'Alter BP cut-offs by season'

Hypertension would be better diagnosed if BP cut-off points were altered by season, suggest US research findings.

A BP of 135/85 mmHg may be best in summer and 140/90 mmHg in winter, lead researcher Dr Ross Fletcher, from VA medical centre in Washington, DC, said.

The recommendation follows a five-year analysis of the electronic health records of 443,632 patients, aged an average of 66, with hypertension.

This showed a marked difference in BP between summer and winter, delegates were told at the annual scientific sessions of the American Heart Association (AHA) in Orlando, Florida, last week.

On average, 7.8 per cent more people had uncontrolled hypertension – defined as repeated readings of a systolic BP of 140 mmHg or more or a diastolic BP of 90 or more - in the winter than the summer.

The difference was evident in populations attending 15 different hospitals across the US, regardless of local climate.

rachel.liddle@haymarket.com

More details on the Scientific Sessions 2007 website

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