Hypertension and Stroke

Can controlling blood pressure later in life reduce risk of dementia?

An analysis of multiple studies looking at the relationship between high blood pressure and cognitive health –– abilities like thinking, memory, and attention –– found that older people who lower high blood pressure are slightly less likely to develop cognitive impairment or dementia.

Go to the hospital if you need emergency care, even in the era of COVID-19

Scott Weiner, MD

Contributor

Emergency departments have seen a decline in people seeking care, even for serious conditions such as strokes and heart attacks, out of fear of contracting COVID-19. But delaying treatment in such situations could worsen the outcome, and precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of all patients.

Home-cooked meals with less salt

Most Americans consume far too much sodium, which raises blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Spending this extended period of time close to home is a good opportunity to work on cutting sodium from your diet by preparing low-salt meals.

Lifestyle changes are important even if you take medications

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

People who are prescribed medication for high cholesterol or high blood pressure may be more likely to gain weight and less likely to exercise, but for those who are on such medications, it’s even more important to commit to making healthier lifestyle choices.

How does cardiovascular disease increase the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19?

Initial investigation into COVID-19 focused on its respiratory effects, but a more recent report describes serious cardiovascular complications in people with pre-existing heart disease. How does this underlying condition increase risk for these people?

Are you getting enough sleep… or too much? Sleep and stroke risk

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Could sleeping too much be bad for you? Possibly. A study found that people who slept more than nine hours a night and took long daytime naps, or who reported poor-quality sleep, were much more likely to have a stroke than those who slept eight hours or less a night.

Are polypills and population-based treatment the next big things?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Combining multiple medications into a single pill, or polypill, is one approach to improving adherence (taking medication as prescribed). Depending on the conditions being treated, it may be easier for people to take a single pill, but there are also downsides to this approach.

Can monitoring blood pressure at home cut maternal mortality?

Huma Farid, MD

Contributor

Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition marked by hypertension that affects some women during late pregnancy or early weeks after birth. Rising rates of high blood pressure and maternal age increase risk for it. A recent study finds monitoring blood pressure at home may help.

Could white-coat hypertension harm your heart?

People who have elevated blood pressure readings in a doctor’s office but normal readings elsewhere are said to have white-coat hypertension. A new study suggests that people with this condition face a greater risk of heart disease than those whose blood pressure is always normal.

Benefits of incorporating more aerobic activity into stroke rehabilitation

Stroke survivors are typically discharged with a program of exercises meant to help them regain independence. But researchers found that an aerobic training in a stroke rehabilitation program similar to that offered to some heart attack patients helped stroke patients improve their aerobic capacity.