Large fluctuations of blood pressure levels possibly indicate higher risks of heart problems and premature death as arteries increasingly stiffen and suffer other damage, reports WebMD. Unstable blood pressure levels may also indicate an increased risk of stroke in postmenopausal women, notes the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Columbia University.
A study involving around 26,000 participants who took medications that combat high blood pressure and high cholesterol reveals that those with average blood pressure variations of approximately 15 millimeters of mercury experienced a 30 percent higher risk of heart attack or serious heart disease, explains WebMD. Moreover, their risk of stroke increased by 46 percent, and their risk of death rose by 58 percent.
Patients who suffered from minor strokes or transient ischemic attacks in the past are at higher risk of stroke if their systolic blood pressure constantly changes, according to Columbia University. A study involving 60,000 postmenopausal women shows that each increase of 5 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure variability raised the number of strokes by 12 percent.
To avoid serious health problems associated with high blood pressure, doctors recommend maintaining a systolic blood pressure level below 140 mm Hg and a diastolic blood pressure level below 90 mm Hg, states WebMD. A combination of medications and proper lifestyle changes helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels for long periods.