TUESDAY, Nov. 11, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- High levels of lipoprotein particles may increase the risk of high blood pressure in women who currently have normal blood pressure.
That's the conclusion of a new study by U.S. researchers who analyzed data from thousands of participants in the Women's Health Study.
Lipoprotein particles carry cholesterol and triglycerides throughout the body. The particles travel into artery walls where they deposit the cholesterol, which forms artery-clogging plaque.
The researchers concluded that using nuclear magnetic resonance imaging to determine the number and size of lipoprotein particles can better predict a woman's risk of developing high blood pressure than checking standard cholesterol levels alone.
While there's a modest association between standard cholesterol measures and high blood pressure risk, this study suggests the link between high blood pressure and lipoprotein may be more important.
"This is the first study that examines whether the size of lipoproteins may affect blood pressure in women. Our findings indicate that even before the onset of hypertension, the size of the lipoprotein particles may indicate which women go on to develop hypertension," Dr. Samia Mora, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said in an American Heart Association (AHA) news release.
The findings were expected to be presented Nov. 11 at the AHA's annual scientific sessions, in New Orleans.
Previous research had found that low concentrations of lipoprotein particles were associated with fewer cardiovascular disease-related events than equivalently low levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, according to background information in the news release about the study.
Currently, doctors use lipoprotein particle information to monitor the effects of cholesterol-lowering treatments, such as statin drugs, and in the management of a patient's cardiovascular health.
The American Heart Association has more about women and high blood pressure.