Constipation linked to high blood pressure, study finds

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Did you know constipation can be more than just an uncomfortable situation?

It’s actually been found to be a risk factor for high blood pressure and serious heart problems like stroke in people over 60. This is what a new, large-scale study from La Trobe University suggests.

The researchers say that if we can deal with constipation in these people, it may lower these health risks.

The Study and Its Findings

The research was led by Professors Grant Drummond and Chris Sobey and looked at more than 541,000 people who were in the hospital and over 60 years old.

For every person in the hospital for constipation, the team randomly picked one person who didn’t have constipation. These people were the same age and went into the hospital within two weeks of each other.

What they found was quite surprising. Patients with constipation almost had double the risk for high blood pressure. They were also more likely to suffer from serious heart problems, like heart attack and stroke.

The number of people suffering from heart diseases has almost doubled in the past 30 years. The number of deaths from these diseases went up from 12.1 million to 18.6 million during this time.

Despite our efforts to fight off these diseases with changes in lifestyle and drugs, heart diseases still cause 32% of deaths worldwide, says Professor Drummond. Most of these deaths are due to heart attacks or strokes.

“So, it’s really important to find new risk factors for heart disease and develop ways to fight them. This could help us reduce the number of people getting sick or dying from heart diseases,” Professor Drummond explains.

Why Constipation May Be a Problem

Now, we’re not sure if constipation directly causes high blood pressure in older patients, says Professor Sobey. But he believes it’s possible.

In constipation, the body absorbs more water from the gut. There are also changes in gut bacteria and inflammation. All of these could lead to high blood pressure, Professor Sobey explains.

The team found that patients with constipation had a 96% increased risk of high blood pressure.

They also found these patients were more likely to suffer from a heart attack, stroke, and all other heart problems, compared to patients without constipation.

If patients had both constipation and high blood pressure, they had a more than 500% higher risk of heart problems. These links were the same in both men and women.

Interestingly, 15.2% of people over 60 in the study suffered from constipation.

Final Thoughts

The results of this study give us something to think about. Maybe we’ve been overlooking constipation as a simple health issue.

But it might actually be a risk factor for more serious problems like high blood pressure and heart diseases in older people. It’s another good reason to take care of your digestive health as you age.

If you care about gut health, please read studies that green tea could boost gut health and lower blood sugar, and this diet could boost your gut health and weight loss.

For more information about high blood pressure, please see recent studies about more efficient way to treat high blood pressure, and natural blood pressure controllers: 12 foods that lower blood pressure.

The study was published in Scientific Reports.

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