This high blood pressure treatment may raise heart risk in women

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A new study from the University of Bologna has uncovered some important findings about how a common blood pressure medication affects women.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart diseases, and doctors often prescribe medications called beta-blockers to manage it. However, this research has shown that women who use these medications may face unique risks.

The study was published in the journal “Hypertension” and focused on individuals who have high blood pressure but have not yet developed heart disease.

Researchers were particularly interested in what happens after patients experience acute coronary syndromes, which are severe conditions involving sudden reductions in blood flow to the heart. This can be very dangerous and requires immediate medical attention.

The researchers analyzed data from 13,764 adults across 12 European countries. All participants had high blood pressure but no prior heart disease. They were categorized based on their gender and whether they were taking beta-blockers.

The findings were concerning, especially for women. The data revealed that women on beta-blockers had a 4.6% higher risk of being hospitalized with heart failure compared to men in similar circumstances when they experienced acute coronary syndromes.

Heart failure is a serious condition where the heart can’t pump blood effectively, leading to fatigue, breathing problems, and other severe symptoms.

The study also looked at mortality rates, finding that people who developed heart failure had a death rate about seven times higher than those who suffered from a specific type of heart attack known as acute myocardial infarction but did not develop heart failure.

For women who had the most severe type of heart attack, one where a coronary artery is completely blocked (known as ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, or STEMI), the risk of heart failure was 6.1% higher than for men with the same condition.

Interestingly, the rates of heart failure for men and women not taking beta-blockers were nearly the same, suggesting that the medication might be playing a role in the increased risk for women.

The implications of these findings are significant. They suggest that while beta-blockers are an effective treatment for high blood pressure and help prevent heart conditions in general, they might not be the best option for every woman, especially those at risk of severe heart attacks.

This highlights the need for personalized medical treatment, where doctors consider individual risks when prescribing medications.

Moreover, the study hints that hormone replacement therapy, often used during menopause, could interact with beta-blockers and further increase the risk of heart failure, though this was not the main focus of the research.

This possibility points to the complex way that different treatments can interact and affect health, particularly in women.

The researchers call for more studies to confirm these findings and to explore other potential risks associated with blood pressure medications in women.

The goal is to ensure that treatments for high blood pressure are both safe and effective for everyone, recognizing the differences in how men and women respond to medications.

Understanding these differences is crucial in developing treatment plans that are truly beneficial for all patients, reducing the risk of severe side effects and improving overall health outcomes.

If you care about health, please read studies about the benefits of low-dose lithium supplements, and what we know about egg intake and heart disease.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about potatoes and high blood pressure, and results showing 6 best breads for people with heart disease.

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