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Hypertension, Overweight Are Harbingers of Heart Failure

Risk factors during midlife can be modified to reduce subsequent development of heart failure

THURSDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) -- There is a positive association between higher blood pressure and body mass index in midlife and an increased risk of heart failure during later life, according to the results of a study published online Sept. 24 in Hypertension.

Using data from the Framingham Heart Study, Ramachandran S. Vasan, M.D., of Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted a study of 3,362 people with a mean age of 62 years, of whom 57 percent were women. The participants were routinely examined from 1969 to 1994 and data were collected on blood pressure, pulse pressure and body mass index.

In total, 67,240 person-years of follow-up were accumulated, during which time 280 women and 238 men developed heart failure. Current and remote systolic pressure, pulse pressure and body mass index were all individually associated with the incidence of heart failure.

"The prevention of heart failure should begin early in life, and should include screening for elevated blood pressure and body mass index," said Vasan, in a statement. "Failure to identify or treat such modifiable risk factors in early and mid-adulthood may result in the loss of opportunities to reduce the incidence of heart failure in later life."

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