Now, it seems, reviewing patterns in a person's blood pressure over time - in years - might find clues about predicting stroke risk:
For this new study, Portegies and her colleagues collected 20 years of data on the systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) of more than 6,700 Dutch adults. Participants were ages 55 to 106 and living in a suburb of Rotterdam.
The trial started in 1990, and five follow-up medical exams were conducted over two decades.
Those whose systolic blood pressure rose steeply from mid-life on and those whose high blood pressure dropped after age 65 had the highest risk of stroke or death from other blood pressure-related diseases up to age 80, the study found.
Moderately high blood pressure was linked to the highest risk of stroke overall, but the lowest risk of death from heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease, the researchers said.
This finding "further underlines the importance of treating people with a high blood pressure, even if it is only moderately elevated," Portegies said.(Image from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)