Now, the latest news is that even slightly higher blood pressure may raise stroke risk:
The sweeping review analyzed data from 760,000 study participants who were followed for up to 36 years. The researchers found that people with "prehypertension" - higher-than-optimal blood pressure not officially defined as high blood pressure - were 66 percent more likely to experience a stroke than those with normal blood pressure.
"This meta-analysis confirms evidence from many studies, and I think it continues to warn physicians and the public that more vigorous control of blood pressure is important for reducing stroke risk," said Dr. Ralph Sacco, chairman of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research. "The findings confirm that even mild to moderate levels of elevated blood pressure are important for determining stroke risk."