Could Changes To Blood Pressure Upon Standing Predict Future Heart Risk?

The American Heart Association (AHA) recently released a report that in 2019 in the U.S., heart disease accounted for more than 870,000 deaths and someone died from a stroke about every three and a half minutes. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), risk factors for cardiovascular disease include age, family history, smoking, and high cholesterol. Now, new data reveal that spikes in blood pressure when standing up could be another significant risk factor (via HealthDay).

Blood pressure is mostly what you might imagine it to be. It's the amount of pressure your blood creates against artery walls as your heart is pumping blood (per CDC). And hypertension is a condition in which that high pressure against the artery walls can cause heart conditions like heart disease, according to Mayo Clinic.

A 2022 study published in the journal Hypertension aimed to understand the impacts of the simple movement of standing up in young hypertensive patients. The study's researchers included 1,207 adult participants around 33 years old, screened for stage 1 hypertension, and untreated for blood pressure conditions. Initial patient blood pressure readings were taken while lying down, standing up, and other positions. They found that "hyperreactivity to standing was an independent predictor of major adverse cardiovascular and renal events."

How the data can help treat patients early

Researchers were surprised to find that even slight increases in blood pressure while standing could predict major cardiac events over the longterm, according to HealthDay. When following up 17 years later, heart attack, stroke, and chest pain were among the most common of over 100 heart-related events experienced by participants. Participants in the top 10% of high blood pressure had almost double the risk of a major heart event.

Professor of internal medicine at the University of Padova in Italy and lead author on the study Dr. Paolo Palatini commented on the significance of these findings in a recent press release, stating, "The findings suggest that blood pressure upon standing should be measured in order to tailor treatment for patients with high blood pressure, and potentially, a more aggressive approach to lifestyle changes and blood pressure-lowering therapy may be considered for people with an elevated [hyperreactor] blood pressure response to standing" (via HealthDay).