In a recent study from the University of Eastern Finland, scientists found that the combined effect of high blood pressure and fatty liver disease on death risk does not seem to exceed their separate effects.
The establishment of risk factors for heart disease has shaped clinical practice throughout the past century.
High blood pressure is the most common risk factor for heart disease. It affects over a billion of the world’s population, contributing to 18 million cardiovascular deaths annually.
The pathological accumulation of lipids in the liver, known as fatty liver disease, is another risk factor for heart disease. While it is less known to the public, fatty liver disease is very common, affecting a quarter of the world’s population.
In the study, the team examined 1,569 middle-aged Finnish men who took part in the Kuopio Ischaemic Disease Risk Factor Study.
The separate and combined effects of different stages of fatty liver disease and high blood pressure on overall and heart mortality were assessed in a follow-up of 34 years.
The team found while fatty liver disease and high blood pressure are associated, both separately and combined, with a substantial risk of all-cause and heart mortality, the coexistence of the two conditions is linked to a similar or even lower overall death risk than the individual conditions.
The researchers found evidence of a negative interaction between fatty liver disease and high blood pressure on heart death.
This means that while both fatty liver and high blood pressure contribute to heart mortality alone when they coexist, they could block each other’s effect to some extent.
These findings suggest that fatty liver disease and high blood pressure might not be completely independent of each other as risk factors for heart disease as was previously thought.
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The study was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology and conducted by Mounir Ould Setti.
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