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Johns Hopkins Health - Spotting High BP Sooner

Spring 2016
Issue No. 32

Spotting High BP Sooner

Date: April 15, 2016


Identifying individuals at risk for developing high blood pressure (BP) and heart disease before overt symptoms appear is a prime area of study for a team of Johns Hopkins investigators. Recently they zoomed in on a protein called troponin that’s released by injured heart cells. In a large-scale study, they found that in up to 80 percent of participants without heart disease, small rises in troponin levels signaled a higher possibility that hypertension would develop within a few years. The test needed to detect the rise is awaiting approval for this use, but lead investigator and Johns Hopkins cardiologist Bill McEvoy, M.B., B.Ch., M.H.S., says there are key takeaways.

Know your baseline blood pressure. A consistent systolic pressure (the top number) reading that’s between 120 and 139 is considered borderline hypertension. Daily exercise and keeping stress in check are two good ways to keep BP lower.

Ask your doctor about more frequent monitoring of your BP, such as with a home monitor that syncs to your smartphone, if you have a family history of heart disease, or if your blood pressure yo-yos during the day. Those more frequent readings will give your doctor the bigger picture of your heart health so that appropriate lifestyle changes can begin to ward off future heart disease.

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