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The risks of a fluctuating blood pressure

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For years it was thought that the greatest risk for stroke and heart disease was from consistently high blood pressure; however, evidence in recent years has suggested the real risk lies in how dramatically blood pressure varies from hour to hour and day to day[1]. Experts recently revealed that those who suffer large blood pressure variations could even be at greater risk of dementia. Yet there is no established programme to determine who is affected.

Whilst one in three adults in UK has high blood pressure (hypertension), over 5 million people remain undiagnosed[2]. The problem is that high blood pressure(BP) rarely has any symptoms – it’s called the ‘silent killer’ – so the only way to know you have the condition is to get your blood pressure measured. Even that isn’t as easy as it seems.  Obtaining accurate and ‘true’ blood pressure measurements is notoriously difficult. Many may have fluctuating blood pressures which cannot be detected at one visit to the GP.

A joint study we recently undertook with University of Oslo (link to study on website) has highlighted just how many of us with supposedly ‘normal’ BP readings may actually suffer from ‘spikes’ in blood pressure, which put us into a higher risk category, but also points to how Fruitflow® could help.

The study comprised of 12 men with an average age of 44; an average BMI reading of 27; an average blood pressure reading of 128/84 (classifying the men as pre-hypertensive) and average health status. These pre-hypertensive men were monitored with a wearable blood pressure monitor, every 15 minutes, over 24 hours.

The first interesting discovery was that despite their apparently normal health status, over the course of the 24-hour period all the subjects recorded several BP readings above 140/90, that is, above the threshold for diagnosis of hypertension. On average, over 30% of BP readings taken from this group were in the hypertensive range. This means that for over a third of their day, these men were at greater risk than would be expected. Importantly, this was on a day that the men were encouraged not to exert themselves. It raises questions regarding how many more spikes could have occurred if they had had an intense work-out, or if they had been stressed or fatigued.

While the study illustrated the fluctuating blood pressure in normal people, it also highlighted the benefits of Fruitflow®. After taking just one dose of Fruitflow® the number of systolic and diastolic BP spikes experienced by the study group dropped by a significant 57% and 27% respectively (compared to a placebo supplement). Over the 24-hour monitoring period, their blood pressure went from an average reading of 126/81 before taking Fruitflow® to 118/76 after taking Fruitflow®. These changes moved the men from the pre-hypertensive range to the normal BP range overall. The effects were seen throughout the day.

To the untrained eye, these figures may seem like small variations, but data from US colleagues suggests that from a public health standpoint, every 1 mmHg reduction in the SBP could prevent approximately 10,000 CHD deaths each year.

Whilst it’s advisable for everyone to follow expert advice and monitor their blood pressure frequently at home, it’s not easy to detect significant variations without continual monitoring.  Treating blood pressure variability is extremely difficult. Prescribing medicines to lower blood pressure can result in all sorts of problems such as dizziness and falls, whereas doing nothing raises the risk of stroke and heart attacks. That’s why this study is so compelling. This study seems to suggest that Fruitflow®  can help to iron out extremes and fluctuations in blood pressure and therefore reduce the risk of potentially dangerous periods of hypertension in an at-risk population.

[1] http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2010-03-12-variability-well-high-blood-pressure-holds-high-risk-stroke

[2] http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/mediacentre/Factsandfigures

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