HealthDay.


  1. Portegies MLP, Mirza SS, Verlinden VJA, et al. Mid- to Late-Life Trajectories of Blood Pressure and the Risk of Stroke: The Rotterdam Study. Hypertension. 2016. doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.116.07098.