Cardiovascular Dangers Cut Across Race, Gender

High cholesterol plus hypertension a killer combo for everyone, experts say

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MONDAY, July 18, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Regardless of their race or gender, anyone diagnosed with both high blood pressure and high cholesterol is at greater risk for heart disease and stroke than people without these combined conditions, researchers conclude.

"While other studies have shown similar findings, this study is the largest of its kind and covers a longer follow-up period to provide more accurate comparisons between males/females as well as among ethnic groups," principal investigator Daniel T. Lackland of the Medical University of South Carolina said in a prepared statement.

His team analyzed data on nearly 27,000 adults and found that many Americans have high blood pressure and high cholesterol in combination, and this combo increases the risk of heart attack and stroke in all populations.

The study found that black men and women had the highest values of total cholesterol. In the study, 13.9 percent of black women and 8.5 percent of black men had the highest combined rates of systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol, compared to 7.6 percent and 5 percent for white women and men, respectively.

Nevertheless, individuals of whatever gender or race who scored highest on systolic blood pressure and total cholesterol were at the greatest risk of heart disease and stroke, the researchers found.

"The occurrence of these combined conditions indicates an acute need for early diagnosis and aggressive treatment," Lackland stated.

The study was presented at a meeting of the International Society on Hypertension in Blacks, held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

More information

The American Heart Association outlines heart attack and stroke warning signs.

SOURCE: International Society on Hypertension in Blacks, news release, July 16, 2005

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