Hypertension, or high blood pressure, may often be referred to as the “silent killer” due to the assumption that hypertension might not have obvious symptoms in those who are affected by the disease. A blood pressure reading is determined by measuring the force of blood against the artery walls as it is pumped throughout the body by the heart. This measurement is generally recorded as two numbers: systolic (when the heart muscle contracts) and diastolic (when the heart muscle relaxes). When the systolic/diastolic measurement reads 140/90 mm Hg and above during several readings over a period of time, this may be referred to as high blood pressure. Hypertension can increase the risk for developing heart disease, congestive heart failure, stroke and kidney disease in anyone regardless of age or gender. However a study conducted by Dr. Mieke Van Hemelrijck, a research associate in the area of cancer epidemiology at King’s College London, suggests that there may be a possible correlation between hypertension and a 10-20 percentage higher risk for developing and dying of cancer for men than for women.
The research team is said to have conducted this study by analyzing the blood pressure data of those reportedly diagnosed with hypertension in conjunction with reported cancer incidences and cancer-related deaths among 577,800 men and women with an average age range of 44 years from Norway, Sweden and Austria over a period of 12 years. During the study, researchers gathered data for this study based on the mid-blood pressure data of the participants, which was determined by adding the diastolic reading to the systolic reading and dividing by two. Consequently, the participants were divided into five groups, with those having the lowest mid-blood pressure being classified as the first group and the higher mid-blood pressure participants considered to be a part of the fifth group. When analyzing the mid-blood pressure data to determine if an association exists between hypertension and cancer, researchers may have suggested that the overall risk for developing cancer was 29 percent higher for male participants in the fifth group than the first group.
Furthermore, out of the 22,185 men and 14,745 women of whom may have been considered to show a significant correlation between hypertension and the development of cancer, 8,725 men and 4,525 women may have reportedly died from cancer. According to the study, 50 percent of the male participants belonging to the fifth group may have had a higher risk for death relating to cancer when compared to the males belonging to the first group and the 25 percent of women belonging to any of the classified groups. Researchers may have also suggested that the risk for developing lung, bladder, kidney, colon, oral and various skin cancers may be higher for men with hypertension than for women. On the contrary, women may have shown no correlation between hypertension and developing said health conditions, but instead may have shown a higher risk for developing liver, cervical, endometrium, pancreas, and skin cancer. It is presumed that both male and female participants in this study also may have had other factors taken into consideration when determining if hypertension may pose a risk for developing cancer; factors such as body mass index, lifestyle, and possible exposure to harmful environmental elements.
Opinion by Stephanie Tapley
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